Referral marketing has always been one of the most used techniques that bookkeepers and accountants focus on to generate new leads and increase their client base. In fact, a prospective client is 83% more likely to work with a business when a friend or family member recommends their service. As technology changes, so do the strategies that promote referral marketing.

Historically, potential buyers would look to their friends and family to help make a decision regarding a product or service that best suits their needs. With the growth of social media and crowdsourcing, the decision making process is now influenced by a more substantial and well-informed audience. This change has brought the concept of "referral marketing" to an entirely new level, now known as "Social Proof" - the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing.

How does Social Proof Work?

In today's society, consumers are overwhelmed with decisions from where to eat lunch, to choosing a bookkeeping or accounting practice that will keep their books up-to-date. Rather than spending hours of research on the various solutions available, the first step that many consumers will take is to ask their peers for suggestions to narrow the potential solutions down to a manageable amount. This is where the importance of a "Social Proof" strategy comes into play, especially for firms in the bookkeeping and accounting industry.

According to Buffer, there are five main examples of social proof, as seen below:

  1. Expert Social Proof refers to industry thought leaders or influencers who approve your service. This would include a mention in a blog or social media post, or a mention in a group.

  2. Celebrity Social Proof focuses on a celebrity using your service and promoting it on social media or in public.

  3. User Social Proof relates to positive feedback from your actual clients and is generally taken advantage of as a customer review or testimonial. Google and Facebook are great platforms for customer reviews, while your website or blog would be a good example of showcasing testimonials.

  4. "Wisdom of the Crowds" Social Proof is one of the newer forms of social proof and stems from a group of people who are using a product or service. If there is enough positive communication surrounding a product or service, others will follow suit.

  5. "Wisdom of your Friends" Social Proof, similarly, refers to conversation among family and friends with regards to a product or service. The recommendations from those that we know and trust carry much more influence than other types of marketing and advertising.

That's Great, But How Do I Apply It?

One of the easiest triggers to help you get started Social Proofing your bookkeeping practice is to offer a great service that goes above and beyond your client's expectations. A client that has an exceptional experience is more likely to share the story with their peers, either in person or via an online review. As a starting point, it would be beneficial to make a list of individuals who you believe fit into this category.

Once you have a list, it is now time to create a Social Proof strategy. A few resources to get started would include:

  • Creating a Google or Facebook Business page and asking clients for a review.
  • Add testimonials to your website and/or newsletters.
  • Provide information via blogs or emails, which allow your fans to share and "like" across multiple platforms.

Having this social backing allows for potential clients to feel reassured with their decision, and comfortable that the services you offer will be in-line with their peer's experiences.

 

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