Joshua Bell, an internationally acclaimed musician, once played a little concert in the Metro station in 2007 – but no one paid any attention. That social experiment was conducted to test how important context, perception, and priorities are in drawing interest from the public, even for the music of one of the best violinists of our time.
The result illustrates the principle of social proof and how vital it is even for a world-renowned violinist who, only three days earlier, had filled Boston’s Symphony Hall to capacity.
So, if a virtuoso like Bell gets ignored without the benefits of social proof, what hope do other musicians have?
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Psychologists define social proof as the tendency of people to follow the decisions and opinions of others, when they can’t make decisions for themselves or ascertain the correct behavior in a given situation.
It’s a type of conformity, where people follow the crowd because it‘s easier to rely on the wisdom of the majority than to think things through themselves. After all, so many people couldn’t be wrong, right?
In other words, social proof is the easiest way you can persuade people to do your bidding. Because when a crowd of people has already okayed something, everything follows.
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On SoundCloud, bought Plays and Followers are a powerful form of social proof because the number of Plays and Followers you have can serve as a go-ahead for other people to listen to your music and Follow you.
People look around for guidance in their decisions and actions. It’s not magic or luck that the popular get more popular. It’s science.
There are basically 5 kinds of social proof that you can use in your marketing.
Music influencer and celebrity social proof are when you get recommendations from industry influencers and from celebrities.
Fan social proof is when current listeners and followers of your music leave positive comments on your SoundCloud and other social media sites. These reviews influence other people to check your music out. They're even more powerful when seen by their friends, which is referred to as Wisdom of your Friends social proof in marketing.
Science says that we are more easily influenced by our friends than by strangers. In fact, a study suggests that our music preferences are most influenced by our friends.
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All these kinds of social proof are magnified when a crowd has gathered to all vouch for you and your music. Get this process moving even faster by buying SoundCloud Plays and other forms of engagement.
Buy SoundCloud Plays not so you can stroke your ego and show friends how popular you are on the platform. A wise musician who understands the importance of social proof in his success buys Plays only (and only!) for social proof. Because however you look at it, social proof is the one constant thing in the many variables that influence success, which can get people to stop and listen to you – even in a busy subway station.
When Joshua Bell went back to the Metro station in 2014 for another free concert, he played to a crowd of hundreds. Workers used their lunch break to see him, parents took their kids out of school for a different kind of education, and some even came from other states.
Did people suddenly grow a fondness for classical music? No. People gathered a good two hours before the concert even started because they were told that an internationally celebrated violinist would be playing. They gathered because the rest of the world think so highly of the violinist.
Social proof matters a lot. Whether we realize it or not, in some ways we are all sheep that follow what others are doing. It’s in our psychological makeup and if you can understand these underlying factors that influence our decisions, then you’re ahead of the pack and you can use your skills in marketing your music.
Here are some ways you can use social proof to help you achieve success on SoundCloud and the rest of the Internet.
On your website, create a page for testimonials where you can showcase what your past clients have said about your performance. If you have the funds, you can make a video and shoot it yourself to make it easier for them to give reviews.
Handwritten reviews are OK too. Take a picture of the note and of the client, then post it on the site. Underneath their names, include their positions for added weight.
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Reviews not found on your website can feel more authentic because you don’t have control of them. Every time you have a gig, encourage people to post on their social media channels what they think of your line-up, your rendition of a particular song, etc. Then ask them to hashtag those posts with your name so people can find them.
Remember to respond in a non-confrontational way if you receive a negative comment on your social media channels, or on your tracks on SoundCloud. If you get a good one, screenshot it and add it to your testimonials page.
Feature the logos and names of places you've performed at on your website.
Use social media buttons to display on your website your SoundCloud Followers, as well as Followers from your other social media channels. Make sure links to your other social media channels can also be found on your SoundCloud profile.
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Note that when it comes to social media buttons, no social proof is better than low social proof. So if you have very few Followers, it’s better to not display your Followers count at all.
A high Play count on your SoundCloud tracks compels people to click and listen to your music.
You can give people even more reason to listen to your tracks by buying SoundCloud Plays. When you buy SoundCloud Plays, make sure you get them from reputable companies that offer high quality Plays.
If you have awards, be sure to display them and other badges on your website.
Display the number of years you've been performing on your website.
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Some people want to look at pictures as proof of your capability and experience as a performer. Upload pictures of all your events on your website. Update your social media channels with pictures of your performances too, especially the ones with huge crowds.
If you think you can go through your life as a musician without social proof, then it’s time you stop thinking as an artist and start thinking more like a marketer. Get out there and market yourself and your music!
There is a business aspect to music and it‘s not all talent and art. Sure, people will eventually find you if you just keep on creating great music but you’ll be unlikely to draw a huge crowd, just like there wasn’t one for Joshua Bell that day in 2017, even with his brilliance resounding through the halls of that station.
Don’t wait for people to give you social proof either. Go out and ask for it. Ask for reviews and testimonials, and buy SoundCloud Plays and other social signals.
Build your social proof and your reputation. You’ll benefit from it not just today but for the rest of your musical career.
Image credit: UhOhDisco
Date: June 13, 2017 / Categories: Getting Discovered, SoundCloud Plays, / Author: Chell
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