Social proof can be an excellent way to establish trust and credibility for you and your pet sitting business. When we talk about social proof, we mean borrowing third-party influence to sway/persuade potential customers. Today, Erika & I will discuss the different types of social proof, the pro’s and con’s of each, and how you can use social proof to enhance your pet business!
Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is borrowing third-party influence to sway/persuade potential customers. Some examples of social proof would be Bella’s endorsement on Barketing.co, testimonials on your website from influencers, or even a testimonial from someone who had the same problem as a prospective customer that you solved for them. Social proof helps consumers connect to your business at an emotional level as well as gain trust and confidence, which then helps them make a purchasing decision. Genuine reviews on native platforms are the best. If friends and family have used your services and tell people how trustworthy you are and how they had peace of mind while away, that’s money right there!
What Is Negative Social Proof?
Negative social proof is something you NEVER want to use. It means that you don’t publicly bash another company. Focus on your pro’s and not other companies’ cons. Focus on why you need a professional pet sitter instead of why you shouldn’t use a tech company (i.e. Rover or Wag!). Be positive! The negativity towards a competitor can actually be damaging to you.
Six Types Of Social Proof
1. Mini Case Studies
This is when you tell a story that hits potential clients emotionally. Did you save someone’s house from a flood? Maybe you stopped a break-in? Did you go above and beyond? Do your daily dog walks keep dogs healthier? You’ll want to talk about the outcome the customer had with you and what the outcome would have been without your services. If you have facts to back it up, that’s even better! Mini case studies are an especially powerful tool for dog trainers.
This is when you ask your clients to reviews your services on websites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews! A happy client will happily write you a review. Be sure to add a link to review websites in your thank you emails that you send out post-service. Use these reviews on your website and add them to your social media strategy (with the clients’ permission of course!). Be sure to use images when you’re posting on your website and to link to the original review to show it’s real. Feature your happy customers on your website. This can also display what type of pets you accept (and if you offer retail, this is a great tool!). You’ll never, ever want to use fake testimonials or review your own services. Use quotes that are short, specific about the value of your service/product, include a picture, and make sure they match your buyer personas!
3. Social Media
When customers share your business with their Facebook friends or on Instagram, that is another form of social proof! Monitor and save all of this positive promotion (can you say free marketing!?). Encourage social proof on social media by posting photos of pets in your care and tagging/telling their pet parents. There’s a good chance they will share the photos so make sure you add your watermark! Encourage sharing. Other ways social media can serve as social proof is through a referral program, leveraging local Facebook groups, encouraging geotagging on Instagram, adding social sharing icons to your blog posts, and finding ambassadors that will recommend you to their friends, family, and groups on social media!
4. Trust Icons
Trust icons are a form of social proof that makes sense sometimes but not always. If you have special certifications, won an award, or were mentioned in a well-known publication, this can help boost social proof. Do you have recommendations from a trusted Vet, real estate agent, or divorce lawyer? Publish them and play it up to your advantage! Use quotes from influencers (that your customers know) about the importance of professional pet sitting. If you have any media mentions or even a celebrity client that endorses you, that could be huge. Try to think like your customer and ask yourself if it would influence your buying decision (i.e. Chamber of Commerce might not impact your decision but being certified in Pet CPR or being insurance and bonded just might!)
A single number can be worth a thousand words. What makes you stand out? Have you walked over 100,000 dogs? That shows something – experience! More examples would be 25,000 tired dogs when parents get back from holiday vacations, being a top-ranked service for the past 10 years, an official service provider for the airport, or helping avoid euthanization of 153 dogs because you trained them from aggressive to pet-friendly.
6. Other Social Proof Ideas
Promoting limited availability can be a great tool. Using language like “only a few spots left for the long weekend!” This shows you are an in-demand service and instantly increases your reputation. Waiting lists also make your service sound exclusive. You can also ask your clients to send post-service videos or photos to show a job well done (or change in behavior). Last but not least, use urgency, fear of missing out (FOMO), and time clickers for special offers
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