How to Boost Your Credibility as a Guitar Teacher - Social Proof
When we receive information, we tend to filter it rapidly and make a snap judgement on whether we should trust it or not. The same think applies to your online guitar courses. Social proof is the most powerful way to trigger people's trust. What is the first impression your potential students receive?
Fellow guitar teacher, let me ask you something. You know what's happening in our daily lives every time we meet a new person, almost spontaneously?
We assess and criticize that person within seconds after our encounter. We'll 'scan' that person and look for clues on how we should respond to them.
A silly example of how our heuristics work:
- If the person is very attractive or well-dressed, you'll be likely to have interest to talk to them, even though you don't know much about them.
- If they are ok-looking, then probably you'll be a little biased towards talking to them, but you won't really stand back once the conversation keeps flowing.
- If the person's appearance is awful, you probably won't be interested in getting engaged in a conversation with them. You'll pass.
In a silly way, this is an easy analogy of how people get caught in this filtering process of every information they receive. It's a cognitive process which has nothing to do with the person providing the information.
It's just the way we are.
How can you benefit from this information as a guitar teacher in Live4Guitar?
Because there are certain ways that can help you boost the credibility your online courses emit. Let's dive into more details!
The most powerful way: Social proof
When students find themselves in an online course, they tend to bounce off in the first seconds of their visit. This is a perennial issue and a habitual behavior, which applies to everyone's web presence, regardless of the subject.
The issue is: you're a certified Live4Guitar teacher, so your course must be valuable. This shouldn't happen to you.
In order not to see potential students bouncing off your guitar course in the first 3 seconds, you should do something to avoid getting caught in this loophole.
This is a normal process:
A new student pops up on your course. They ask themselves:
- "Should I trust this course/instructor?"
- "Is this kind of music for me?"
- "Is it affordable?"
They're asking constant questions. Straight away they're looking for signs, scanning and skimming the course for 1-3''. It's not an elaborate process, it's rather a subconscious one. What our eyes are looking for is clues, called heuristics, that will trigger the 'trust center' of our brain. An easy rule of thumb to shortcut this identifying process is by asking another question:
- "What do other people think?"
This is probably the strongest trigger for our brain; it's called social proof.
In simple words, social proof is prominent evidence of existing engagement or association with someone's fame.
The scientific reason of why social proof works can be explained simply: researchers found that when people are unable to determine an appropriate mode of behavior, they make the safe assumption that other people are more informed than they are.
Most of the times we're stumbling upon new or novel situations. Therefore, we're looking for a few safe evidence of already existing engagement.
Visualized, we're looking for a situation like this.
The norm is that we don't want to be the ones to start the dance.
It's like seeing four people staring at the same direction in the sky, you can't help but stare as well. There might be nothing there, but you'll still look. Even if you don't look, the desire will be irresistible.
According to Milgram's experiment, typical results will cause 80% of all passengers to lift their gaze to the empty spot.
This is the power of social proof.
If it's that powerful, then how can you use it in your course to show credibility? There are numerous ways of highlighting social proof, but I'll share the most important ones with you here.
People are used to social media buttons. Plus, Facebook and Twitter made them easy to embed.
You can see that in every lesson in Live4Guitar, there are social buttons at the end of the course. If students find your course useful, encourage them to share the course with their friends.
Not only it will help more students find your course, it will also boost your credibility as a teacher. People will see social interaction. And there's nothing worse than a highlighted 'zero' in a Facebook button :)
Do you have thousands Facebook fans? Do you have massive following on Twitter? Or hundreds of students on your new shredding course!
These are numbers that can boost your credibility as a teacher.
In each instructor page, you can see on your left hand side the 'Instructor statistics' area. This is important and shows a lot about who you are.
The larger the number of followers/sales on your courses, the greater your credibility. In might sound obvious, but it's the truth: no-one will want to be your first student, unless you encourage them to do so.
Afterwards, when the numbers increase, students will consider your course as a safe option to join. It's been proven to work, and numbers show it!
The same with the Facebook and twitter profiles right underneath. If you have more Facebook followers, you will show more credible. The truth is, social media counters tell a lot about who you are and how much you appeal to people.
Association with fame
You might not be a worldwide recognizable guitar player, however a recent research reveals a completely legit way to make you look more famous than you are.
In simple words, this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22953693) mentions that simply by pairing a non-famous person next to a famous one, the first party can receive instant boost to their fame.
Well, fame might bring bad connotations at this point, but bear with me.
When you're dealing with students who don't know who you are, you need to find something as an anchor to build an instant connection with them. 3 seconds is all it takes.
Would you be more likely to join a guitar teacher that has a picture with Steve Vai next to him? Probably yes. At least that would make you have a look at his bio, because in your mind you've already built a connection.
Testimonials & Featured in
This is one of the most common ways of getting more credibility for your course. Have a famous person endorse your work and feature them on your course's blurb (after their permission, of course).
The testimonial works on your course as an influencer the students trust. That's enough to break their doubt whether they should take the course or not.
'Featured in' works the same way. The bigger the press/individual that mentioned or featured you, the more credible you appear to the students' eyes. See how that looks in action.
That's my 2 pence on social proof. It scientifically works, it works in action too. Give it a try.
What do you think about the subject? Do you use social proof as an instructor?
Leave a comment below and let's talk about it.
Photo credit: Andreas Photography