Social Proof Marketing (Why You Need Web Scraping Proxies)
Time and again, social proof has been shown to be one of the most powerful marketing tactics any business can employ to boost sales. According to BrightLocal, up to 88% of people trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. And, Business.com reports that up to 77% of customers go through reviews before making purchasing decisions. Considering this, it is obvious that social proof is a weapon every company should have in its marketing arsenal.
In this article, we discuss one of the easiest ways you can acquire this powerful weapon. We start by discussing social proof’s definition. If you already understand this basic concept, feel free to use the table of contents to skip to the section you are most interested in.
What Is Social Proof?
In simple terms, social proof refers to people’s reliance on reviewing the feedback and actions of others before making decisions about what to do. As social beings, humans tend to conform in order to be liked or accepted by influential personalities or society in general. We tend to see certain acts as appropriate or correct based on how much we see others doing it. As such, when we are unsure about a decision, we look to other people around us.
Marketers and businesses can take advantage of this tendency to convince customers to do business with them. By providing potential customers with social proof, you can push them further down the sales funnel. This is what is referred to as social proof marketing.
Types of Social Proof
Social proof marketing is based on psychological principles and plays on the emotions of your potential customers to get a desired response. Every business should have a target audience with unique desires and pain points. And, to choose the right kind of social proof, you must understand the characteristics of your target audience.
People tend to turn to social proof when they are uncertain about a decision. To successfully sway your target audience, you must first figure out what uncertainties they have and then provide them with the right kind of proof to clear those uncertainties. Here are a few types of social proof you can employ:
Positive reviews from happy customers tell potential customers that what you have to offer could make them happy too. Reading a couple of reviews on your landing page could be the nudge that they need to take that final step of making a purchase or completing some other call to action. Reviews are an especially effective type of social proof for highly technical products and businesses in an ultra-competitive industry.
2. Social media posts
Posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook from current or past customers talking about your products are another great form of social proof. This kind of social proof is especially great for B2C products and services.
3. Influencer and expert social proof
Industry experts and influencers are personalities that are highly respected in today’s society. If an expert in your industry recommends or is associated with your product, followers that trust that expert’s opinion are highly likely to purchase or at least have an increased interest in the product. In the same way, having your product or service endorsed by influencers – who are basically social media celebrities – is a powerful form of social proof.
Most people want to look or act like the celebrities they admire. That is why so many big brands have celebrity endorsements. Do you think Matthew McConaughey loves Lincolns so much that he decided to make a ton of commercials about them? No, that’s not the case. Lincoln pays him a ton of money to make those commercials as a form of social proof. Once potential customers that are fans of his see that one of their favorite actors likes Lincolns, they might decide to give the car a try.
How to Generate Social Proof (Using Web Scrapers)
The types of social proof we just listed above are not always readily available to you. You have to search for them to find them. But with the massive amount of content available on the internet, how do you do this quickly and efficiently? It’s simple. You use a web scraper.
A web scraper is a bot designed to automatically scan through web pages and collect data in accordance with a set of pre-defined parameters. Essentially, web scrapers allow you to collect huge chunks of specific data quickly and with little hassle. They remove the need for you to manually go through web pages looking through massive volumes of content in search of specific pieces of information. Here’s how you can use a web scraper to generate social proof:
Getting reviews and social media posts
Your own website and social media accounts are not the only places customers leave reviews and posts about your brand. There are tons of social media platforms and third-party review sites available on the internet. Someone could make a positive mention of your brand or product on some corner of the internet and you will never know unless you actively search for it.
Using a web scraper, you can search for mentions of your brand across various platforms on the internet to find positive reviews and testimonials. These can then be placed on your website’s landing page to give doubtful potential customers the nudge that they need.
Finding the right influencers
Most people are of the misconception that an influencer is a person with a huge number of followers on a social media platform. While this is partly true, that is not all that there is to it. The true mark of an influencer is a high level of engagement. That is, how much people interact with the person and the content they create. An individual with 40, 000 followers and 5% engagement is not going to be as effective as one with 20,000 followers and 50% engagement.
As such, finding the right influencer for your business is not always an easy task. There are lots of variables to consider and lots of data around those variables. You are not only looking for a high follower count, you are also looking for high levels of engagement, relevance to your industry, association with your brand message, etc. A scraper can be set to search for all the relevant metrics and help you find the right influencer for your particular business.
Why You Need Social Proof Proxies for Web Scraping
Web scrapers are automated tools and when they are performing the task of pulling in data, they typically do it at an inhumanly fast pace. Websites are quite sensitive to this kind of behavior because it resembles the behavior of some types of malicious software. Once they detect this behavior, they are quick to issue out bans even though the scraper is not doing anything malicious. Most companies also have anti-scraper settings because they don’t want their data extracted and used against them by competitors. So, how do you overcome these challenges? By using proxies.
When websites ban a device from accessing them, they typically do so by blocking the device’s IP address. Proxies can help solve this problem because they provide alternative IP addresses that devices can use to communicate with websites. While using a proxy, the IP address of your device will remain hidden and the interactions you have with websites will be done via the proxy IP address. As such, by combining a web scraper with multiple proxies, you can continuously overcome bans and extract massive volumes of data without a glitch.
The Best Types of Proxy to Gather and Create Social Proof
Certain types of proxies are better than others for facilitating the collection of huge chunks of data. Here are some of the best ones:
1. Rotating social proof proxies
When you use a rotating proxy, your IP address is automatically changed at regular intervals. This reduces the number of requests sent by each IP address. Also, when a ban is issued, the IP address is automatically rotated to another, allowing the process to continue uninterrupted. As such, rotating proxies are awesome for web scraping. The counterparts to rotating proxies are static proxies. These give you access to only a single IP address which makes them suboptimal for web scraping. Learn more about them in this blog post.
2. Residential proxies
Residential proxies are IP addresses that are given out by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and associated with physical residences. As a result of these features, they resemble everyday users when used to connect to a website. This makes them less likely to be detected and banned during web scraping. However, they are relatively expensive.
Their counterparts, data center proxies, are hosted in data centers. They are not associated with ISPs or physical addresses. As such, they are much more likely to be detected and banned. The worst part is that some websites you might want to look for social proof on – e.g. Twitter – have completely banned the use of such proxies. Despite these drawbacks, they are a very affordable option and can be used for web scraping. The only issue is that you’ll have to buy tons of data center proxies to complete a project that would have required much fewer residential proxies.
3. Rotating residential proxies
A rotating residential proxy is a great example of getting the “best of both worlds”. Combining features of the two described above, it is the ultimate type of proxy for web scraping.
Where to Find the Best Proxies for Social Proof marketing
The quality of the proxy that you use is key to efficiently collecting the data you need for social proof. You want to make sure that your social proof proxy can support your needs. You need access to proxies associated with multiple locations. And, the better your proxy performs with speed and bandwidth, the easier it will be to complete your tasks. That is why you should choose proxies from Blazing SEO. Our proxies give you all of the aforementioned features plus several others that make them top-notch for web scraping. Our ethically sourced residential proxies, specifically, make it easy for you to collect tons of relevant data with lower rates of bans.
Whether you are a small business owner looking for a way to improve sales, or a marketing executive looking for a way to give your company a competitive edge, social proof is one of the most effective marketing tactics you can use. While you can certainly try to gather it all on your own, you’ll be much better off harnessing the power of web scrapers and proxies to get the job done for you.
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