Have you ever gone to a website to purchase a product, but you couldn't find one? Or even worse... You saw a BAD review, and it turned you off to the site or business so badly that you decided to not purchase at all? Most of us have. Social proof is a small aspect of your marketing strategy that can have a MASSIVE impact. A bad or negative experience by a customer or client is over 100x more likely to be remembered than all of the good experiences they've had put together.
A customer or client is 10x more likely to leave a negative review after a bad experience than they are after 10 good experiences. It's simply human nature. We remember the bad because we expect the good. You can go to a restaurant for 5 years, have 50 or more really fantastic experiences and never leave a single star review. However, if you go to that restaurant and have one single bad experience, you'll more than likely not return at all.
The point of this entire post is simple. Watch what kind of testimonials you get, who you're tagging or claiming in these testimonials, and how the testimonials are displayed on your social media or website.
Recently, I had a pretty bad mishap occur over a testimonial that was of mistaken identity. I hired a web-designer to revamp the Mid-South Marketing Solutions website, and I strictly instructed him to use testimonial pictures but no names, whatsoever. A few weeks later, he called to say he was done, and since he had come so highly recommended, I went ahead and paid him for his work without checking out the site. (I know! Dumb, right? Lesson learned.)
Well, a few days later, I still had not had a chance to fully go over the site because my son had been sick for those few days and had been hospitalized. I, being the doting father that I am, stayed with him the entire time he was in the hospital, and I made no effort to do a single bit of work while I was there. I figured that I would get to it when I got home after his discharge from the hospital.
Here's what happened: A few days later, I received an email from a doctor asking me why, when he and I had never worked together, was his name listed under a testimonial on my website. I absolutely flipped! I immediately went to the website, and sure enough, there it was. The name of a doctor from Wilmington, NC that I had never even met, much less worked with.
When I contacted my website developer, I asked him why the name was there, and he said that he forgot to remove it as a "placeholder" name while he was building the site out. Needless to say, I didn't get that doctor as a client because of a simple mistake made by a developer and the fact that I was "too busy" to verify his work.
If you take nothing else from my story, take this: No matter what, ALWAYS verify the work of any person you're looking to hire. Whether it be for employment, contracting, strategy, or consulting, you should ask for testimonials and verification of their work. Having a decent amount of testimonials and reviews that backup what you say is absolutely critical in establishing a relationship with your potential client/patient/customer before they ever even come to you for business.
What's the moral of the story: Cover. Your. Ass. Never blindly trust someone to do exactly what you're asking them to do without having proof that they've done it before. -Justin