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Imagine trying to convince people of how great you are by standing on a street corner holding a sign saying ‘Call us. We’re great’. While it might turn a few heads, it’s definitely not the best way to showcase your skills and build trust with potential customers. The same can be said for saying, ‘We’re Perth’s leading digital agency’ on our home page. Where is the proof? It’s just us pumping our tyres.

That’s where social proof comes in.

Understanding the Psychology of Social Proof

When it comes to making a purchase or engaging a service, people need a little more reassurance than just your word. This is where the concept of social proof comes into play. As humans, we have a natural desire to conform or belong and be part of what’s considered the “right” behaviour or the “hottest” thing. By tapping into this, you can create an effective marketing strategy that helps convert browsers into buyers, without having to say anything yourself.

The Power of Reviews and Testimonials

One of the most impactful ways to harness social proof is through reviews and testimonials. At Start, we encourage all of our clients to actively seek out feedback from their customers. Not only do reviews provide the very best insights into your company’s performance and help you identify areas for improvement, but they also give potential customers genuine insight into what it’s like to work with you.

Think about it this way: if you heard about a restaurant claiming to have the best steak in town, you might be tempted to check it out. But if a friend raved about their experience and told you it was the best steak they’ve ever had, you’d be much more likely to make a reservation. Now, imagine if five different friends all shared the same glowing review – you’d probably book it for tonight, even if it was more expensive. That’s the influence of social proof in action.

Tips for Requesting Testimonials

When reaching out to clients for a review or testimonial, let them know how their feedback can help others better understand your business. Most people are happy to support businesses they believe in, so don’t be afraid to ask! Focus on clients you like working with, as they’re more likely to provide a positive and detailed review.

To receive testimonials that showcase your business, consider asking specific questions like, “How did our product or service solve your problem?” or “What impact has working with us had on your business?” Encourage them to be as specific as possible, as this will give potential customers a clearer picture of what sets you apart.

Displaying Social Proof on Your Website

Once you’ve gathered a collection of the best reviews, make sure they’re prominently featured on your website. Google and Facebook are popular platforms for local services, so consider providing your clients with a direct link to leave their feedback. You can then easily share these testimonials on your website and marketing materials, letting your satisfied customers do the selling for you.

Here’s a simple template for requesting a testimonial:

“Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s always a pleasure to hear that we’re making a positive impact. If you have a moment, we would be incredibly grateful if you could share your experience with others by leaving a review on our Google business page. Here’s the link to make it easy: [insert link]. Thank you for your support!”

Exploring Other Forms of Social Proof

In addition to reviews and testimonials, there are several other ways to showcase social proof. Consider reaching out to satisfied clients and asking if they’d be willing to be featured as a case study on your website. This creates a mutually beneficial situation – you get to demonstrate your success, and they receive free exposure and a backlink to their site.

Other effective forms of social proof include media mentions, social share buttons, client logos, certification badges, and memberships. Each of these elements helps build trust and credibility with your target audience.

The Pitfalls of Negative Social Proof

While great social proof is erm, great, negative social proof can be a nightmare to navigate. Negative social proof, which can come in the form of a one star review or angry comments on social posts, can have the opposite effect of what you intend.

Other examples can include, poor social media engagement or a lack of followers.  This may give the impression that your content isn’t valuable or engaging enough – although social platforms and users are far less concerned by this now than they were 10 years ago!

Putting It All Together

At the end of the day, reviews and testimonials are an incredible way to showcase your business and build trust with your target audience. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your satisfied clients and ask for their support – more often than not, they’ll be happy to help. By combining testimonials with other forms of social proof, like client logos, awards you may have won, and certification badges, you can create a seamless, powerful marketing strategy that helps your business grow in the best possible way.