#03: Automating Your Social Proof

Jul 19, 2023
7 Min Read


Hello again!

In the last issue of Automated Growth, we explored the fascinating world of AI-assisted buyer personas.

Today, let's focus on another critical aspect of growing your business…

Social proof.

A Quick Primer on Social Proof

If you've ever been swayed by reviews, testimonials, celebrities, influencers, or even a crowd of people eagerly waiting outside a store, you've been influenced by social proof.

It's a powerful force - but harnessing it efficiently can be tricky.

Fortunately, automation can help.

Over the past decade and a half of building companies, I've seen the transformative impact of social proof first-hand.

One of the more extreme examples I’ve seen happened during our Series A fundraising round for a company I was running between 2019 and 2022, GrowFlow, which was acquired by Dama Financial in February of 2022.

Despite having awesome numbers, we couldn’t seem to crack the code on securing a lead investor because - while we were a software company - we were serving a highly-regulated sector with many risks (cannabis).

I had over 200 conversations and had dozens of funds riding the fence until the first one decided to jump in.

After they did, we got at least a dozen funds asking if they could write us a check the next day, and well over a hundred more reached out cold over the next few years.

All it took was that first reputable fund to jump in and show their peers that it was safe to do so - and a flood of fast-followers jumped in.

It might seem different, but fundraising is much like selling a product to a customer.

The only real difference is the product you’re selling is your stock, and the customer is a VC fund.

At the end of the day, these are humans making decisions - and humans are influenced heavily by social proof.

But how can you automate the collection AND display of social proof?

Let's dive in.

Two Types of Reviews

There are two types of reviews I like, and they each serve a VERY different purpose:

  1. Testimonials - why the user loves your stuff

  2. Feedback - ways you can improve

Let’s start with feedback.

Feedback - especially negative feedback - is critical when refining your product.

Figure out what pisses off your users, what they’re craving that you’re not providing, and what isn’t working that needs to.

Then, go fix it as quickly as you can.

Be sure to let everybody that provided that feedback know - and they’ll be sure to provide you with more.

I’m a massive HubSpot fan, and I recommend using their automated workflows to collect NPS scores from customers on day 7, day 30, and day 90.

Anybody who responds with a score under an 8 should get dropped into another automated workflow asking one simple question…

What would need to be true for you to give us a 10?

You can automate this using an email, SMS, or on-page campaign (and here is a great blog post showing you how), though early on, I would recommend phone calls.


From the blog post referenced above. See how your detractors get dumped into one workflow, your passives in another, and your promoters in a third?

This might be a massive generalization, but I will say it anyway because I’ve yet to see it disproven…

The more time you spend having 1:1 conversations with real customers…

…the faster you can take action based on the patterns you identify…

…and the faster you’ll grow.

This is literal gold.

Okay, maybe it’s figurative. But definitely do it as if it WERE literal gold.

Using the HubSpot workflow above to harvest feedback from your NPS detractors and passives is an excellent move for founders, growth teams, and product teams.

But what about those promoters?

Automated Testimonial Collection

I love this workflow because it allows me to ask for testimonials from the people I’m pretty positive will give me a great review I can broadcast to the world.

The tool I love to do this is

Screenshot 2023-07-02 at 3.16.57 PM

This simple but powerful SaaS tool integrates with quite a few other tools - and integrates with Zapier for those it doesn’t natively integrate with.

There’s a review collection widget inside the tool that’s accessible with a link - which can be sent right to your NPS promoters right after they’ve given you a great score.

These appear on your “Wall of Love” that you can embed on a native page on your site.

This page can become a core part of your customer journey for the pragmatists on the fence who need to see a bit more before making a decision.

You can pull these testimonials from social media and third-party review sites like Trustpilot and G2

…but my favorite place to pull them from is actually inside your product.

Other Ways to Automate Testimonial Collection

Some years ago now, Jonah Berger wrote a great book called Contagious.

In his book, he talks about the use of high-arousal emotions to make products spread.

A few examples are…

  • Elation

  • Fury

  • Hilarity

  • Fear


These are BIG emotions - and they’re so big they often spark immediate action.

If, within your product, you can pinpoint the moments in your customer journey most likely to spark high-arousal POSITIVE emotions, these are the perfect moments to ask for a testimonial.

These are often referred to as “aha moments.”

Pinpointing these “aha moments” allows you to…

  • Embed the testimonial collection wizard right then and there on the page

  • Send an email to the users who didn’t provide a review right then and there on the page to ask again

  • Follow up with those who STILL didn’t provide you with one down the road when they experience another “aha moment.”


Here’s a snapshot of a pretty long Wall of Love from a client of mine, OnePitch:

Screenshot 2023-07-02 at 3.16.08 PM

It becomes pretty difficult to doubt the efficacy of a product when you see a LITERAL giant wall of glowing reviews and testimonials speaking to how awesome it is.

Bonus “Thank You” Automation

If you’re a HubSpot nutcase like me, you may want to try another automation to thank the users who provide you with glowing testimonials that will act as social proof and improve your conversions.

I like SwagUp for this.

  1. Use a review as a trigger in a HubSpot workflow.

  2. Send a message to the user who provided the review, telling them you’d like to thank them for the love.

  3. In that message, send them your SwagUp link via their Zapier integration.

  4. Give them 2-3 affordable options (there are many to choose from, but I like mugs because they’re less likely to be tossed or stuffed in a drawer).

  5. They’ll enter their address info, and SwagUp will charge your card on file.

That’s it.

And trust me - when you do things like this, you’ll turn a fan into an acolyte.

That’s all for today.

Stay hungry.

- Travis Steffen


If you’re hungry for more, you can…

  1. Connect with me on LinkedIn

  2. Follow me on Instagram

  3. Follow me on Twitter

I share more bite-sized nuggets about starting, growing, and selling companies every single day.

Keep Your Growth Tools Sharpened with my Weekly GrowthDay Newsletter

Once per week on Wednesday, I’ll share my top growth philosophies, tactics, tips, hacks, and lessons learned building, growing, and selling 8 companies - and what I’m doing to build, grow, and sell the next one.