The power of testimonials for social proofing

The power of a third-party review in converting a visitor to your recruitment website into a client is undeniable. By including testimonials on your website, you are effectively helping potential clients make a decision and feel confident about that choice, knowing that others have done just that and benefited from it. That is social proofing – establishing trust and confidence in visitors to your website via third party influence. We’re all influenced by others, it’s human nature, and it makes sense to harness that in business.  

Humans are pack animals, we like to feel we belong and that our thoughts and opinions are shared. A good example of this is a study conducted by the Wall Street Journal which looked at how to encourage readers to reduce their energy use in the summer by switching to fans rather than air conditioners. They found that the majority who did start to use fans weren’t persuaded by financial incentives (they could save $54 a month) or social responsibility (the prevention of the release of more than 262 pounds of greenhouse gases a month) but by the fact that 77% of their neighbours had already started to use fans. The old adage of keeping up with the Jones’ remains a powerful motivator in decision making. Business decisions aren’t any different. If another business has benefitted from a particular agency’s recruitment services, that speaks volumes. It is an incredibly powerful sales tool, reinforcing your messaging, setting expectations, and substantiating your claims. 

So what should they contain? Any positive message from a happy client will boost your credibility but certain content can be particularly effective. If a client is able to produce numbers, e.g. “I have been working with x for x number of years and they always produce quality talent”, that resonates and it’s solid and quantifiable. Anything that counters negative preconceptions of recruitment businesses or perhaps a bad experience a client may have had in the past (without ever bad-mouthing other businesses) is also effective. For example, “I never felt like x was spamming me CVs, they always delivered quality candidates that fit the brief”. If you have worked with an industry leader or someone with influence in your sector, be sure to ask for a testimonial as these are like gold dust. There’s a reason influencers have become so huge in social marketing – if someone has an established reputation, what they say tends to carry more weight. 

Keep your testimonials simple and snappy and try to include details of the individual giving the testimonial – an image, their name, role and company. This legitimises the claim, gives you credibility and instils trust in the reader. Video is also powerful, if you can persuade the client to agree, though adding video to your website does come with its own caveats. Don’t forget about candidates – their experiences are just as important, not just to reassure and inspire other talent to use your services but because any positive reviews on the way your agency conducts itself is good PR. A stand-alone page for testimonials allows website visitors to immediately check out your credentials and can be used as a CTA on other pages. Testimonials can also be peppered throughout the other pages on your website as supporting copy. Include them at the bottom of a page, next to pricing or by a claim in your copy.

Used well, testimonials are incredibly powerful marketing tools that help to social proof your brand. Don’t be afraid to ask a client for a testimonial. The more you have showcasing the different sides of your business, the varying services you offer, and the range of clients and candidates you can help, the better. Your happy clients and candidates can be your best sales tool.