SOCIAL PROOF – WHY IT WORKS AND HOW TO USE IT

 

Social proof is not a secret underground persuasion technique. It’s a simple concept that anyone can use to boost their sales. It works because customers are much more likely to buy something others have bought before them. There’s nothing more influential in buying decisions than word of mouth.

 

WHAT IS SOCIAL PROOF?

Social proof takes many different forms. One example is the customer testimonial. Sales pages have testimonials interspersed with product information. Social proof could be endorsements from experts, celebrities, and other influencers. In the world of social media, it can also be Facebook “likes,” Twitter tweets and retweets, and the sharing of content and blog comments.

 

REMOVING THE RISK

Whenever you make a purchase, there’s always a great deal of uncertainty and risk. The product could fall short of its promises, or it could be a complete rip-off. Shopping online is even riskier than shopping offline because you can’t see the product up-close. Social proof reduces this risk. If others bought the product, and it lived up to its promise, you can be relatively certain that you’ll get the same results.

 

FOCUS ON RESULTS

In order to work, social proof has to emphasize benefits. A review of a dog training book, for example, needs to do more than just say it’s a good book full of useful information. A good customer testimonial might say that after reading the book, the customer had their dog sitting, rolling over and begging that very afternoon. If someone else got those results, then you can too.

An even better form of social proof is to show visible results. Customers are often willing to create a video talking about or even demonstrating the benefits they achieved with your product or service.

 

ASKING FOR TESTIMONIALS

If you want customer testimonials, it’s usually just a matter of asking for them. Customers who enjoyed your product will be happy to share the good news with others. You may send them a message after their purchase asking them to write a testimonial if they liked the product. Another good time to ask is when a customer emails you with positive feedback. In this case, you can ask to use the actual email, which means they don’t have to do anything at all.

 

FREEBIES AND INCENTIVES

Another way to get testimonials is to offer freebies, discounts or a limited-time offer. Some customers need a little nudge, and this is a good way to encourage them. You can give away free samples of the product and ask for feedback in the form of a testimonial. Giving out free sample copies of your book or product is also a good way to get an endorsement.

 

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

As mentioned above, social media activity is powerful social proof. People use sites like Facebook and Twitter to find out about products they’re thinking about buying. This is why so many companies are now putting their resources into building their social media presence, creating profiles and getting their customers engaged.

 

SOCIAL PROOF NEVER HAS TO BE DISHONEST

Social proof is feedback from your customers, and it should always be honest. If you get negative feedback, use that to make improvements in your products or their delivery. When you get positive feedback, you can use that to tell other potential buyers what your products will do for them.

 

Activity: 

  1. Make a list of the results you want to show proof of for your product or service.
  2. Make a list of where you can find proof of those results – people, places, things.
  3. Identify at least 2 methods you will use to give social proof and how you will obtain it – e.g., ask customers for testimonials, create video demos, give product samples.