Social Proof—what is it and why is it important for authors? To understand this concept, consider your last online shopping experience. What helped you make your decision? Most likely, along your buying journey, you were influenced by at least one of the following factors:
- starred ratings
- influencers talking about the product
- word-of-mouth recommendations
- a product’s following
- social likes for a product
- media coverage/PR about the product
You know it’s true. If you saw two similar products (same price and functionality) and one had hundreds of positive reviews and five stars versus another that had next to zero, you’d buy the product with more social proof, right? With the rise of online mobile shopping social proof is just a click away. Marketing thought leader Mark Schaefer, recently wrote a post, “Social Proof and the Business Case for Buying Fake Followers,” in which he shows just how important social proof has become in today’s crowded online marketplace. It’s worth a read.
And here’s the reality: books are no different!
In today’s busy world where top quality books sit next to poorly produced books, readers want social proof showing that others have enjoyed your book. Their time and money is limited, and they want to spend both well. So…if you want to sell more books, you need to drop everything and make sure that your book has the social proof readers are craving.
Take a moment to answer the following questions. You’ll get an idea if you have the social proof necessary to convince readers your book is worth their time and money:
- How many starred reader reviews does your book have? Is your star rating 4.5 or above?
- How many editorial reviews does your book have? (These are reviews from bloggers, traditional publications like Publisher’s Weekly, other newspapers or magazines, influencers in your genre, etc.)
- How many social followers do you have and are they engaging with your content?
- Do you have an media coverage?
- When you compare the social proof your book has that for a comparable title in your genre, does yours stack up?
If you’re driving readers to your book’s product pages at the major online book retailers (either through promotions, ads, social posts, etc) and those readers are finding no social proof when they get there…well…it’s unlikely they’re buying. That means you’re just throwing your marketing time and dollars down the toilet. If that’s the case, it’s time to stop and build a foundation for success. Concentrate on the things that matter to readers. One of those things is social proof.