Why are Customer Testimonials important?

Customer Testimonials or References are one of the key measurements of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Word of mouth marketing is probably the most effective means of marketing.

Social Proof is the theory behind customer testimonials. If enough people  like something,  people tend to investigate further and join the crowd. It is a key psychological influencer documented in a book by Robert Cialdini: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

What are the new Social Proof Web Techniques?

1. Like buttons on Facebook and Youtube

2. Buzz Up button on Yahoo

3. Number of Views on an individual Youtube (or other video site) video. If something has many views, it  is deemed more popular.

4. Trending topics on Twitter: If you sign on to Twitter, it provides you with what people are tweeting about the most right now. This is an indication that something is catching the attention of the general population.

5. Hash Tags on Twitter: If a topic is interesting, then someone assigns a hash tag (# in front of a search term eg #custserv) to it and searches on  that Hash Tag will bring up the tweets on Twitter with that subject. As a general rule,

6. Social Bookmarking Sites: A social bookmarking site like Digg or Stumbleupon aggregate what sites users want to keep in their bookmarks. When all users are combined, the high ranking sites (those with the most bookmarks) are a form of social proof as many users want to be able to find that article or webpage.

7. Useful, Funny and, Cool designations on Yelp. Yelp is  a way for consumers to find and talk about great (and not so great) local businesses. If an organization makes it to the Best of Yelp list, users have social proof that others have liked dealing with this business and can read reviews written by others. Yelp also provides its equivalent of a like button in the form of Useful, Funny and, Cool designations.

8. First page ranking by Search Engines like Google. The whole science of Search Engine Optimization also has some factors built in that shows that others like the content of this web page. Google uses social proof in the form of links back to a website as one of the factors to determine which of millions of web pages to put on page 1 when a user does a search on a topic.

9. Tweet and Share Counts: Many blog articles now show Tweet Counts (for Twitter) and Share counts for Facebook on each article. These are also a form of social proof. The higher the number of times an article has been tweeted about, the higher its significance is.

10. Ratings and Reviews: Yelp (mentioned above) is one of the many review sits on the web. There are many others from Trip Adviser, Google Maps,  to one of the many rating sites such as  Rate your Doctor or Dentist at RateMDs.

11. Number of Followers and Fans. Both Facebook and Twitter list the number of followers a person, company or brand has. This is another form of social proof. In the case of Twitter, this number may be misleading as some people make a point of gathering as many followers as possible but large numbers generally mean someone is at minimum signing up to listen to what you are tweeting about.

These are just some of the techniques being used by customers and consumers to rate the organizations, brands, professionals, and products.

How to find out what is popular now?

An interesting site I found on the web is called Stuff to Tweet. In one location, it provides information on what is hot right now:

1. Popular on Digg

2. Popular on Del.ico.us

3. Popular on Twitter

4. Popular on Youtube

5. Popular on Lifehacker

6. Most Popular on TMZ

7. Popular on Mashable

8. Most Popular photos

9. Most popular on Wikihow

10. Most popular on CNN

11. Popular in the NY Times

12. Popular on Daily Motion

13. Popular Recipes

14. Popular at Amazon

15. Popular on Craig’s list

There are many other sites as well that show what is popular for their topic. A good technique is to find a social bookmarking site that caters to your product area, industry or service and ensure your websites are available for others to review and rank.

What  social proof techniques are you using for your business?

Are you using social proof buttons on your websites, Facebook fan pages and blogs? Are you watching how your brand, product or service is being rated at the rating and review sites. What are you doing to ensure that these types of social proof methods are included in your public persona?

Leave your comments below.



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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

One Response to “Customer Testimonials: 11 Measures of Social Proof”

  1. IBM Marketing Survey highlights Interactive Marketing challenges | Customer Satisfaction and Reputation Management Says:

    […] For more on this topic see my recent blog post called  Customer Testimonials: 11 Measures of Social Proof. […]

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