If you’re not; your competitors probably are
There is no more powerful a tool than the power of the crowd…
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where potential clients assume that because someone else has done something, that they should do it too.
Social proof is powerful. Very, very powerful.
It is the reason you look in a restaurant window and see a couple of people eating and feel compelled to give the place a miss. Instead, opting for the popping joint next door which is absolutely full of people.
It is the reason at a car boot sale that you wait for ages to browse a stall surrounded by a crowd three deep in people, rather than the stall next door with nobody looking at it.
It is the reason you’re more likely to wait for half an hour in a queue full of people, for a burger from a van, that is likely the same as the one you would get from the van with no queue next door.
Being susceptible to social proof does not mean that you are a lemming, or that you ‘follow the crowd’. Of course, you have your own mind or do you…
But, social proof is a massive force that has the potential to influence your behaviour. It really is powerful and most often we simply have no idea we’re even being affected by it. That is what makes it an amazing tool for marketing and other situations where a potential client needs to be persuaded to opt for your therapy practice.
A Five-Pronged Persuasion
Before we explain how you can use social proof to market your therapy practice, let’s look at the main types of social proof we can see in the modern world:
A leading person in an industry, or expert in a subject, shows approval for a type of therapy or therapy practice. They might blog or vlog (video blog) about it, tweet or write an article in the media about it, or there might be photos of the person at the practice, or with the therapist. A key example would be a leading herbal brand for weight loss being promoted by somebody who has lost a lot of weight on social media, saying it has in some way shape or form helped them.
This works like expert social proof, only it comes with a celebrity endorsement which is the most powerful if the celebrity hasn’t been paid for it.
Quite simply, if a celebrity you like promotes a service, you’re more likely to choose that service ahead of other services that are the same but offered by competing practices.
A key example would be when Gemma Collins had hypnotherapy to help her lose weight and she went onto morning TV to actively promote the hypnotherapist she used, and actively promoted it throughout her social media channels.
Celebrities might also simply unknowingly promote a brand, which still creates social proof. Prime examples could be when Facebook gazillionaire Mark Zuckerberg posted about the iGrill and ended up crashing the product’s website because everybody wanted to buy the product. Or any time that the Duchess Of Cambridge wears anything: like the gorgeous floral number she wore for the Chelsea Flower Show, that sold out in seconds once she was seen in it.
User social proof is basically positive comments and feedback on a service. Tripadvisor is a clear representation of how user social proof works. There are 453 million opinions and reviews on Tripadvisor. The more positive descriptions of a service you see the more likely you are to trust the service in question, as long as the reviews are mainly positive.
When lots of people are using a product or spending money on a service and seeing results, others want to benefit as well. The recent spinner craze is a perfect example, everyone had one so everyone wanted one. The same reason parents in the 90’s queued up and got into physical fights to get a Furby for their children for Christmas.
Those we love and trust: friends, family and colleagues, if they recommend something to us, we trust that recommendation.
These are the main forms of social proof and there’s no denying it is something that influences all of us, every single day, which is exactly why it is used in marketing so effectively.
Social Proof & Marketing
Social proof is one of the most important aspects of marketing, if not the most important aspect of marketing. This is because it provides such a wide range of strategies to render it effective, so many in fact that you could be trying out and reinventing different social proof strategies for the rest of your career.
To simplify: there are simple ways to let people know how your practice/therapy has helped people in their lives.
Here are some common social proof marketing strategies shown to be effective:
A testimonial is objective, therefore to your potential clients: trustworthy. Trust is a huge part of selling and a testimonial is probably the next best thing to a friend recommending a therapy/practice to you.
A testimonial is so valuable to a therapy practice because the customer took the time to speak about their experience with you. You can literally use their words, happiness and satisfaction to almost ‘prove’ to potential clients that your therapy practice is the best. If you get lots of testimonials, IE people who have gone out of their way to preach about how great the practice is, then you get strong social proof to bring other clients your way.
All people want these days is reviews, and quite rightly so. They provide such an honest insight into the service you’re considering buying. They also tend to include human details that your website doesn’t, like how effective something is in real life, not just in fancy sales speak that nobody tends to believe anyway.
Reviews and scores are like a direct traffic light system to a client’s wallet. If something has five stars they might not even stick around to read the review. They just see that lots of people have given the green light, and they go for it.
How powerful is that?
Influencers are a very new thing in social proof marketing, and they are a phenomenal way of businesses and individuals getting their company seen by extremely relevant crowds. It is the most amazing form of targeted marketing and often, the best influencers will just take the product you want them to advertise in return for them mentioning it or featuring it.
In the case of osteopathy, a person might have a few sessions with you to help their back or neck, and then publically endorse your practice when the sessions are successful. Either way, a person with influence and respect in the niche you’re trying to target, saying to their followers that your service is great, is pretty powerful when it comes to social proof.
Badges & Certifications
Badges and certifications displayed on your practice website, are basically other ways to say ‘see, they’ve said we are good at what we do/ know what we are doing/ that our practice is relevant’.
Consumers don’t actually see who the badges and certifications are from, they just see another form of approval that leads them in the right direction.
Social Media Connections & Shares
Social media likes and shares displayed on a website are letting you know that other people are into that practice. If you look on a website and see that thousands of people like that practise or therapist on Facebook, something in your brain tells you to do the same. According to studies, a third of the earth’s population is on social media, which explains why it is such a powerful tool.
This is a really interesting form of social proof because it uses the social proof marketing power of other brands. If you can say a well-known brand or company has put their trust in your practise or service, you are basically utilising the popularity and trust of that brand.
Say, for example, you work in a company like Prudential, M & S, or within the NHS and you talk about that on your website it implies that they trust you and therefore so should the potential client.
Social Proof Helps Therapists Bridge The Trust Gap Between Themselves & Potential Clients
With the therapy industry, social proof is an especially powerful force because therapy itself revolves around trust, and getting potential clients to trust that you will look after their feelings, and possibly their deepest darkest secrets, can be tricky.
And you can relate, right?
Letting anybody know about your weaknesses, and other details you hold inside of you can be very difficult, let alone a stranger. And in the case of physical therapy perhaps they need to undress in front of them…
All you’re trying to do is help somebody with a technique you know works, and all the potential client is doing is searching for somebody trustworthy to help them.
But there is still a gap between you both coming together, and that usually comes from them not having enough of a reason to trust you.
Celebrity endorsements have helped many therapies become more mainstream, but people still don’t want to spend their money on something that ‘might work’, which is exactly why testimonials are so very important. Testimonials are the social proof that gets clients believing and trusting you, and using your services.
You saying that you are trustworthy, and even displaying certification doesn’t necessarily help. But various different versions of social proof can help bridge that trust gap, especially testimonials.
Why? Because a testimonial, as we mentioned above, is basically the closest thing to a person’s friend telling them that what you do is valid, that it is relevant and most importantly, that you can be trusted.
Testimonials talk about the experience people have with you, they talk about how helpful you are, what the process is like and why you as a customer shouldn’t go to anybody else for this treatment. And because X amount of people are saying go to this therapist, this therapist obviously knows what he/she is doing.
You need testimonials to:
- Let potential clients know why they can trust you
- Let potential clients know why to spend their money on your services and not other practices
- Reassure potential clients they will see results with you
- Give an external and seemingly unbiased voice to your marketing
- Help potential clients understand you more
- Promote your services in real life, real people terms
Studies have shown that we literally have seconds to make an impression on a potential client. Yes, seconds. So you literally need to gain their trust the moment they see your advert or your site, no second chances.
Without using this tried and tested technique, you’re missing out on so many clients, who could already be making your marketing stronger by leaving a review.
If you want your prospects to trust you, your services and your practice all within seconds, you need to use social proof for marketing. You need to use testimonials to strengthen your conversions today, for a more profitable tomorrow.
In short, you need to use Trusted Practitioner. Apply here: