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Social Proof – Part 1

Social Proof is about using psychology to improve the effectiveness from your marketing.

Humans are essentially social animals and we are influences by the actions of others. You can refer to groups of people as our colleagues, peers, pack, tribe, team or gang and we look at them for clues on what we should be doing.

This is because humans have a powerful psychological need to fit in and be accepted. Years ago this was for survival because we needed our pack to survive. This basic human driver is very much alive in all of us today.

This is a very powerful human driver which can be harnessed in our marketing. Keep in mind that marketing is essentially a “promise” of a benefit and prospects need to believe they will receive the benefit before they buy. If they know others have bought and received the benefit they are much more likely to buy. And, if more people buy your service or product compared to the competition then prospects are more likely to choose you.

At the end of the day, prospects are more likely to believe the word of a fellow customer than the person who will make profit from them.

Here are some ways you can use Social Proof:

• Testimonials
• Case Studies
• Facebook likes
• Twitter followers
• LinkedIn endorsements
• YouTube views
• A community forum
• Celebrity endorsements
• Evidence and statistics

A testimonial is short endorsement from a happy customer. It is often written but, with YouTube being the second largest search engine, videos are being used for maximum effect.

Testimonial can be given and published by you or third parties. For example, Ebay comments, Google Places comments or Tripadvisor reviews. Businesses like Amazon use this to great effect by encouraging their customers to rate books and leave testimonials.

Here are some key elements of a good testimonial:

• Identifies the person giving the testimonial
• Includes contact details of the person
• Outlines a specific benefit they received
• Quantifies the benefit
• Includes a photograph of the person

There are a number of ways to get testimonials. Sometimes you will get letters or more commonly emails of thanks without asking. Follow up on these and turn them into structured testimonials.

You can simply ask for a testimonial or endorsement after a customer uses your service or buys your product. This can be done as a follow up customer care call or simply call or write to your customers asking for some help. Good customers who are happy will be pleased to help and keep in mind that if you sell B2B, testimonials also raise the awareness of the business giving the testimonial.

Most people will be happy to give a testimonial but may not know what to say or be good at writing. They may also not say exactly what you want so, it can be a good idea to offer to draft something for them to consider.

Other ways you can collect and encourage testimonials is with:

• Contents
• Feedback forms/cards
• Questionnaires
• Page on Website for testimonials
• Email footer request

Keep in mind that celebrity endorsements do not have to be global stars; they can be local people who are well known or local businesses.

Once you have testimonials make sure you use them on:

• All offline and online marketing collateral
• Sales presentations and proposals
• Dealing with concerns and objections in sales meetings
• On the walls of your office
• In a book in reception

Now read Social Proof part 2.