Attract new clients, attract new followers, and attract new opportunities. Nearly every new health coach shares those top three goals, and there’s one powerful concept that helps you achieve them all: Social Proof.
Social proof, a term coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984, describes a psychological and social phenomenon where people copy the behavior of others in order to take action or make a decision for themselves.
In his book called Influence, Cialdini explains that although we are capable of processing lots of information, we have capacity limitations, too. “…we must sometimes retreat to a more automatic, primitive, type of responding,” and social proof is one of your brain’s most common defaults for decision making (because it’s highly reliable and requires little effort).
When visitors come to your website or social media, they may be short on time, distracted, or stressed, and this makes them more likely to use social proof to make a decision about your business.
So how do you build more social proof and make sure the word is getting out?
As a health coach, you’ll want to focus on 4 general categories of social proof:
- Industry Proof: A.k.a. Expert Proof, is when you’re seen as “approved” by the people in your own industry. This is the most opportunistic category for new health coaches.
- Wisdom of Your Friends and Followers: This is a type of social proof that is the most reliable, because it’s made up of recommendations and reviews from people that your audience knows, trusts, or relates to.
- Wisdom of the Crowd: this is similar to the above example, but it’s based on sharing the popularity of your product or service because people are inclined to mimic the behavior of a crowd—and it induces feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out).
- Certifications and Recognition: displaying your badges, awards, certifications, and meaningful icons help to build your credibility in the eyes of others.
Let’s get down to the specifics with 16 ways to build and share your social proof as a new health coach.
1. Guest Blog Posts
Offer to guest post on another business’s blog, or invite another expert to post on yours (and be sure to spread the word once they are published). Learn how to land bigger publications with the help of business coach Susie Moore.
2. Podcasts and Social Media Interviews
Podcast interviews boost your industry proof. If podcasting seems like a big leap, try to book Facebook Live or Instagram Live interviews. Note: this works both ways (with you as the guest or the host). Once you’ve published, grab the embed code for a video/audio player and embed it on your website.
3. Brand Affiliates or Influencers
Reach out to your favorite brands and offer to be an affiliate, or do product review videos on social media. Embed the videos on your website, or use the company logo to showcase your collaborations.
4. Instagram Takeovers
An Instagram takeover is when an influencer (like you) takes over another user’s account and posts content for anywhere from 1-3 days to a week. List your favorite brands on Instagram, and send them a DM to offer your ideas for the takeover. This works for IG stories, feeds, or both; and you can be on either end of the takeover.
Tip: be sure to tell your audience in advance, and during the takeover, for this one.
5. Industry Memberships and Organizations
Are you a member of a non-profit organization that can help boost your industry proof? More ideas include mastermind groups, fitness/health-related meetups, clubs, etc…if you’re passionate about the organization, it’s not a bad idea to share a dedicated social media post or email about how the mission has impacted you.
6. Virtual Summits or Collaborative Workshops
Virtual summits have really taken off since the social distancing era began. If you hear about a summit that you’d like to appear on, reach out to the creators and pitch your topic. You can even start your own summit like these two Primal Health Coaches did.
7. Earned Media and Publications
Reach out to local publications to pitch your free blogging/writing skills and article ideas. You might also try HARO (Help a Reporter Out), which is an online service that blasts out daily notifications to industry professionals (like you) with a list of articles in the making by journalists seeking an expert POV.
8. Cross-Promotions and Collaborative Projects
Team up with a fellow coach or complementary business to cross-promote or collaborate. You could do a giveaway on social media, promote each others’ parallel offers, or coach a fun challenge together. Get creative and grow your audiences at once.
9. Backlinks or Pingbacks to Your Blog
When another blog or content creator hyperlinks to your content, it’s called a backlink or a pingback (your website should notify you of these when they occur). Share screenshots (or links to the article if it’s valuable content) to use as social proof.
Wisdom of Your Friends and Followers
10. Praise from Clients and Followers
One of the top forms of social proof is testimonials and positive reviews from real people showing you real love. Take screenshots of texts and emails you receive from happy clients, or of social media messages from grateful followers, and share, share, share.
11. Shout-outs and Follower-Generated Content
Always share any shout-outs you receive on social media, and user-generated content (like when someone posts a photo of your killer instant pot recipe). This reminds others that you’re a business worth following.
12. Attend Industry Conferences
Share photos and experiences from industry conferences you’ve attended. If you take photos with famous influencers in your field, it can serve as industry proof, too.
13. Book and Share Speaking Gigs
If you’re teaching workshops or speaking at public events, share invitations with your audience and images from the event to help build credibility. Ask for a testimonial from the host after you’ve nailed your speech, and you’ll have another glowing review to share.
14. Share Milestones and Number of Members/Subscribers
Did you hit 1,000 followers or downloads? Celebrate it by creating a graphic to share this milestone on social media. Use numbers in your copywriting, too. For instance, if you have over 500 people on your subscriber list, you might say “Join over 500 happy subscribers” to make others want to sign up.
Certifications and Recognition
15. Health Coach-Related Credentials and Badges
Show the logo from your health coaching school, your coaching certificate, and any related badges or credentials on your website to build your credibility.
16. Share Awards, Nominations, or Recognition
Have you been nominated for an award, were a finalist in a recipe contest, or recognized in your industry? If so, share this with the world! Another tip: strive for that verified blue check on your social media accounts for some ultimate social proof and credibility!
Final Tip: When you accomplish any of the 16 strategies above, share them on social media (via screenshots, links to content, live videos, etc.) Every. Time. Because that’s how you demonstrate social proof! Be sure to utilize your email list for the most valuable content, and use your website for all the best stuff. You can create a “Featured In” or “Collaborations” page on your site, or post things on your “About Me” page (logos and badges look great in a banner on your home page, too).
You have a message to be shared, and people will only find you if you let yourself be found. The greatest part is that once you get a few of these under your belt, you’ll see it has a snowball effect, and opportunities begin to multiply.