Social Proof (Sarcastically) Simplified [Video]


Listen on the go by downloading the audio of today’s video here.

Here’s the video script if you prefer to read:

Love it.

Love it.

LoveD it.


Have my babies…. Then take my money!

Chances are if you’ve been on a website for a product or service recently, been on the verge of clicking to buy, only to step back and say—

”ya know, I’m just not sure I trust this business.”

It happens to all of us and it’s usually because of a lack of social proof.

Even today, so many businesses never add it to their website.

And many that do, are actually adding “negative social proof” and they don’t even know it.

My name is Matt Ackerson and I’m the founder of as you may already know.

And the bottom line is that according to Bounce Exchange (and actually, our Google analytics account), since bloggers can’t properly cite original sources and just repeat numbers that sound good b/c everyone else says them — SIGH — upwards of 70% of your website visitors will never return after the first visit.

This is because rather than learning how to build and market a business online to make the world a better place there more important are goals to accomplish...

Like binge-watching the latest season of Netflix’s time-traveling thriller Dark

— wait what?

Season 2 is  STILL not out yet?! Goddam—

Moreover, multiple, multiple studies and surveys show that somewhere around 80% of customers report that reviews — one of 8 types of social proof — have a strong influence on their decision to buy.

Social proof is the solution because it is the fastest way to calm customer fears and build trust with potential customers and clients.

Social proof is defined as content that builds trust by showing your brand as popular or credible.

You see, I recently created a new product called “Proven Sales Conversion Pack.”

I spent 150+ hours finding, reading, and analyzing credible case studies from digital marketing agencies and experts.

And you know what I found?

I found tons and tons of proof that social proof was a major tipping point for consumers on the cliff’s edge of buying.

You see, when your customer is at that point, on that cliff’s edge, they look down, and all they want to know is “Should I take this leap?”

And social proof is a reminder saying: “hey, look at all us people down there in the canyon who took the leap! We’re happy, we landed safe and sound! And oh yeah, you have a parachute.”

Huh… This might not be the perfect metaphor I just realized — after all, if you think about it too much, you’d have to wonder if anything less than 5 star review means a violent deat—

Moving on…



The term social proof originally was coined by Robert Cialdini in his book "Influence" which 90% of marketing gurus quote from but haven’t read because 90% of the benefit of reading it is achieved by a 5-minute reading this lovely Wikipedia page for the book. 

After all, as much fun as business books are to read, there are other priorities to be considered...

“Hey Baby— do we have any more chips?! You know, ruffles, the ones with the ridges?”

Robert Cialdini’s definition of social proof was different than how you and I define it today. He had more of a psychological or experimental point of view.

He defined social proof as a type of conformity, meaning that: when we don’t know how to act in certain social situations, we look to others for cues on how to behave.

The best most amusing example of this comes in the form of the — PAUSE, holding back —

The “no soap radio” joke.

Laughs uncontrollably — ... what? You don’t get it? Why don’t you get it?...

Basically, no soap radio is a fun prank as long as you’re not the butt of the joke — because it makes you look like an easily manipulated idiot in front of your friends.

Here are a couple of friends tell the joke to their friend at what appears to be a local McDonalds.

“So two elephants are sitting in a jacuzzi. One elephant turns to the other and says pass me the soap. The other elephant replies: ‘NO SOAP RADIO!”

Silly human. She doesn’t get it until her friends press her on why doesn’t she GET it:

Then she laughs.

Then they reveal that there is no joke. “No soap radio” doesn’t actually mean anything.

So that’s the psychology behind it.

Social proof works because we’re sometimes rational and we like to see that other people are happy with the product because that means less risk for us…

But on a primal level, we’re still silly apes and we buy things simply because we see our friends and peers buying them and we want to match their behavior.

That’s ok though, we’re all in the same boat, on the same rock hurtling thru space—C'est la vie.

There are many examples of social proof, but here are the 8 most common types of social proof.

  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Press logos or company logos
  • Vanity stats
  • Trust badges and
  • Security seals
  • Ratings
  • Honors, awards, & memberships

—and there’s well-documented data I discovered showing that they all work.

There are some other less common types of social proof like celebrity endorsements…

Just make sure you’re always honest in how you present your social proof on your website.

Oh and, don’t make these mistakes, because Negative social proof is a real thing.

It’s basically when marketers use social proof but are actually shooting themselves in the foot. This is usually because of the WAY they present the social proof on their website.

There’s Untrustworthy Social Proof.

Like these super fake testimonials (it’s possible they weren’t, but removing them grew this business’s email conversion rate 206%).

Then there’s “Perfect” Proof.

— Not to be confused with my 11 point perfect sales funnel checklist, which you can download for free on our website. —

People don’t trust something that has no downside.

For instance, some smart people at the University of Northwestern?

Oh wait, it’s Northwestern University. Right.

Yesss, some smart people there did a study and found that sales were lower for products with perfect or near-perfect ratings.

The 3rd social proof mistake to watch out for though is:

“Imperfect” Social Proof.

… Which is a contradiction, since I just said “perfect” social proof is bad but, what the hell, it’s difficult to convey nuisance in a 9-minute video so just read my article and don’t be a lazy—

Imperfect social proof is where people are hesitant because they might see something like a 9.3 rating out of 10 from thousands of customers. And even though that it is pretty damn good and you worked your ass to get it, we’re still irrational monkey’s running an outdated operating system with the Law of Loss activating our fear centers.

— Insert shameless plug for my upcoming book / course / I don’t but it’ll be something cool that’s called the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics, click the link below to join the waitlist or hear about it —

So naturally, something like 25% of potential customers stop and wonder 9.3? hmmm, what about that 7%? Why didn’t they give it a 10 out of 10 too?


So, in this case, the company changed it to say 4000 glowing reviews and sales went up so the bottom line is “perfect” doesn’t work and neither does “imperfect” social proof, so you ultimately have to make an educated guess based on the success of others (like in this case study) or AB test to get it right.


To wrap things up, there are 3 little known secrets to making and using your own social proof.

Secret #1 Most customers’ reviews / testimonials come from email follow-up according to smart people at Northwestern University.

This is where people buy from you… and you email them… asking for a testimonial.

Secret #2 — Mine your own stats and content for hidden social proof

Pretty self-explanatory. Go look and you shall find. 

Secret #3 — Display real reviews with a “verified buyer” badge for increased credibility and conversions

Because we trust images of shaped like a badge with a checkmark…along with any movie directed by Christopher Nolan (after 1998)

And bonus Secret #4 — Give people an incentive to provide you with an honest review

Because nothing motivates your customers to help you like a good ol discount, or a prize raffle, or something…

Prize raffle? I’ve never entered a raffle in my life… but I guess gambling is fun and addictive so whatever.

And bonus Secret #5 — Go take action because 95% of the people watching this / reading it won’t and then give me credit for your hardwork and success because then I make more videos and articles like this

K thanks bye…

Oh and, share the love—

This is the first video like this I’ve made and I have no clue if the production quality is good because I’m typing this is google docs so this is just like… a letter time traveling into the future.

So leave a comment, give me a thumbs up on Youtube, share the article, emails it to all your friends, and family. Share it with your dog. And play it on repeat while you sleep.

Or just, like, share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or with someone else you think would like it, that’d be cool…

And then subscribe to our newsletter for tips to grow your business.




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