Welcome to First Thursday! On the first Thursday of every month Corporate Speech Solutions features an expert that has a skill or expertise that will enhance your professional skill set. Today, we’re joined by Jess Todtfeld, with a blog on social proof, that all-important force that shows your prospective clients that others trust and endorse you (and they should too!). Read on and learn how you can cultivate social proof and make it work for you.
Social Proof is the New Currency, by Jess Todtfeld
Social proof has been called the force that influences all of us when it comes to decision making. When we make decisions, big and small, we look to see what others have done. It’s the proof from the crowd, friends, family—those we trust that a decision is right or wrong. When that proof is overwhelming, a choice or buying decision can easily be made. The good news? You can build up your own social proof so clients and prospects see you as the leader.
So who am I? I am Jess Todtfeld, President of Success In Media, Inc., a full-service public speaking and media training consultancy. I help CEOs and business leaders to create “magnetic” communication during speeches and media interviews—and learn how to best leverage those situations. Here comes the social proof: I was a TV producer for 13 years on the national level. I worked for companies that include ABC, NBC and FOX. After leaving television and becoming a media trainer, I realized it would be pretty unimpressive if the media guy didn’t have some experience being on the receiving end of interviews. I went on to be featured as a guest on pretty much every main TV outlet, have been in more than 50 newspapers, and set a Guinness Record for being interviewed the most times in a 24-hour period on radio: 112. I have also authored three books on communication, given speeches around the country and have trained leaders from both private and public sectors, including the United Nations, IBM, LinkedIn, and LandRover and the United States Government.
Okay, we get it. Jess has plenty of proof in his bio that says he has both worked for and has been a consultant for some pretty recognizable, high-profile organizations. But, is that enough? The answer is: you need more than one type of social proof.
Here are a few different types of social proof and how they can help you grow your business:
- Recognizable Organizations You Have Helped: The list of companies you have worked for is one type of social proof. Don’t forget to list companies or groups you have done business with or helped in some other way, too. Include logos whenever possible. Include these on many different pages on your website as well as proposals, hand-outs and other materials.
- Media: When people see you in a media interview, they see you as an expert. It is also an implied endorsement by that outlet. Include photos, articles, and TV interviews that you have appeared in across your marketing channels, including the interview or link to the video.
- Author: Just having a book puts you in the category of expert. This was one of the earliest forms of social proof that I (and my TV producer colleagues) paid attention to. Being an author impressed us enough to book someone as an expert on our show.
- Testimonials and Reviews: Can you imagine buying something from Amazon and not looking at the reviews? When people look you up, they want to know who you have helped and how well it worked out. Include testimonials, logos, video reviews, and anything that can show how your clients or customers feel about what you do.
- Social Media Attention: Social media is a great place to post pictures of your accomplishments, to share your successes, and highlight the people you have had a positive impact on. When you interact with others, they can post public comments about you and your work. This informal setting is a great place for people to sing your praises, and for others to read about it.
- Word-of-Mouth: Getting people to comment, review, like, and refer is proof that something you are doing is working. Do your best to record, share, and encourage these sentiments.
- Advertising: Again, being seen, even if you have paid for it, is proof that you are playing in the big league. If people see you in a magazine or Facebook ad, and then visit your website, they already have the impression that you are successful enough to afford advertising.
- Pictures and Video: If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth 10,000. If your client is the President of the United States, it is much more powerful to see you together than just to read about it in text. Look for opportunities to gather these items and use them in your marketing.
- Scarcity: When people know your time is limited, getting an appointment with you might be difficult, or that they must “make the cut” to do business with you, they get the social proof message. Just be honest about how you portray this. Authenticity and trust are cornerstone to any successful business.
- Negative Social Proof: Every one of the strategies listed above could show itself in a negative manner. Do right by those with whom you work, and keep an eye on where they share their reactions. It might be better to make a difficult customer happy or provide a refund than to risk them sharing negative feedback verbally, on social media, or otherwise.
Ultimately, social proof delivers implied endorsements, instant credibility, and shows your competitive advantages. Allowing the world to see all of this will make your business process smoother and more profitable.
Jess Todtfeld, CSP, is one of the top media training, speaker training, and communication experts in the US. He is the author of three books, including the upcoming, Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course due out summer 2016. He recently earned the CSP designation, Certified Speaking Professional, held by only by 12% of speakers worldwide. Visit www.SuccessInMedia.com or www.JessTodtfeld.com.
If you think you may benefit from more direct training to improve business communication skills or improve pronunciation skills as with our accent reduction and accent modification training, please call 212-308-7725 or send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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