Have you ever felt like you’re the only one who can tell your story or market your program or service?
If so, you need a change in mindset. When others share your story, they add the value of social proof to the value you can provide on your own.
The concept of social proof was coined in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini, who describes the principle in-depth in his classic book, Influence: Science and Practice and more recently in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In his words:
“We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”
Social proof comes in many forms and is the modern version of what is known as word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth is the oldest and most effective marketing tool
Your friend tells you about a great new restaurant. A celebrity you admire promotes a product you are shopping for. A website contains a testimonial for a service you need. Three examples of people telling the story about something they support.
Your likelihood of eating at that restaurant, purchasing that product, and making an appointment with that service provider are all significantly higher than if you had seen static advertisements from the brands alone.
Word-of-mouth approaches for telling the story of your product or service can be equally effective. Put the power of social proof, to work for you.
Social proof takes many forms, use more than one
If you “google” the search term social proof, you will find numerous examples of how to put it into practice. It involves many ways to share a story. The more you use, the further the story will spread and the greater the number of people reached. Which ones have you implemented?
On your platforms:
Reviews and testimonials
Gathering reviews and testimonials may seem intimidating, but when an audience member is pleased with a product or service, provide the means for them to easily share their pleasure in a review and then ask permission to post it on your website or via your social media platforms.
Write a case study
When an audience member has a positive experience, you can also be the one to write about it in the form of a case study. Again, garner permission before sharing about an individual.
Share mentions via social media
When a fan of your product or service mentions you or your organization, thank them publicly and share their post in your social feeds.
Share the growth or magnitude of your reach with your audience
Social proof can include how many people are using your product or service or are being reached with your message. When you reach significant milestones in followers, members, or other metrics indicating support for your work, announce them.
Via their channels:
Sharing social media posts
Provide your audience with sharable content including branded hashtags and invite them to share on their social networks.
Give interviews on television, radio, and podcasts.
Being interviewed allows for telling a bigger story to a wider audience in a way that builds trust and connection with an audience. Make sure listeners know how to contact you.
Write guest blogs
Writing for a blogger who has an audience that could benefit from your story allows you to spread the word further and serves as an endorsement of your work. Link back to your website.
Create articles others will be proud to include in their publications.
Writing establishes you as an expert on your subject area and having your work published by others provides an elevated level of social proof. Become a sought-after source for articles and quotes.
Create literature your patrons or clients will want to share with others.
Make it easy for others to share your story with others. Provide something with your message and how to find out more about your work that is easily passed on to others. A flyer that can be downloaded and printed is easy to create. When others pass them out its social proof.
Make it a goal to invite and empower others to share your story.
When they do, thank them. They will do it again, and again.
Do the same for them.
“People are social beings and want interaction and social learning is the primary form of learning, just as word-of-mouth advertising is the highest form of advertising.” ~ Stephen Covey
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