We all know that you only get one chance to make a first impression. When you are introducing your business or brand to those who are less familiar, one of the most important things you can do is to demonstrate your credibility and trustworthiness with social proof.
Which begs the question: What is it? Social Proof is third-party evidence of your credibility, trustworthiness, and competence of you and/or your business, and confirmation of the value you deliver to your clients.
Forms of Social Proof
There are plenty of forms of social proof…here is a what may only be a partial list.
Online Reviews: These include star-ratings and testimonials placed on third-party platforms such as Google, Yelp and Angie’s List.
LinkedIn Recommendations: Similar to other online reviews, these are basically written testimonials that are qualified by LinkedIn’s platform and are featured as part of your profile. They are NOT to be confused with endorsements, which are carry little value.
Your Social Media Following: These include people who subscribe to your Facebook business page or followers on Twitter, Google+, and elsewhere. They should not necessarily be confused with your online social networks (such as Facebook or LinkedIn connections).
Video Testimonials: when done right, can be very powerful. People rarely read through all the testimonials and reviews posted online, and when they do, they often don’t get the emotion that video can deliver.
Other Written Testimonials/Acknowledgment Letters: Ever been in a business establishment and seen the wall covered with thank you letters and note cards? Perhaps these are the oldest form. If they exist practically in your own establishment, how might they exist virtually on your website and elsewhere?
Indeed, these can take time to gather, and we have share tips on how to get testimonials before here on Market Leadership Journal. However, one cannot underestimate the first step to building social proof and getting recommendations, testimonials and positive reviews: you have to EARN THEM!