Social Proof: It Doesn’t Have To Be From Someone They Know, Just Not From You!

Most mornings when I drive to work, I listen to Gene and Julie (and the other Julie, who I used to think was named Jaleta Hardy … but that’s another funny story) on 103.7 Lite FM in DFW.  Every now and then I hear them talk about various businesses or services they have used – it might be carpet cleaning or a diet program or eye drops. Could be almost anything.

Okay, Gene and Julie are no longer on 103.7 … but the post is still relevant!

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I don’t know Gene and Julie (although after nine months of listening to them on the radio I feel a bit like I do) – have never met them – and the cynical advertising-guru side of me KNOWS that these things are “advertisements”.  But the way they’re presented sounds just like Gene and Julie have used the products (which they might very well have) and are giving you their personal opinion about them.

How is that different than a traditional advertisement?  Because it’s not the company saying it – it’s Gene and Julie.

Something else:  I’m an AMAZING AND AWESOME ballroom dance teacher.  Really!  I can take the most dance-impaired people and teach them how to dance socially with a partner.  Really!

Think about your gut reaction to this.  Skeptical at all?  Of course I’m going to tell you that I’m awesome, right – because if I were to tell you I suck that would just be stupid!  But do you believe me when I shout at you about how awesome I am?

Maybe this is better:

When I first started taking ballroom dance class I had three left feet! I knew absolutely nothing about ballroom/social dance. Vicky’s coaching methods are structured to what works best for her students. She never says I’m doing anything wrong (even when I know I’m not always doing a step correctly) and always makes me feel I am making progress with every lesson. Dancing does not come natural for me, but I am improving and having a great time. Not only have I learned the basic dance steps for many dances, I know how to recover from a mistake to where no one watching knows I made a mistake. That takes a good dance coach…and Vicky is that dance coach.

– Jan

Even if you don’t know Jan … you probably believe her a bit more than you believe me, right?  She’s not in any way associated with my dance business other than having been a student (and a friend).  Endorsement by a third party probably makes you feel a bit better.

The point here is that you can talk all day about how great you are, how great your product is, how great your company is.  But no one is going to believe you as much as they are going to believe your CUSTOMERS.  And if they are hearing about you from a customer that they personally know … that’s golden.

There is even a relatively new term coined for this:  social proof.

Social Proof is important for all of your online presence – your website, your Facebook, and those reviews and stars that show up on Google.

Some food for thought:  

How can you harness the power of testimonials in your business?

How can you get your best customers talking about you in an organic way?

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