Movie-Vault does a great job at highlighting its weaknesses. Take a look at the homepage; as of Wednesday January 11th, in the left column we see 67 RSS readers and 55 Twitter followers. In the articles section, we are repeatedly reminded that nobody is commenting on the articles -there are four articles all with a large button proclaiming ’0 Comments’ (apart from one article lucky enough to attract the attention of a spammer). Furthermore, on every article we have the opportunity to be the first to ‘Like’ the content on Facebook.
Not all online communities have the audience or level of interaction to support the social proof tools we commonly see online today. Unfortunately, because they’re so prevalent, the temptation to integrate them into our own websites or online communities can often be irresistible. It’s worth thinking this through for a bit first, though.
- Why draw attention to the fact nobody comments on your content?
- Why draw attention to the fact your audience is (or appears to be) small?
- Why give another website (such as Facebook or Twitter) space on your site to draw attention to the fact nobody is engaged with your content?
Move-Vault has drawn attention to the following weaknesses:
- Nobody comments on their content
- They have a small readership
- There is no active community management
- The site attracts spammers (and potentially, scammers)
Get rid of the social proof tools that are only highlighting your community’s weaknesses. If you really need them (they can be great for cross-promotion and sharing) then remove the numbers if they’re only going to show a zero.
Social proof is all about numbers (and big ones at that unless you’re operating in a tight niche). Only use the tools if you have the numbers to play the game.