Social Proof: Why Testimonials and Reviews are Critical for Spa Businesses

Social Proof: Why Testimonials and Reviews are Critical for Spa Businesses

leadership social media Mar 09, 2020

Last month, I spoke at length about how utilizing your subject matter expertise to nurture your spa business through various marketing tactics (especially blogging and vlogging!)— even when being seen as a subject matter expert might scare you—is essential for spa business growth. 

This March deepens that testament. This month, I’ll be discussing the ins and outs of how creating social proof will increase your spa business sales.

What is Social Proof?

First things first: what is social proof? Coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984, social proof is classified as a form of social influence where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation. Sound complicated? I promise it’s not; the best example of social proof in today’s day and age is via online testimonials and reviews. In short, the more positive feedback potential clients see that your spa business is receiving, the likelier those potential clients are to not only trust your business enough to book their initial consultation, but also leave you a positive review at the end.

Psychology: the Missing Link in Spa Businesses

I actually had an interesting conversation with a local marketing student here in Victoria, BC who spoke to the link between business and psychology. We were chatting to see if she would be a good fit as a Co-Op student in the marketing outsourcing portion of my business coaching and she opened up about her difficulty deciding between majoring in business or psychology-- before she realized that marketing was that sweet spot where the two fields united.

 I loved having a frank discussion about the psychological factor that so many spa business owners overlook when trying to build their clientele. Just like how “location, location, location” is the mantra for success in real estate, “trust, trust, trust” is the adage spa owners should be following for business growth! 

“But Kirsten,” I hear you say, “are testimonials and reviews the only way for me to build my social proof?” The answer? No— but you’ll have to sit tight for more Live training and blog accompaniments about lesser-known social proof techniques (and if you can’t wait? Join my free Facebook group for spa owners to discuss your own ideas for building social proof!)

How Does Social Proof Work to Bring in Business?

Social proof brings in business by tapping into the psychology of buyer behaviour. As a potential buyer yourself of spa products and treatments, think of how testimonials and reviews have influenced you to make a purchase or visit an establishment. The common three that come to mind for me are:

  • Subject matter expert product showcases or reviews: when we haven’t experienced something ourselves, watching a video or reading a review of an expert detailing their experience provides us, the potential buyer, with both a sense of comfort and a sense of intrigue. Trust is the name of the game in marketing, and we collectively tend to believe that anything a subject matter expert endorses is worth buying because they are more knowledgeable than us in their area of specialization.

  • Celebrity endorsements: playing on equal measures envy and trust, we often buy into what celebrities endorse due to wanting to look like them or emulate the lifestyle that they’re touting.

  • Peer reviews: reading testimonials provided by everyday people feel inherently trustworthy because they have experienced the product or service we’re interested in but haven’t yet tried.

So Why Aren’t Spas Paying More Attention to Social Proof as a Marketing Tool?

If spa owners don’t have systems in place, building social proof to garner more business will get lost in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day work that needs to be done. Another component I see is spa owners forgetting to ask for a review or, even more commonly, not knowing how to ask. (Stay tuned— due to popular demand, next week’s Live training will delve into that!)

As a spa owner turned spa business coach, I understand that being in the personal service industry, competing with the plethora of treatment options on the market— especially with so many currently on the market orbiting around hype rather than delivering tangible results— and the number of facilities consumers can choose from makes it so spas need to make sure that they are displaying their social proof. This is especially true if you want to attract those high-value clients— which, let’s not kid ourselves, is every spa owner!

Be sure to sit tight for next week’s Spa Business Break, where I’ll be discussing how to automate your social proof for both efficiency and profitability. If you’re itching to start building your social proof right now, however, be sure to drop me a line to continue this talk about testimonials and reviews!

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