Social proof is a type of interaction-based evidence that enables your customers to explore your business through the feedback of other customers. Seeing the reviews and opinions of other satisfied customers helps to reassure your clients that your company is consistently making both pets and people happy. Using social proof, such as testimonials from happy customers, reviews, shares, likes, etc. on your company webpage, you can share the great things that your business is accomplishing with current and future clients!
HOW CAN SOCIAL PROOF HELP YOUR PET BUSINESS TO GROW?
Social proof can be a valuable tool to help your pet business grow, both by increasing awareness of your products and services and by branding your business-effectively separating you from the competition. According to BrightLocal – Local Consumer Review Survey, More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).
There are many different types of social proof that you can begin using today to effectively help your pet business grow, some examples are:
SHOW-OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING
The social media networks that your company may already be a part of such as: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok and many others can help to reassure your customers by showing them exactly how you present your company to the public and interact with your other clients. Online forums in which potential clients can see the content you find interesting, user-generated discussion and your responses create an element of trust with your consumer. Show your customers that you value their input. For example, by responding to comments, posting requested content and sharing updates, you establish yourself as a transparent business that is responsive to your customers’ needs and wants. Be aware of good social media etiquette, and make sure you understand what the biggest social media sins are!
BUT BE CAREFUL…
If the social media networks that your business currently utilizes are underused, perhaps due to a lack of time to manage your social media accounts (which happens to all of us!) you might consider a software for business management, like ProPet Software, that helps to easily increase your opportunities to share on social media with the click of a button. You do not want to show potential clients underused social media accounts, as it could imply that your business is not interested in communicating and sharing with your customers! Negative social proof could reflect that your business does not garner much attention, or that customers are not pleased with the experience that you provide-this hurts your reputation! It is generally the best practice to only post links to your social media networks if you spend a good amount of time attending to them and posting highly relevant and interesting content. If you’re currently wondering how your business might achieve a positive social proof through social media, read on!
DON’T BE CHEAP!
With your social media content that is. Try to post good content, and try to post it fairly frequently based on the medium that you are using. There are many studies on the web that suggest the best times and frequencies to post on social media to maximize visibility and reader engagement. Use recommendations on when to post as guidelines! Understanding when to post can dramatically increase the amount of people that see your content. You want your content to be highly related to your business, and you want to be involved. Do not cheat your customers out of the interesting content that you can provide! This sounds like a big task right? Fear not! There are also many guidelines that can help you to understand how to grow a solid social media following for your business and increase your social proof.
GET YOUR STORYTELLING HAT ON!
Tell your clients, current and future, about what is going on with your business. Did something great happen, are there new developments in your business, did you win an award? Tell your followers! Stories show your customers that your company is progressive and willing to share your successes. Your pet business stands out from the rest when you share important, humorous, or even sad (in moderation) events, as you are branding your company as more than just a business. Even the day-to-day exciting things that happen while running your operation, such as a funny event that left your staff rolling on the floor, can help to bolster your positive social proof. People enjoy relatable stories that allow them to connect with your business on a more personal level.
BONDING IS BEST
Speaking of trust, bond with your customer! In order to create a feeling of trust in your clients, they need to know that your business has people behind the operation. Your clients trust you to take the best care of their beloved pet(s), and using positive social proof to show them that you are the best company to fit their needs can do wonders for bringing in new clients. Involve your customers in your business through showing them the shares, likes, tweets, press articles, news coverage, member counts, etc. that make you great. Consider using real photos and names of the staff that runs your business, share fun content and business anecdotes -there’s nothing more attractive to pet lovers than real people taking care of their furry friends! By branding your business online as real customers are going to gravitate to you for their required services, as trust is a huge part of gaining more clients who love your services.
REVIEWS ARE VIEWS
If there’s a time for modesty, this is not it. Play up the success of your business by sharing Facebook, Yelp! and Google Reviews on social media. Use social media to post pictures of happy pets (used with their pet parents’ permission of course) to show how pleased your clients are with your services. Encourage your clients to submit reviews online using your Google Business Profile Short Name to add to the local listing that will appear next to the search results in Google when a prospective client searches your business. It is both easy and useful to add reviews and ensures that the first impression of your business is a positive one, but be warned-do not request a ton of reviews at once or Google could flag your website for not adhering to their guidelines. Request reviews a few at a time to make sure that your website keeps its stellar rating. Do not cheat your business out of the glowing reputation that it deserves for fear that you will appear too “braggy,” instead show off those reviews!
Customers will trust reviews from other customers more than any other type of validation that you can offer, so talk to your regular customers and sent them a link to write a review for you. Most often great customers will have no problem with sharing how much they love your business so that other people can love it too. And don’t forget to respond to all reviews. According to BrightLocal, 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews. 57% say they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.
SOCIAL PROOF AS THE GATEKEEPER
Now that we’ve gone over some different types of social proof and how to build up your social media networks, let’s talk about social proof as the gatekeeper to your business. The gatekeeper is the person or service that influences the purchasing decision of potential clients. Information about the company or service is gathered by the gatekeeper, who then chooses what to present to potential clients, largely influencing their decision to try the service or not. How can social proof act as the gatekeeper for your business? Positive reviews, comments, and social media shares show the potential client that your business is reputable and worthy of their trust, thus generating a positive push to try out your services. Think of the gatekeeper as a literal barrier between your business and a negative or non-existent reputation. Try to keep positive information passing through the gate and present it to your audience, hopefully influencing their decision to try out your business or services, or to validate their current status as a loyal client.
SO GO PROOF YOURSELF!
Using positive social proof can help your pet business to flourish and grow by showing the customer exactly how great you are. It creates interactions between your business and your clients, fostering openness and transparency. Be the business everyone is talking about and use positive social proof to your advantage!
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