Sometimes my clients ask me why we usually put a Facebook Faces box on their websites.
This is a little piece of code that allows a small version of a company’s Facebook page to appear on that company’s own website, perhaps in the sidebar or in the footer on every page. The box will include a few lines of faces of the company’s Facebook followers and possibly also a short version of the page’s feed.
Why doesn’t the client want the Facebook box on their website?
Maybe the client thinks that it clutters up the design. Or perhaps the client doesn’t use Facebook much herself and considers it frivolous or a waste of time that should be spent on Just Business.
Some clients feel value privacy so much that they don’t even want to use their real name on their website and insist on putting out blog posts with “Staff” as the author. Those same clients are also the ones most likely to feel uncomfortable with displaying their Facebook friends’ faces on their website.
Whatever the concern, I try to explain how it’s worthwhile. The main reason? Something that marketers call “social proof.”
It’s a funny term, but basically boils down to a stamp of approval from others that builds trust. Marketing guru Seth Godin explains that, when people are thinking of buying something, especially a new product that’s a little edgy, they ask one main question: “Do people like me do something like this?”
If the answer is ‘no’, most of us wait.
And so, new fashions (of all sorts) come from unexpected places, not from the arbiters of what’s correct. Cameron Diaz and George Clooney aren’t showing us new ways to dress, and Thomas Keller isn’t inventing brand new cuisine. The people who go first have a different agenda than the standard-setters.
That’s why it usually takes years for something to become an overnight success. The culture changes from the edges, and gradually, we come to answer the question about a hat or a software network or a car with, yes, in fact, people like me actually do use something like this.
If you’re selling something that’s already common to customers who already know you, then social proof is less important.
But if you’re selling something new or are trying to reach new people, then building credibility is crucial. And if you have a website, visitors who’ve never heard of you before will be able to find you through a Google search.
The difference between those new visitors leaving your site after 15 seconds or sticking around long enough to get to know you may just be that Facebook Faces box.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group