Fake social proof WITHOUT being misleading?

Caroline Chiari
19 replies
The other day I came across an interesting dilemma: You "need" social proof to get users, and you need users to have social proof. So I asked myself: how do you get social proof with no users WITHOUT being slimy, shady, and misleading (i.e.: being blatantly obvious that the social proof is fake)? In my research, I came across a 2-year-old thread (https://www.indiehackers.com/for...) and those two websites with fake testimonials came up: https://chatthingy.com/ and mathpix.com (they do have real reviews at the bottom though) I did my own version at https://koupi.io So my questions to you is: yay? nay? would you do it? Do you have other original marketing tricks like that?

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πŸ’‘... πŸ’» ... πŸš€πŸš€ ... πŸ˜ƒ πŸ”
Let me ask: Why do you need social media users? What is your product and what stage are you in?
πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@alex_papageorge Social proof is not social media users :) it's things like testimonials from users, or the company logos you see on landing pages, but those are things you cannot have until you actually have users. My product is a no-code automation tool for IT administrators. It allows them to create automation scripts in minutes without needing to write code. Currently I just launched the MVP, but like an idiot, I didn't do any marketing beforehand so now I have no users :(
πŸ’‘... πŸ’» ... πŸš€πŸš€ ... πŸ˜ƒ πŸ”
@caroline_chiari Got it! Do you have current beta testers or all you in that stage right now?
πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@alex_papageorge I am in the stage of getting beta users/early adopters. Or maybe it's just a crappy product. we'll see what my conversion rate is.
πŸ’‘... πŸ’» ... πŸš€πŸš€ ... πŸ˜ƒ πŸ”
@caroline_chiari Don't worry! Most of the products in the stage you are, are relatively crappy πŸ™ƒ My suggestion: Go to your target users directly. You built this product for a reason (to solve X problem). Do unscalable actions by reaching out to your ideal customer directly and ask them to use it. Then collect their feedback. If you say this solution will make you life easier by a and b, people should want to give it a try (unless the pain is not felt enough). Your product is going to evolve all the time, and if you're doing it right, it should evolve based on the data/feedback from your users your collecting. Start small. Get the info you need and the masses will follow.
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Just be sarcastic, just joke around with testimonials. Humor is a good selling source :)
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
Product & Growth
I like the idea but I feel there's a balance to strike with the presentation of humor and ensuring the user doesn't feel the product itself is a fake or satire. Another idea might be to have one of the fake testimonials positioned as "We love this to be you" with maybe a buying flow that offers users who agree to help with product feedback get a discount.
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@rjplaton ooooo I love this idea! two "real" fake people and one question mark saying "This could be you" or "this is where we'd put your testimonial"!
Co-founder πŸ‘‰ MoneyMinx.com
I am running into this very same issue with https://moneyminx.com, we didn't launch yet so we don't have user feedback yet. I am thinking of solving this in 2 ways? 1) I am asking people on my list for feedback on what they think of screenshots we sent so far. That could give me something to write. 2) I am looking at what potential users say about the state of the current market that I can use. For example: updating a spreadsheet every month is really painful. For your site option #2 may work well. If you find quotes on twitter from systems engineer complaining. You can reach out to them and ask if you can quote them on your site. This site did it that way: https://founderpool.co First Round Capital Founder’s field guide β€œ ...the best safety net is the wisdom of the community and the experience of fellow entrepreneurs.” That list of quotes like the above as an example has nothing to do with them. They are just quoting famous people from the industry. It's not a lie.
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@husseinyahfoufi That's great advice! Showing pain points from interviews is a good idea.
Founder - Lance for Freelancers
To be honest, I think that the best use of your time is to find the first 10-20 users on your own. I don't think that someone who will land on your site will convert because of a testimonial. If I were you - I would have used Linkedin to reach out to people and ask for feedback. Let them try the product and you'll have 1)Real feedback 2)Testimonials (not sure you'll wanna use them though ;). Here is a text that worked well for us on Linkedin: ________________________________________________________ 1. Friend request with message: 'Hi {receiver.first_name}, my name is Gilad, and I'm just about to launch a new app based on my experience as a freelance consultant and the struggle regarding tax & financials. as a freelance photographer, I think you can help me. Let's connect and I'll explain further. Best, _____________________________________________________ 2. Followup after friend request accepted Thanks for connecting {receiver.first_name} :-) As mentioned, I think you can really help me with my new product. We're in a critical stage of collecting feedback and researching the need for different audiences. I would love to get your feedback on it. Would you be so kind to answer this, very short, anonymized survey. Shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. LINK TO SURVEY Any feedback would be very helpful and appreciated! Thanks, ______________________________________________________ Of course that you can ask them to try your product out and not to fill up a survey. Hope it helps :)
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@gilad_uziely Thank you so much for the example message! I will definitely use this when connecting to people! PH is a treasure-trove of wonderfully helpful advice!
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Founder - Lance for Freelancers
Founder - Lance for Freelancers
@caroline_chiari BTW - if you are interested there are a few tools that automate the process. LMK if you want a link to the one I've used in the past.
Marketing, product management, sales
I understand your pain pretty well, that's what I'm also struggling with. I'd say having fake testimonials isn't bad in case you're not scamming anyone. Humans have this cattle instinct that stops them from trying a product unless someone recommends it. On the other hand, it's kinda obvious that testimonials can be bought. I'd test this option, but my startup Whoonid https://employplan.com/ is B2B for companies with 10+ people and bigger corporations, so we need to post logos of our clients, not anonymous testimonials.
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@aleksandra_vovchenko That's true that B2B likes logos (I'm B2B as well), but ultimately, you don't sell to a business, you sell to people, having feedback from actual humans can be helpful.
@caroline_chiari1 For startups, I think the best strategy is to continue offering genuine value and then reaching out to a handful of promising users to test certain features of the product for free. Once that trust and relationship is built, these users can be your source of social proof and testimonials in the beginning.
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πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‘©πŸΌβ€πŸ’» Creator of Koupi.io
@kenny_wu1 Yeah, I'd rather do that :(