Parents of burger-eating children could teach bloggers a thing or to, it seems. New research shows that when people are exposed to fast food advertising they believe that more people are eating burgers. In turn this gives them the perception of social proof. In other words, the presence of the adverts makes parents think that other mums and dads are feeding their youngsters burgers, which then enables them to justify their own use of fast food “restaurants”. These parents are not prompted to go to fast food outlets as a result of the advertising; rather, this new research shows, the ads trigger a belief that other people are buying burgers.
Social acceptance theory tells us that we tend to do things which other people do, so that we are accepted socially. When we think everyone else is buying burgers, we do the same in order to remain socially acceptable. It appears that the mere presence of adverts of fast food chains can trigger such a response.
It suggests that if you promote something you have a two-fold impact. Firstly, the promotion may well lead to some direct action, such as a purchase. But, secondly, the promotion appears to trigger the notion that other people must be buying the product or service. It is this second, rather more subtle aspect of promotion, that helps lead to social acceptance.
So, if you want more readers for your blog, the answer is to relentlessly promote it. The more you advertise and promote your blog, the more you will raise the perception that other people must be reading it. That, will then lead people to read your blog, or subscribe to it, simply because “other people must be doing it”. The advertising and promotion may well lead directly to some extra subscribers, but the mere presence of the promotional activity will lead to more new readers and subscribers because of social acceptance.
If, on the other hand, you only occasionally or rarely promote your blog, you will reduce the perception that other people are reading it. That in turn will make it less likely that people will want to read it; the lack of advertising and promotion suggests that other people are not reading your material.
In other words, if you want more readers for your blog, you simply have to continually promote it. To avoid that will subtly suggest you don’t have many readers…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+