Social proof.

Those two words are often thrown around in marketing circles. The phrase was made popular by a book which pretty much every successful marketer has read – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Dr. Robert Cialdini.

Social proof simply means showing that the group is doing what you want your prospect to do. People like to follow a group because they instinctually think that if a lot of other people are doing something, it must be for a good reason. In marketing, one of the most popular ways to demonstrate social proof is through testimonials and people generally saying awesome things.

The thing is… what if you don’t have a long history of product offerings online? Perhaps you haven’t had anything which would get you any testimonails. So, when you bring your first product to market, you have no testimonials to demonstrate.

What do you do?

Get Social

First, realize that a testimonial doesn’t necessarily have to be directly about whatever it is you’re selling. It could simply be about YOU. Your prospect needs proof that you’re worthy of dealing with and worth listening to.

So, get testimonials about yourself. This is something you should ALWAYS be doing (and recording). Some places you can do that include:

  1. Twitter. Somebody says something awesome about you? If you’re helping people on Twitter, chances are you’re getting praises on there and you’re not doing anything about it.
  2. Facebook. What about people saying “off the cuff” awesome things about you on your Facebook wall?
  3. LinkedIn. Are you using the “Recommendation” feature on LinkedIn to get testimonials from people in your network?
  4. Blog Comments. Seriously.

For many of us, these “testimonials” are going by all the time and we don’t do anything about it. We might say “thanks”, but that’s it.

So, from now on, let’s be more strategic about it…

Record it And Flaunt It

From now on, when you see these things, you want to SAVE IT.

The simplest way to do that is a simple screen capture. You’ll get an image of it and you just drop it in a folder. If you have a virtual assistant, you could even have her routinely scan your social channels and blog comments for anything that could be used as a testimonial. Have her screen cap it and throw it in a shared Dropbox folder. (BTW, if you think I’m saying that because I’m going to have my VA do that… you’re correct. 😉 )

I just recently became aware of a Wordpress plug-in called Tweet-stimonials. It allows you to display your favorited tweets on your blog. So, when somebody says something awesome about you, just favorite the tweet and it can show up on your blog automatically.

Whether you have a VA do it or do it yourself, you should make a regular habit of, perhaps once per week, simply mining these communication channels for new social proof. These things are already happening…. why not use some of it in your marketing?

Then, what do you do? You can strategically use some of these things as social proof. Use it on your about page to show that people dig what you’re doing. Use them on your squeeze pages and opt-in pages. And, of course, use it on your sales pages.

Here’s a random example I just screen-capped:

Blog Masters Club testimonial

Are you doing this? Whatcha think?

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