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What is Social Proof

There are a few ways to show you are good at what you do. You could climb up onto the roof and shout it loudly, and yes you may get a few people to listen. But there are more effective ways, such as gaining social proof. Start Digital help our clients use social proof to their advantage. Social proof is an important element of turning a browser into a buyer. This is because you gain your browsers trust.

Potential buyers need a bit more convincing than you telling them that you are good at what you do. It might sound a bit scientific, but understanding the psychological phenomenon of conforming will help your marketing efforts. Humans like to be a part of what is seen as the right behaviour. This is a large element of what is behind social proof and it is a super powerful marketing tool.

Reviews and testimonials

There are numerous ways to gain social proof. The first and we think the most important is reviews and testimonials. At Start digital we encourage all of our clients to actively seek reviews for their products and services. Reviews are a great way for potential clients to not only get a feel for what your company does, but also how it’s performing and if it’s living up to its promise.

Asking for a review has the added value of providing business owners an understanding of their customers and also discovering opportunities for areas of future development of their company. It lets you know if you’re getting it right and potentially not so right.

Think of it this way, if you read about a restaurant that claimed to offer the best steak in town, you might go and check it out. If a friend recommended the same restaurant and they told you it was the best steak they had ever tasted – you would be more likely to go. If five different friends said the same thing, you’d be even more likely to go, even if you need to pay a bit more for the steak. Its human nature. It’s part of our psychology to have greater trust in products and services that have been recommended to us and the more recommendations the more trust we have. Research has show that social proof is more powerful than saving money, protecting the environment and making responsible choices.

How to ask for a testimonial.

When asking for a review or testimonial, explain that it will help other people understand your business. Most people will gladly do it for you. You don’t need to ask every client. Ask the ones that you connected with, the ones that praised you without asking. You really can’t please everyone, so seek a review from the people who have already expressed they like what you do.

The best testimonials demonstrate exactly how your business solved their problem. To avoid the simple “they have a brilliant service” testimonial which says little about your business and what it does. Add a couple of specific questions. Such as how you fixed their problem? And the impact this has had for them? The more specific the answer, the more it tells future clients about you.

Reviews should be visible on your website. Google and Facebook are the large and popular platforms for finding local services. Make it easy for your client by providing a link to the place you would like the testimonial to be. You can then copy and paste this to your website and printed materials or link the place of the testimonial so it’s viewable on your website like we do!

Here’s an example of how to ask for a testimonial/review:

 “Thanks for the great feedback. It’s always great to hear that we’re getting it right. It’s been a pleasure working with you. We’d be grateful if you could share how we ………by doing a Google review. Here’s the link to our business page on Google… “

More ways to get social proof

Another way to demonstrate social proof is to ask if your client is happy to be a case study or be show-cased on you on your website. Case studies are a win-win. You’re demonstrating what you have done for your customer and it is free advertising for them with a backlink to their website. At Start Digital we use Our portfolio as an example of case studies where we showcase and celebrate the success of the companies and individuals we work with.

More social proof can come in the form of media mentions and social share buttons, using client logos of the companies you work with.

What is social proof

Certification and badges have also been proven to gain trust.

Memberships work well as social proof

When social proof goes wrong

As with most things there’s an opposite and it’s called negative social proof. It’s all in the psychology or reaffirming a negative. For instance, if you decide to add social sharing buttons to your content and the number count on the social media button is low, a judgement might be formed that there is limited value in the content.

Another form of negative social proof is often seen in advertising. By stating that something negative will happen if somebody doesn’t use your service/product. Psychologists have studied this and concluded that it actually has the opposite of the desired affect (Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin authors of Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive).

In summary

Reviews and testimonials are a great way of show casing your business. Your clients and customers will usually be glad to provide a review, so don’t be afraid to ask. Look at other ways of creating social proof by using client logos, social share buttons and certification badges. Social proof works!