When it comes to home improvement, clients only want the best pros working on their houses. However, letting a stranger into your home can be a daunting prospect – regardless of their skill set. This is why social proof is a critical factor in the hiring process.
As a home service provider, you can leverage social proof to generate more business. Here’s what you should know to get more out of this marketing technique.
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that people adapt their behavior to match the behavior of others. In psychology, the concept comes down to influence. If friends give a service provider the thumbs up, consumers are more likely to engage that person themselves.
If a website contains a glowing testimonial from a household name, that’s another example of social proof. Marketing professionals use this idea to spark interest around products or services.
In the home service industry, professionals can use social proof to legitimize their businesses and help clients feel more confident. When a client sees that past customers have had a positive experience, they will be more likely to seek out the service themselves.
The internet has made social proof increasingly accessible. Websites like Angi allow customers to research and vet potential home contractors. Home service providers have their profiles on the website where they can showcase their work and maintain credibility. Such platforms keep multiple types of social proof in one place.
What Are the Types of Social Proof ?
Every industry has unique sources of social proof. Beauty brands might benefit from celebrity endorsements, for example. The home service industry focuses on a few key areas, including project examples, customer service, and value.
Here are some types of social proof that home service professionals should emphasize.
In 2021, every business should prioritize online testimonials. These public-facing reviews act as personal recommendations, even between strangers. A positive review shows that you provided excellent work and service for a customer, which serves to legitimize your business.
And negative reviews? While hopefully rare, not-so-happy customers offer an opportunity for home service providers to respond professionally. Potential customers will see your customer service skills in action. They’ll also see that you’re not cherry-picking your site’s reviews, which will increase your transparency and, thus, credibility.
Remember, the more customer reviews you have, the better. A large collection of testimonials will make your business appear more trustworthy than a less-reviewed competitor. So it’s worth reaching out to clients to solicit reviews for your website, Google Business page, and sites like Angi.
Some businesses even offer incentives for leaving reviews, so consider whether a discount or freebie would resonate with your client base.
While online reviews pique interest, customer referrals are often a more direct source of leads. Home service professionals need to go beyond asking customers to tell their friends. You need to reward your clients for doing so.
Referral programs can be a powerful form of social proof. Your existing customers do the marketing legwork for you and receive a perk in exchange. This could be an item for their home or a discount on future services, for example.
As for the new customer, they might receive a discount as well. The key is to create a referral program that fits your brand and target market.
Social Media References
Home service providers may struggle to find the time to update their social media pages. However, these platforms can be excellent sources of social proof. Consistently posting and interacting with customers shows that you’re an active and responsive business.
Apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter give potential customers a glimpse into your day-to-day work. As a bonus, you can highlight posts and interactions with your customers. For example, if a happy customer posts a photo of their new floors on their Instagram story, you can share it on your own.
Staying on top of this content is a key way to maintain social proof for your business. Respond to comments regularly, keep up with your direct messages, and funnel customers to the proper service channels. And of course, show your face. Customers want to see who will be entering their homes.
Even if you have a steady stream of business, you still need to maintain an up-to-date online portfolio. Photos are a classic form of social proof. These images not only demonstrate the full scope of your services, but the quality of them as well.
There are a few ways to get more out of your project portfolio. First, home service providers should take clear and high-quality photographs of their jobs. Before and after images are excellent for putting results into context.
You should also consider placing online testimonials next to the corresponding images on your website. Reading a review from a real customer and seeing impressive results may be the deciding factors for a potential client.
Posting portfolio images on your website, social media pages, and third-party websites will help you reach a wider audience. Just be sure to replace the old with the new as you grow your business and improve your skills. Your outdated project photos might not represent the caliber of your current work.
Certifications are the golden tickets of the home service industry. These certificates show that you took the extra step to legitimize your skill set. And in some cases, they show that you can legally provide services. This verification will make customers feel more comfortable allowing you into their homes.
Home service providers can obtain a wide variety of certifications. The Green Business Certification (LEED) and OSHA safety certifications are just two common examples. It’s worth checking the certifications your competitors hold so you can aim to meet or exceed them.
Remember, obtaining the certifications is only one half of the process. You also have to display them on your website and other online profiles. These details could be another deciding factor for a customer, so highlight your certifications wherever possible.
As a home service business, you’re providing services that are potentially costly and difficult to reverse. Your customers need to know that you’ll deliver on this process.
This is why trust is a critical component of your client relationships. You need to use all available channels to show that you’re a legitimate business that will provide high-quality results. The above forms of social proof, among others, will help you do so.