An image of a woman writing an online review on her smartphone is used to illustrate the concept of social proof, the collection of reviews and other feedback about you shared online by people you've worked with.

Social proof is essential in growing a stable, profitable business, yet figuring out how to get it can be confusing. At best, social proof will lead to potential clients seeing you as a highly skilled, authoritative expert. At worst, your practice might appear new and lacking in quality, with poor-quality social proof giving the impression you are unskilled.

Social proof is not a new business strategy—you’re probably already using it to some degree, and you’ve most certainly used it in your personal life. Because social proof can tremendously impact your business growth, you should add it to your daily action list.

Client reviews and testimonials are two ways of proving to the world you are great at what you do, so you can begin earning the trust of the people you are targeting. Leveraging the opinions of your current clients is an excellent strategy to back up your content and underscore your expertise.

If you have ever scrolled through the reviews for a new restaurant you are considering trying out or looked at the star rating of a product before adding it to your virtual cart, you’ve proven that social proof is often a deciding factor in how you spend your money.

For Social Proof, You Need Higher-Quality Reviews

You can leverage your authority position more effectively when you place importance on what a potential client sees, thinks and comes to believe about your business and your skills. Using that information, you can more effectively design your business to better meet the needs of the people you want to work with. These steps will yield higher-quality reviews, upping the impact of your social proof.

Potential clients who scroll through your reviews want to ensure you are worth their money, so a large quantity of social proof appeals to them—although reading them all isn’t on their to-do list. They might click on a few of your worst reviews, but they don’t usually take the time to delve deep into the positive ones.

Boiled down, these people aren’t seeking expert-level results. It’s a great idea to consider this when deciding if you will be marketing to a general audience or if you prefer to target a more specific group of people who fit your definition of perfect client, as this will influence your marketing overall.

Detailed Testimonials Create Extra Attention

When you leverage the incredible power of testimonials, people pay attention. They are more apt to read longer content or click on videos because they are interested in more than just a “not terrible” massage. These people seek high-level solutions to their pain and dysfunction problems and relaxation needs, not a basic massage that leaves them underwhelmed and salty that they have wasted their time.

What is a nice little bonus of all that extra attention? The social media algorithms will shower you with attention by making your content visible to more people more often, increasing your engagement even more.

Leverage Your Authority Position

Go through your reviews on all the platforms where you collect them, and listen to what your clients are not-so-silently telling you. Ask yourself why each of those clients came to you; what problem did they want to be solved–and did you solve it? Did their experience meet their expectations, or are improvements needed? This information can help you deliver excellent experiences for every client, increasing the quantity and quality of your social proof.

Set yourself up for raving reviews and powerful testimonials. Asking clients to leave a review (and especially a testimonial) can initially feel scary. Writing out a script and practicing it alone and with a trusted friend or colleague is helpful until you feel comfortable and confident. You can also use this script as the basis of an email to send as a follow-up to your clients’ sessions.

It’s equally important to not undermine your authority position. Offering a financial incentive is an overwhelmingly common practice to entice clients to leave a review. Not only can this practice ride the ethical line, but it can also cause potential clients to question if those reviews are authentic. Reviews given based on clients’ genuine satisfaction with their experience and your work will avoid any chance of undermining your authority.

What should you do instead? Send a handwritten thank-you note or thank them in person at their next appointment. And always respond directly to their public review or testimonial.

Remember to share. Create simple Canva graphics or share screenshots of your reviews and testimonials on your social media accounts to boost the power of your social proof. Remember to include them on your website and in emails, too. In short, share them everywhere!

Social Proof Improves Your Bank Account

You now know that building an authority-based presence, supported by raving reviews and high-impact testimonials, is an easy way to grow your massage business. But did you know your social proof can lead to premium prices, too?

As your social proof grows, so will the demand for your services. And when you have more requests than available appointments? You will be in a prime position to significantly raise your rates to match your high level of expertise in providing the results your target clients seek. No longer will you feel it necessary to accept anyone and everyone; you’ll be able to cherry-pick those who are the perfect fit for you and your practice.

When your schedule is at, or close to, capacity, it only makes sense to increase your session fees.

Most therapists set their prices based on their competition rather than on the authority position they’ve built. But here’s the thing with the trust and demand you’ve created: When you know more, you do more. When you do more, you charge more.

It’s not about adding loads of filler to your sessions so you can charge more. Not at all. I’m talking about results. When you’re more educated and experienced (you become a proper expert), you give your clients more of what works best. And when they get more of your best, they’ll happily pay more for it. They value your sessions based on your results, not the price you charge.

Social Proof Leads to Higher-Quality Clientele

When clients fully trust that their pain and dysfunction problems will be solved and their relaxation needs met, they become better clients. They trust your professional judgment on which treatment approach will yield the maximum results and allow you to do what you do best: Solve their problem.

Use this newfound information to communicate your authority position effectively. Match your language to showcase the expert results you can provide. Speak to the needs of your ideal clients and prove to them you’re the therapist they need.

Now is the perfect time to start if you are not already leveraging the power of social proof to grow your massage business.

Leveraging the power of reviews and testimonials can help you build a successful, stable massage practice providing the social proof potential clients demand. It gives you an excellent platform to show you are an authority on massage and bodywork and an expert at solving your clients’ problems. And when your audience sees you as a qualified expert, the demand for your services will soar.

Put Social Proof to Work in Your Practice

Whom should you ask? Every client, every day. If your client has never left you a review, or it’s been longer than a year, ask! When clients are happy with their experience and the results they have received, they are perfect candidates to ask for a review. But those clients who have shown significant improvement over the course of several sessions or have completed a treatment plan? They are an excellent choice to ask for a testimonial.

When should you ask? The perfect time to ask for a review is immediately after the session, once you have briefed the client on your findings and any at-home recommendations.

How do you make it count? Turn basic, boring reviews into raving testimonials by asking your client to talk about a specific element of your service or the results they have received. The more details they can give the better. Following up with each client a few days after their session not only helps deepen the client’s trust, it is an excellent opportunity to thank them for their wonderful testimonial.

What makes this easy? Including a link in your email signature makes it convenient and removes the guesswork about where to leave their comments. The easier you make it, the more reviews and testimonials you will collect. You can also include a link in your automated thank- you messages and post a review request on your social media pages.

Why shouldn’t you spread yourself too thin? Accepting reviews on multiple platforms may seem like a great idea, but that can water down their impact. It is more beneficial to choose one and leverage quantity. The more you have in one place, the more significant the impact. Once you have amassed a significant number of high-impact testimonials, you can start building on an additional platform.

Melinda Hastings

About the Author

Melinda Hastings, LMT, BCTMB, MTI, has practiced massage therapy since 1996. She holds active licenses in Washington and Texas. Hastings is an NCBTMB Approved CE Provider and also a Texas Massage Therapy Instructor. Her articles for MASSAGE Magazine include “From Overworked to Energized! 5 Steps to Help You Enjoy Your Massage Practice More.”