Using Social Proof to drive donations on PBS

12-09-2009 BY bbulman

It’s PBS fundraising season, and tonight I was watching WTTW’s Hidden Chicago 2, and every 30 minutes or so they would cut back to WTTW’s studio where the wonderful Geoffery Baer would be trying to convince viewers to donate.

I noticed occasionally he was talking and sometimes there were 10 or so volunteers looking bored and waiting by the phone for callers. WTTW is missing a huge opportunity here, if these volunteers looked like they were taking calls, viewers would be more likely to call and donate. This is the power of Social Proof, where people do things they see others doing.

Ok, so the idea of having volunteers fake like there are calls may be a little “evil”, but why doesn’t WTTW do a text crawler with donations at the bottom of the screen, like Krisi B. from Chicago $70, Tom J. from Elgin $150, etc…

This would let people know that others were donating and quite possibly they would get off their sofas and donate as well.

Infomercial developers know the concept of Social Proof very well. QVC takes live calls from customers, which are obviously to convince others to buy. Other informercials tell viewers if you call and get a busy signal, call back.

Do you really think viewers ever get a busy signal?

These infomercial developers knew how to key in on many consumers inability to resist element of influence, like Social Proof and Scarcity.

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Friending Brands for Deals & Offers

12-08-2009 BY bbulman

Razorfish recently released it’s third yearly FEED report. The FEED report, is a study focused on online consumer behavior that focuses quite a bit on social media and network behavior.

With yesterday’s post about Walgreen’s use of Facebook reciprocity, I found some of the statistics in the report quite interesting:

Over 40% of the 1000 study participants said they have “friend” a brand on Facebook or mySpace, and the deals and offers were the primary reason why consumers “friended” a brand on Facebook(36.9%).

facebook yes

facebook reason

What really interested me was that only 25% of Twitter users followed brands, but over 40% follow these brands.



I wish Razorfish had dug further into this data and would loved to have seen how consumers engaged with the brands they friend on Twitter. Do they spend considerable time on the brand’s Fan pages, or is their primary interaction via their News feed?

I’d love to see how other brands are using a quid pro quo model like NBC or Walgreens.

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Walgreens wants to be your Facebook friend

12-07-2009 BY bbulman

With my previous example of how some brands are using the behavior of reciprocity on Facebook to quickly build their fanbases. This morning I woke up to an email from Walgreens, a US drug store retailer, where they offered me free shipping today, if I became their fan on Facebook.

Screen shot 2009-12-07 at 6.42.46 AM

It seems to be working for them as their Fan #’s have jumped quickly into 300,000. It seems like Free Shipping is valued enough by consumers for them to friend Walgreens. I am starting to believe this trend is going to backfire as more and more brands push for share of the consumer’s social graph, they become invisible, like banner ads have become. This example of reciprocity is sort of a quick hit situation, as the offer is only good for today(Monday, December 7th).

I think “REAL” success in the “Facebook Reciprocity Model” will involve these brands rethinking the value of a “fan” and finding ways to make the reciprocity continue as consumers are going to start asking Walgreens what have you done for me lately…

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Wikipedia’s Donation Model

12-04-2009 BY bbulman

Wikipedia, which collects donations from users to keep the site running, use a key tenet of social proof that many charities use. They display what other users have donated. It helps put a face to donors and helps convince others to donate. An example for this can be found here. You may have to refresh the page a few times to see the example.

Screen shot 2009-12-04 at 9.24.58 AM

(via @regiskuckaertz)

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Foamee & Reciprocity

BY bbulman

Screen shot 2009-12-04 at 9.18.22 AM

Foamee, a site created by Dan Cederholm a few years ago is a perfect example of Reciprocity. The idea is quite simple: Someone does something kind or thoughtful for you, and you owe them a beer. It sits on top of Twitter’s API, and allows you to keep track of who you owe beers to and vice versa. It is a way to keep the promise of “Hey, thanks for your help. I owe you a beer!”. And what is better than than giving a beer in exchange for help from a friend.”

Screen shot 2009-12-04 at 9.10.26 AM

(via @regiskuckaertz)

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