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Social Proof And How It Can Go Wrong

The purpose of social proof is to communicate to your audience the value you offer by showing how you’ve helped others. It’s very powerful in helping people make the right purchase decisions. But the wrong kind of social proof can have the opposite effect and actually drive people away from your offer and lose you a load of customers and money coming into your business

Here are the 6 things to look out for when building your social proof that you need to avoid at all costs.

Fake Social Proof

Don’t get your employees or friends to write fake reviews for you. It’s incredibly easy for someone to find out through a Google search that your reviewers aren’t real customers. Social proof only works if it’s authentic, so get real content from real people. It' easy to get sucked into the ‘i need reviews for my product' thinking because every sales page dictates you need them and if you don't have any then it can be a problem HOWEVER there are genuine ways of gaining product or course reviews before you go fully live with your course

Testimonials Without Pictures

The smiling face of the real customer is what actually helps to sell your testimonials. You need to show that the customer is real, not just someone you made up. Images are also helpful because they draw attention and give people something interesting to look at. If you can add a link to a LinkedIn profile if you are B2B then that's even better

The Wrong Influencer Endorsement

Influencer endorsements are very powerful in selling products and services, but you need to choose the right person for your endorsements. If it’s someone unrelated to your industry or unknown to your market, it won’t work its magic. Even worse, it could be someone they find untrustworthy. When considering potential influencers for endorsements, start with people your audience already knows and trusts.

Focus on Discounts and Deals

It’s okay for a testimonial or review to mention your low prices, but remember that it’s the value you want to drive home. It’s much better if you can show how your offering helps people save time or headaches and improves their lives. Never use a testimonial that mentions you giving them a discount as this doesn’t help to demonstrate your value at all. A lot of people will ask you ‘what do you want me to write?' and this can be helpful to avoid this situation. Have a flow or outline for them to follow so they can explain their experience of the point you want them to focus on, by doing this it takes the pressure off the reviewer and you get a testimonial focussed on what you are looking for in a testimonial, of course not everyone will follow this and some will go rogue and write what they want which is great but remember if all they talk about is price all your potential buyers will focus on is price.

Just a Testimonial Page

It’s great to have a testimonial page where customer after customer leaves a recommendation of your products or services, but don’t only put them on one page. You should use testimonials on every page of your site, especially those where people are making purchase decisions. There are areas on your site where you can add testimonials discretely, for example, the sidebar on your blog can be used to add category focussed testimonials so the content topic they are reading about allows them to see a review of a product based testimonial on that subject…how powerful is that?

Not Putting in the Time and Effort

It can seem like a great deal of effort to develop and implement a social proof strategy, but the benefits can’t be overlooked. People rely a great deal on the feedback of others when making buying decisions. Put the time and effort into social proof, and it will pay you back.

Kevin Arrow
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