Written by Megan MacNeill

Why should you start thinking about Social Proof
June 3, 2021

Who can ever forget that first surge of confidence that comes with your first positive review?

It’s exhilarating to have your work publicly recognised by someone you’ve worked with, and that’s something that (if you may allow me to brag) I can personally account for.

But those messages of recommendation and thanks that we get when we do a good job are there to do more than just boost our ego, their real purpose is to let future clients know that you’re worth the money they’re about to spend.

In fact, I’ve got a whole bit on my personal branding workshop about why you should look at your LinkedIn Profile like less of a huge resume, and more of a landing page, and how that entails getting a bunch of recommendations in there.

Still don’t believe me? Then keep scrolling.

Looking at the numbers

Picture this, you and your friends are hanging out downtown when stomachs start to rumble.

Soon, a discussion ensues about where you are going to eat, which restaurants are open and which have the best selection for everyone’s tastes.

What is the first thing you’d do? Pick up your phone of course!

Then, you’d touch and click your way into Google (or in my case – Instagram) and start searching for a place where all of you can eat, and one of the main things you are going to look how other people rated it and what they said about the establishment.

Am I Wrong? No! Am I psychic? Also, no!

I can tell that this is what you’d do because this is what everybody does, and there’s plenty of research that points towards this as well.

For example, did you know that, according to Bright Local 87% of consumers admitted to reading online reviews for businesses before buying in 2020? And that’s not all, there was an 81% increase on that number from the year before!

So, we can safely say that social proof is not only positive, it is extremely powerful.

How to Ask For recommendations

Sure, it can feel a little icky to get social proof by directly asking for some recommendations, but at the same time, you don’t want to waste the opportunity whenever you feel like you provided someone with a positive experience.

Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask people for a recommendation, and when you do, remember to:

  • Ask Nicely: This doesn’t go just for social proof, but for whenever you are asking someone for something. Don’t send a generic message, and be sure to be as polite and pleasant as you can.
  • Be Specific: If you just ask someone for a recommendation without telling them what you need it for, don’t be surprised if it comes out generic or doesn’t fit your intentions for it.
  • Write One First: One of the most assured ways to get a recommendation is through the reciprocity of writing one first. When you help people out, they will naturally feel the need to pay back the favor. Everybody wins.

Best Social Proof Sources

Alright, now that you know HOW to ask for recommendations, it only makes sense that you learn WHERE to get them as well.

Before we jump into the best places to get recommendations, however, I would strongly encourage you to take a look at the people you meet and interact with every day: Clients, students, partners, teachers, coworkers, your superiors.

After you did that, you want to look at sites where people may have already given you reviews like:

Your Facebook Business Page: This is one of the best places to look for social proof, especially if you are a local business, and the testimonials people leave on the platform tend to be much more detailed too.

Your LinkedIn Profile: It should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. Not only does the platform incentivise that people exchange recommendations, but employees can individually be recomended by customers.

Local Search Directories: If you read through the first topic we covered, you probably already know how important this one can be. And, that is one of the places where you may have client recommendations and not even know about it.

In Your Niche: What’s awesome about niching is that you quickly come into contact with a whole community that is interested in what you are offering, so don’t shy away from asking them to try out your services and recommend them if they like it.

Social Proof For You! (Not Your Business)

Now, here is the magical thing about social proof, people don’t just recommend brands or services, they recommend other people, so even if you are venturing into a completely different market, you can just take them with you.

So, don’t feel bad if the recommendations you got are from a different niche, or from before you opened a business, they’re yours, so you use them to your fullest advantage.

Remember word of mouth is King! But instead of this happening in the pub over a few beers it is increasingly happening online and we trust the testimonials of strangers on the internet as much as those of our best friends.

Conclusion

Social proof is just one weapon in the arsenal of someone building their personal brand, an important tool, to be sure, but if you want to absolutely nail it, you’ll need to very aware of all your resources.

Luckily, that is precisely what I’m here for, so if this article has made you interested in harnessing the power of your soft skills, then, why not do an awesome personal branding workshop with me?

All you have to do is contact me either through this site, or any of my social media.

You will also find plenty of material on the subject here from more articles like this one to my podcast, Personal Branding Exposed.

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