A frequently used ‘buzzword’ in the marketing space, you have probably heard the term ‘social proof’ used a million times, but are you clear on exactly how it works, and the ways you can utilise it to ultimately boost your chiropractic business?
In this article, I will unpack exactly what social proof is and the reasons why it should be an essential part of your clinic’s marketing efforts.
What is Social Proof?
‘’Psychological and social phenomenon referring to people’s reliance on the feedback and actions of others to determine what is right and what is wrong in a given situation’’
The truth is humans trend towards the norm. It’s the ‘sheep’ effect, if everyone else is doing it, then so should I, right? (safety in numbers) And when it comes to products and services, you can’t blame anyone for thinking this way. When you are making a purchasing decision, all you have to go on are the words and accolades of the seller and the experiences of the people who have purchased before you.
Restaurants are the best visual representation of this. When you are walking down a street of restaurants, looking for a place to eat, you are immediately drawn to the ones full of customers and walk straight by the empty ones without a second thought. Now think of your business, do people window shopping online see a thriving, full, active clinic or are they walking by without second thought?
Social proof is a concept as old as marketing itself. With the rise of social media and the internet in general, the accessibility and effectiveness of social proof has increased, making it more important than ever to be utilising it correctly for your practice.
What does social proof look like today?
Social proof does NOT just include positive reviews. Social proof can be anything that boosts customer confidence in your product/brand, which comes directly from customers, including:
Written and spoken/video testimonials.
Reviews (Facebook, Google, trust pilot)
Social media likes and following.
Media Presence (Newspapers, TV, Radio, Social)
Amount of Patients helped/size of the clinic.
Word of mouth
This can be paired with further ‘personal’ proof, including:
Years in practice
These are all things you should be ‘boasting’ about on a daily basis through your marketing efforts. The very presence of social proof will make your clinic more trustworthy because, by definition, social proof has come directly from happy customers who have been through the customer journey. Social proof will always carry more weight than any branded messages from your practice itself. People expect businesses to ‘big themself up’, and will often disregard this information and instead, focus on what the customers have to say.
The most popular and accessible form of modern social proof would have to be online reviews, typically through Facebook and Google. Studies have shown that 88% of shoppers trust online reviews and, according to Yelp, 91% of consumers take action as a result of seeing a positive review online. This means gaining that 5-star rating should be a high-level priority in your business. The likelihood is you already have a bunch of these ready to go that are not being fully utilised. You can use these reviews in your ad campaigns, welcome packs, direct mail campaigns, email signatures, social media posts, and on your website.
Although written testimonials are effective, video testimonials are more effective still, some studies even suggest that video can be up to 90% more effective. This is due to two factors. One, they are much harder to fake or fabricate and two, they allow the customer to visualise your product/service and engage with real-life people (just like them), who have received chiropractic care and have changed their lives as a result.
2 out of 3 people say they’d be more likely to make a purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product, or service had helped another person like them. The only thing that trumps a regular video testimonial is a celebrity endorsement! However minor, if you currently adjust a ‘celebrity’, then make sure to get a testimonial from them (a video if possible)! When it comes to testimonials, the best practice is to have a healthy mix of video and written. Everyone learns and consumes content in different ways, some people will prefer watching videos and some people will prefer reading reviews, so it is our job to cater to everyone.
Why is social proof essential to growing Chiropractic?
Social proof works in every industry, but why is it specifically important within Chiropractic? As chiropractors, we deal with people’s most valuable asset, their health! This makes it paramount that we provide as much evidence as possible to assure our potential customers they are in safe hands. Chiropractic is an industry that, as we all know, has received more than its fair share of scrutiny over the years. Pair that with a lack of adequate marketing has resulted in an environment where the majority of people either do not have a good understanding of what Chiropractic is/does or have heard something negative about chiropractic. Therefore, it is our job to use social proof as much as possible, to not only raise the profile and consumer confidence in our clinics but in chiropractic as a whole.
To put the volume of social proof needed into context, most consumers will view up to ten reviews before making a purchasing decision. This only increases with the importance of the decision (Health, Law, Property, etc). The more important the decision, the more social proof is needed!
If you are not utilising social proof to the maximum, then the likelihood is, the chiropractor down the street isn’t either. Therefore, you should use this as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. This is your chance to be the bustling restaurant, attracting customers like fireflies to a flame.
If you haven’t already, I would strongly suggest running a Google or Facebook review campaign for your current clients. Offer up a prize or incentive for reviewing and watch as the social proof rolls in. All of a sudden, you are the preferred choice in your area!
Looking for further reading on social proof, here is my book recommendation!
To take a deeper dive into the origins of social proof — in 1984, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called ‘’Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’’ that has become a cult classic in the marketing field.
Cialdini covered the topic of social proof, which he put forth as the reason people like safety in numbers when it comes to buying products or services. If they can see that a product is (or isn’t) being purchased and trusted by others, this helps them make a confident purchasing decision.