05: Social Proof

Social proof is one of your most important marketing assets. Your POTENTIAL clients are more likely to trust someone else… who was once like them… looking for the service or product that you offer. Social proof is so important because it directly influences your potential customer’s actions.

Our Big 3 Takeaways

Social Proof might be your most important marketing asset.

Word of mouth referrals have always been the best source of social proof for small businesses. Social media and search engines have allowed us to add another layer to this important marketing vehicle — and with a layer of permanence attached. This means social proof has moved beyond just being a here-and-there marketing lucky clover and into the realm of a critical marketing asset.

Social proof needs to be mindfully cultivated and harvested.

Your happy customers/clients are often willing to provide you with the social proof you need — but it’s time consuming and, sometimes, confusing. As a good steward of your business, you should put into place a system for encouraging customers to provide you with social proof in the places it will best serve your business — and then help them as much as possible accomplish fulfillment.

Develop good social proof listening skills and tracking.

Developing and implementing a good social proof system means having places customers can provide social proof; asking for social proof via email and in person with “make it stupid simple” steps laid out in advance; and engaging with consumers who provide social proof to bolster the experience.

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Show Notes

On this episode, Cara and Kim talk in depth about social proof. What is social proof and why does YOUR animal, pet or equine-based business need it? Animal-based business owners are more than happy to “talk up” their businesses and share the great service or product they offer with all who they come in contact with. However, when other people share their experience with a business it carries so much more weight! In this episode you will discover: the four main types of social proof available to your business; how to mindfully cultivate and harvest social proof; how to develop good social proof listening and tracking skills; and tips to develop your very own social proof plan.


Mentioned in the episode:

Be More Business

Fast Horse Photography


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Transcripts are autogenerated and may contain typographical and grammar errors. This transcript is copyright©2021 Kimberly Beer and Cara Taylor Swift. DO NOT COPY in whole or part without written permission.

Open the Transcript

Jaz 0:01
Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast, with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.

Kimberly Beer 0:23
Hi there, everyone and welcome to The Business Animal I’m Kim with Be More Business.

Cara Taylor Swift 0:28
And I’m Cara Taylor Swift with Fast Horse Photography.

Kimberly Beer 0:30
And today’s episode is dedicated to social proof. So social proof is that really important marketing asset that you may or may not be thinking about every single day. And we would like to get you to really mindfully Think about your social proof how you can improve it, how you can cultivate it, and how you can take this asset out there into the world and really use it to make more sales and more impact with your business. Now, we always have a big three here at The Business Animal. Cara, do you want to give the big three this morning?

Cara Taylor Swift 1:05
Yeah, definitely, we’re going to talk about how social proof needs to be mindfully cultivated and harvested and that developing social proof listening skills and tracking is very important. I don’t know about you, Kim. But as a animal based business owner, I’m usually pretty happy to talk about my business. And I my guess is, is there’s a lot of people out there that like to talk about their business as well and how they serve animal owners and animals themselves. And we know we offer this great service and product, we’re happy to share that information with anyone that we come in contact. But I think when other people talk or share about our business, it carries so much more weight, your potential. And I’m saying that in all caps, because it’s it is about your potential clients, they’re more likely to trust someone else who was once like them out there looking for the service or the product that you offer. So I really feel like that’s why social proof is so important because it really directly influences your potential customers actions.

Kimberly Beer 2:01
Absolutely. And the important thing to remember is that social proof is just the modern version of what we’ve always called in small business as word of mouth marketing, right? If you are interested in purchasing a item, a product or a service, and you have a friend who has that same need, and you go to them, and you say, hey, do you have any recommendations, and they give you a company name, chances are you as the consumer aren’t even going to look any further, you’re not going to do any more research, you’re just going to say, hey, my friend, Betty knows this company, I’m going to go work with them. And as a small business owner, or if you’re the company that Betty worked with, then you get super excited, because hey, that’s something that you being in business is enough, right? You don’t have to go out and pay for a lot of advertising and do a lot of stuff to get that customers business that Betty just sent you.

Cara Taylor Swift 2:56
Absolutely. I mean, we’re parents over here at my house. And we’ve got a seven year old and we get maybe one night out a month where my husband and I can go and have dinner together if we’re lucky. And so I’m not picking a restaurant without going online and picking the one that has 900 reviews and a five star rating because I get one opportunity to spend my money on my night out and have a good experience. And I want to know that people that have gone before me are happy. I mean, do we purchase things that have zero reviews and minimal proof out there that they’re a real company?

Kimberly Beer 3:28
No. So we either as consumers, we feel better about buying if somebody tells us that it’s okay. Or if we see other people have actually gone and done that and had a successful experience. And we also tend to look for, you know, did anybody have a problem? Did anybody get sick eating at that restaurant? Or did they not like that service? or What did the company do when that happened. And so it’s a whole lot of looking at how other people experience a business. And being able to determine as a consumer, which business you’re going to choose from the competitors in that particular space based upon that social proof that is provided. And again, there’s that friend who will give the recommendation. But with internet and with Google and social media, and all of those things, you have all of this big open area for creating social proof that you didn’t have before. Like it was really hard to pay off that friend to tell the friend but now we have all these avenues where we can encourage our clients and customers that are happy to go leave good and positive reviews. The downside to our society is that we only tend to leave things we’re upset about. So as a business owner, you need to cultivate this you need to see it as an asset and you need to get out there and actually ask people for positive reviews so that they show up so people will want to use your product or service. So what does it mean in real terms? So we have a list to carry you want to Do the list.

Cara Taylor Swift 5:00
Sure I’ll work my way through their list. Kim and I have really spent a lot of time thinking about all of the different types of social proof that are out there. And the first one probably the most obvious is testimonials. So either written or video testimonials, and I know Kim’s got some great stuff to talk about in terms of video soon. Also, think about the reviews like Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, any place where there’s a review option or a five star option, podcast review, Hint, Hint, folks. stars, please linked in recommendations, likes, comments and shares on your social media pages follows subscribers case studies.

Kimberly Beer 5:39
Another shameless plug. Yeah, hit that subscribe button.

Cara Taylor Swift 5:44
Case studies, even things like your website, which you created is still social proof Google search results analytics from your website from your social media screenshots. This is one that has come up to me recently, things like when your client sends you a text message. And they’re like raving about something that you did for them positive online messages that you get, you know, of course, you’re going to want to share those with permission, but you should be collecting those things and holding on to them. And then we’re going to go into details about this other section at some point as the expert. So featured profiles, public relations, that type of thing. So that’s a real list. And we’re going to dig a little deeper.

Kimberly Beer 6:22
Yep. And so let’s take that list and divided out into four main types of social proof. There’s proof that’s provided by your customer. So these are Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, there anything that your customer has to be the one who inputs it, there’s a lot of reviews out in the world today that require the customer to be the person who is logged in to leave that review. And that’s done to protect you one so that we can track that in to so they unscrupulous businesses are not out there, like manufacturing, fake social proof. So this puts a layer not to say that that’s not possible. But it does put a layer to it that says that these are real people, and they thought Enough of your business in your company to go and actually actively leave a review. So that’s type one, type two is gathered by you. So this is gathered by the business. And this type of proof is where you’re going to be the one that asked for the testimonial, and you write it down or video. And again, I’ll give you a technique here in a moment to get that done. And you’re the one who gathers it and then you type it up, you may edit it with their approval, of course, and then you’re going to publish it where you want it to be, you’re going to put it on your website, you’re going to put it out there as a video on your YouTube channel, however you want to go about it, then the third type is in the wild. So this is where your customer goes and talks about you and your business and their experience without necessarily having any connection to your business. So an example of this would be let’s say, carrot delivers a package of photography to a client. And then the client has a framed portrait in there and she hangs the portrait up on her wall. And she takes a picture of it and posts The picture on her Facebook page saying how happy she is with the image that was completely unsolicited by Kara. It’s not in any formal channel like a Google review or a Facebook review or a LinkedIn recommendation. But it’s still social proof. It’s that clients social connections that are going to see that post. And so it is social proof for Kara and it’s out in the wild and Kara may or may not know that it happens. And then the final type, which we’re going to cover on another episode of The Business Animal because we want to stay focused on consumer related social proof is the authority piece. This is where you get magazines to do articles on you or you guest blog on somebody else’s blog or you are a guest on a podcast, all of that kind of stuff, public relations, feature profiles purchased social proof that we’ll cover in a different episode. So there’s four types, and we’re going to be talking more in depth about three.

Cara Taylor Swift 9:07
So I just wanted to give a brief kind of funny example about social proof from the wild that happened to me last year. So I photographed a client and we created a large piece for their house and hung it in their home. And immediately after they put their house up for sale. And they had clients walking through potential buyers walking through their home and they asked about that large piece on the wall. So once the house sold to this couple, they contacted me because they remember that piece to have a similar piece created of their horses for their home. So it was such a fun example of how you’re in the wild. You don’t really have any control over it, but you never know who’s like you said standing at the fence talking to their neighbor about your business. So I just thought that was a really funny example about your work as a business owner out in the wild and what happens

Kimberly Beer 9:55
Absolutely, and that happens a lot. It happens a lot more than you would think and The truth is, is that that person is got like a 90% chance of coming and working with you, it’s a really, really high probability of a sale for your business, when that type of social proof happens, each one of these levels of social proof has some impact to it. So it makes a big difference when they’re researching who they want to work with. Where as the gathered social proof is really impactful when it comes to making a sales or marketing decision. This gathered social proof, it could be case studies, that kind of stuff. That’s really important when the consumer is actually making the buying decision. So it’s very important to have it kind of staged in that place. The Wild is wild. It’s out there. And it’s sort of random. It’s it is the wild card in your marketing deck, and we’ll get you the sale pretty immediately.

Cara Taylor Swift 10:52
Yeah, those are the folks that in my experience are usually by the time they contact my business, they’re already sold.

Kimberly Beer 10:58
Yep. Now, what you may have gathered by taking this little bit of a deep dive into understanding social proof. And what an asset it is for your business is that this may be something you want to do more of that you want to get a better focus on in your business. And that’s our point number two, which is social proof needs to be mindfully cultivated and harvested customers love you. I think there’s no doubt I get lots of brags I get lots of people telling me, you know, hey, you really helped my business. I had a beautiful session in my group on Monday, where one of my group participants told me how much I had changed her attitude towards writing blog posts, and it was huge, and it was beautiful. And it’s up to me as a business owner, that if I want to cultivate that, that I asked, Hey, could you write that down for me? Or can you send me an email with that? Or can I rewrite it and send it back to you for approval. So you have to cultivate this, it’s great to get those compliments, but the compliments will do your business, so much empowerment if you take a few minutes to really mindfully harvest those and to cultivate more of them by asking questions asking for feedback, asking people to be involved in providing you with social proof. So what does that mean in real terms, strategically, it means developing and implementing a system for this. And tactically, it means setting up the places that your customers can provide social proof than asking for that social proof with keep it stupid, simple, that KISS principle, keep it stupid, simple steps laid out for them to provide it and then engaging with customers who provide the social proof to bolster their experience, encourage them to do it again. So Cara, how do you encourage social proof in your business.

Cara Taylor Swift 12:54
A lot of different ways I go out and actively look for it. But when I’m trying to cultivate it and get existing clients or clients that we’re kind of at the end of our current process together, I do a couple things, I talked to them verbally about it, the fact that I’m going to be requesting a testimonial, and then I communicate with them in the system that they have proven is their best way to communicate. So if it’s text messaging, or email, then I send them the actual request for a testimonial with a few leading questions to kind of get them rolling and thinking about it. And then I try to make it as easy as possible by directing them to the spot that I really want the testimonial to go maybe give them one, maybe two options, depending upon how tech savvy I think they are. And then I have the third thing I do is a follow up, I send a written thank you note to all my clients and have something personal about their experience. And then I usually mentioned it there as well, if it hasn’t happened already.

Kimberly Beer 13:49
Nice. And you had a very important point in there that I’d like for you to elaborate a little bit on where you mentioned that you ask them some leading questions. And there’s a motivation behind that. Can you explain why you ask them leading questions?

Cara Taylor Swift 14:06
Yeah, I think it’s important to point out that, you know, not all social proof is created equally, your social proof really needs to address the direct concerns that the folks that you hope to work with one day your potential clients might have. So social proof that actually speaks to your process that speaks to what you do, the way that your product works, or how you were to work with to me would be weighted heavier than a testimonial, for example, and I’m sure we all get these and they’re wonderful and we’re happy to get them but they don’t mean as much in terms of how you can use them something like I love working with Kara at fast horse photography. Thanks Kara. I love it and it makes me feel amazing to get it but in terms of practical uses for that in social proof that doesn’t tell my potential clients much other than that I was fun to work with right or that I’m a cool person to hang around with. Not that it doesn’t speak to my system. My process and how I met the needs that that client had. So having some leading questions in there that are directed towards them talking about the experience, and the parts of it that were really helpful and successful for them makes a big difference in the types and quality of social proof that you can pull from that.

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Kimberly Beer 16:04
One of the biggest push backs that I think consumers have in leaving reviews, and I think we can all get in tune with this as consumers ourselves is that it’s really hard to think sometimes of what you want to write. So if the business helps you by asking some leading questions around feedback, or providing you with some information about what you might include, it will take you if you are so inclined, that is majorly helpful to the person that is writing the review, they’re able to do it from a place of feeling confident about what they’re putting in there. Because a lot of times I think the I love working with you review is really I don’t know what else to say, you know, I had this great experience, I had a lot of benefits from it. But how do I put that in words, and frankly, I’m a busy person and don’t have two hours to sit and write your business or review. So anything you can do to help people to get from point A to point B easily is really, really important. So I want to put out there that you need to have a plan for all of this, you need to have a plan for asking, you need to kind of think around those corners for your customers on what leading questions do you want to ask? And how do you want to set this up. So the first step in all of that is you got to have the places where people can leave reviews. So if you don’t have a Google My Business listing, and you want Google reviews, it’s not going to happen, you need to get those things set up. So if you want Google reviews, you have to have a Google My Business listing available for people to click the button. And to leave you the reviews. If you have an e commerce store, you have to click the option for people to leave reviews and stars on your products. So that’s a necessity is to set those places up. If you want Facebook reviews, you have to have a Facebook page, right? Then you need to implement a strategy for asking, you need to know where in social proof land that you’re going to have the most impact. So if you are a business, that’s a local business, your biggest impact is probably going to be on Google. So you want to try to encourage people to leave you a Google review, because that’s where your new consumers are going to be the most likely to come into contact with you for the first time. And those are the first set of reviews that they’re going to see if you are a service oriented business that works primarily off of referrals, then your website, those longer testimonials, the more in depth stuff, that’s probably going to be more impactful for the people coming to you. So you want to concentrate on getting that type of social proof. So you have to ask yourself, where is it most impactful.

Cara Taylor Swift 18:42
I would just add to the website piece, it’s less important than number of testimonials that you have, and more important to have 234 really good testimonials that really speak to your process. So don’t feel like you have to have this page that’s dedicated to testimonials with just a running updated constantly list of testimonials. That’s not necessarily what your potential clients are looking for. But having a few that are really put together well and speak to your process is better.

Kimberly Beer 19:11
Yeah, and it doesn’t take a lot the types of businesses that are listening to this podcast most likely or not like a restaurant, the more reviews it has with five stars, the more likely the client is to come. Our businesses are a little bit different. They’re intentionally smaller, you don’t need to compete with that type of a business, right? Where you have to have hundreds of reviews, a few really good ones will be just perfectly fine. And you’ll build this social proof over time. I mean, that’s something we’re all building as we’re moving through all of the technology and changes that are coming about implement your strategy for asking for that and knowing where it’s going to be impactful. Now when you go to make your ask make it absolutely packed to that KISS principle keep it stupid, simple. So Google, if you’re wanting more Google reviews, Google has a link that they will give you. And that’s what you put in your email. When you ask for the review. If you want it on your Facebook page, give them a link directly to your Facebook page. And here’s another hint, Facebook has a review link. And you can go right onto your Facebook page and click on it and it will substitute your business name in, you can google how to get more Facebook reviews, and it’ll tell you exactly how to get that link and how to utilize it. So you want to make it absolutely simple. If you have an e commerce website and you’re wanting to collect more reviews, put a pop up on the website or make it more obvious or asked at checkout or email is my favorite way to get reviews, asking the email that follows up with a client just make it really simple for people to do it. I am an advocate for pick one. One avenue that you want to do one takes a lot of the decision out of it. So if you pick for that specific customer or your type of business, what would be the best type of review and then ask for one because I think anytime you add more than one choice, you reduce the amount of compliance that you’re going to get from the person on the other end, when it comes to implementing a strategy for gathered social proof. capture it in the moment is my big piece of advice. So a lot of times and I don’t know, I’m sure this happens to you Kara, people will tell me in person, you know, Hey, Kim, thank you so much for it tends to be after our class, right, there’ll be like I learned just so much in that class and what you were talking about, I really have been experiencing that. And then they’ll start going on about exactly what impact it just had on them. And it’s amazing, and I’m never gonna get that again. Right, they’re gonna walk out of that classroom, and that’s gone. So if I’m a savvy business owner, when this happens, I have my smartphone with me, I need to whip that smartphone out. And I need to capture this moment in time so that I can utilize it later. So there’s, there’s a tactful way to do that, and then not so tactful way to do it. So I’m going to give you my tactful way, when the person comes up to you and starts telling you how wonderful you are. Let them go on for a moment until there’s a natural stopping place and say, you know, hey, I am really trying to build my business and what you just said it warms my heart. And I think it would really help other people be able to get the same benefit that you just got, would you mind if I just really quickly filmed what you said so that I record it here. So I have your words captured, I won’t use the video, if you don’t want me to, I’ll even get your email and send you a copy before I publish it. But can I go ahead and record it, then get your phone out and pointed at them. And they’re going to look like a deer in the headlights, they’re going to be like, I just forgot everything good about you. Because you pointed a camera at me. That’s okay. Whatever they said, ask them a question about it. Cara, for example, if you deliver pictures and frames and the person is carry on about how beautiful the images and how they’re so excited, they’re going to get to hang it in their hallway, and they can’t wait for their mother in law to see it and blah, blah, blah, say, you know, you just were telling me how excited you were to hang this in a place in your home, can you go back to that moment and tell me more at that moment, you’re going to get the best testimonial ever, and you have it captured and then go home, translate it. If they’re great on video and translate, then you have a video testimonial. And you may even be able to capture a headshot because there’s little pictures on website testimonials are so good, you might be able to have that as well. So work with your customers ask take that moment when you’re getting all of those accolades and turn that into an opportunity to get the next sale and to also also go back and be really thankful for who you are in your business and how much impact you’re making on the world. So take a moment to bask in that.

Cara Taylor Swift 23:49
Can I ask you we’re talking about that video in terms of if your client says, Yeah, you can use this video, can you tell me how you would use that? Like, where would you host that or put that.

Kimberly Beer 23:58
What I would do is maybe a highlight reel video. This is what I did for my speaking testimonials. I took those from the people who hosted me as a speaker, I took all of the recordings that I made, and I made them into a reel, not an Instagram reel. But I could do that I guess and that would be a use for it right put it on an Instagram reel, but I actually put it in a reel and then post it on YouTube. And then when someone is interested in having me become a speaker or when I’m applying at expos, I send them that because it’s all the people talking about what an impact I made on the audience and how much they enjoyed working with me and I was professional and you know, all of those things that speaking coordinators are like, yeah, we want that person. Right. So yeah, I just looped it together. You also could take it, translate it and put it on your website in text. You could put it in little video clips on your website so people could watch it. I mean, there’s a ton of places that you can put a post on social media. there’s a there’s a ton of places.

Cara Taylor Swift 25:00
I just I just love that and with the way that video right now is just being so pushed in terms of marketing and social media and stuff like that, I just love that idea of being able to add that video element to your testimonials.

Kimberly Beer 25:12
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a great idea. And you know, it’s not just you who, in your business, if you have employees, they may run into this moment where people are bragging about the business, and you need to get them into the mindset that they need to capture this as well. So it’s a technique you can teach other people within your business.

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The next step in this plan is utilize that social proof which we’ve kind of covered a little bit here, but you know, anywhere in everywhere where you can spread the happiness. So to speak out into the world is a great place for you to do so anywhere where you can figure where you’d make any kind of impact on helping a potential consumer purchase for the first time or reminding your current consumers or customers that you’re still there, you still provide a great service. And boy, wouldn’t it be nice if they could have that experience again, and then the final piece of that strategy needs to be a engagement strategy. So when people leave you social proof, you can’t stop even when it’s something like I love you Cara, you know, respond back all of the social proof avenues, allow you for the provided ones allow you to respond back to that customer and say thank you for your business, or I’m so glad to see that or I’m just so thrilled with your success. So be gracious and be grateful you get to make that response.

Cara Taylor Swift 27:11
If you get one of those testimonials that’s like way to go. I loved working with you. Thank you so much. And responding could be a way to garner a little more information from that testimonial. So asking something like thank you so much for leaving this testimonial. Can you tell me how you are enjoying your artwork right now? Or, you know, just asking a little kind of targeted engagement question to follow up so that when people are looking through their reviews, they can see the rest of the story.

Kimberly Beer 27:40
That is a really smart way to turn I love Cara into a valuable, more valuable review. Now some of you are probably going, what do I do, because I’m going to put myself out there and people are going to leave me bad reviews. And that’s why the engagement part is such an important part of your strategy. Because if you’re actively engaging with your social proof with the reviews and the things that people leave out there in the world for you, you will be more cognizant when something negative or even mediocre comes along. And this is your opportunity to prove to potential and new customers that you know how to do customer service, right respond, my first recommendation is to respond publicly and to get the conversation private. So what you want to do if you’ve gotten a negative review, or you’ve gotten a complaint in a social proof area is immediately respond publicly so people can see that you are actively listening to your consumers and that you’re willing to work with them, then get that conversation offline as soon as possible. So get it into a phone call, preferably or at least into a messaging device so that you’re able to get the problem solved. Because if you have a person who is actively causing problems on your social media or in your social proof, you really need to work hard to resolve that issue. If it’s a legitimate issue, do what you need to do. If it’s not a legitimate issue, most people will figure it out. Okay.

Cara Taylor Swift 29:09
And sometimes there’s miscommunication around the way that you leave the reviews. I had an example from a couple years ago where someone left a review on my page and she left a one star review and then underneath it she said absolutely loved every bit of working with you bla bla bla and I messaged her and I was you know, and I said thank you so much, you know for your kind words, can you let me know why I received a one star I would love to improve my service, something along those lines. And she said I thought one star was the good one.

Kimberly Beer 29:39
I’ve had that same review.

Cara Taylor Swift 29:41
Yeah, so I said underneath, you know, oh, thank you so much for letting me know we’re gonna count this as a five star. If you can change it. That would be great. That would be awesome. But even though that may or may not have ever happened, I think you know, maybe it was someone that had not a lot of time on the computer in school. level. So, you know, at least when someone goes, I don’t know about you all, sometimes I’ll go and look at reviews, and I’ll go look at the five stars, and then I’ll go right to the one stars to see. Yeah, the complaint I do do when does that then right? You’re gonna do that. So if someone does that, they can go and say, Oh, well, that wasn’t a one star. I mean, you know, that actually was, that was a five. So. So you know, responding to the good and the bad is huge. And you really never know what’s going to come out of that.

Kimberly Beer 30:25
No. And then if you do, if you do have the bad review, and you get the issue resolved, then at that point is really important as the business owner to ask that person and say, you know, legitimately, reviews are a big, big deciding factor for somebody working with me. And I feel like we’ve resolved your issue to a satisfactory point for you. And if we haven’t, keep working, but now that we have it resolved, could I ask you to please go back and either alter your review, or leave a response with your experience with the company and like you care other people do go look at the one star reviews, and they see what the complaints are. And if they see that you’re responsive, they’re really obvious when people are leaving hater reviews. And when people have a legitimate complaint, and then your response carries a tremendous amount of weight in making sure that that person is able to work with you. I personally, as a consumer, I really want to use companies that respond to their customers, even when there’s a problem, because that tells me that company cares. And I’m not the only consumer who believes that. So our final tip is to develop those good social proof listening and tracking skills. And part of that is looking at your analytics and just going to the areas where social proof is provided and taking a look at the social proof that’s there. And then part of it is what we’re calling social shadowing. So that’s following Can’t wait, we decided we didn’t want to be social stalkers. So we found a better word. So social shadowing, that’s where you shadow your best customers. Now, for some people, this means becoming friends with them on social media, so they can see what they post because remember, the social proof that’s provided in the wild is sometimes you’re not tagged in it as the business owner, sometimes you don’t know, you may not be privy, if you’re not following your customers or actively involved in being friends with them, you may not know they posted that picture of your picture on their their hallway wall and all their excitement is over it. So those customers that you want to clone that you want to repeat or that you know want to brag up on you socially, Shadow them, follow them on Instagram, follow them on Facebook, and I even go as far as to be friends with a lot of my clients. Now that said, I don’t post anything controversial, I kind of keep my what would be considered my personal Facebook page, very business, like, I consider it an extension of my professional appearance. And yes, I will post personal things on there. But they’re personal things that I am perfectly okay with any of my clients seeing. So I tried to stick really, really, really in the center or are very much to the side of not causing any waves.

Cara Taylor Swift 33:11
I think that’s kind of the beauty of being small animal based businesses that a lot of times we do develop relationships, and we are able to, like you said, friend, people online and engage with them socially and have you know, those those types of relationships where within we can be aware when they tag us and things or don’t tag us and things and can participate in that conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I get people that will mention my name and then tagged my business as swift horse photography, because my last name is swift and not fast. So I had to, you know, and I’ll be like, thank you so much. I really appreciate the fast horse photography plug, you know, those, those kinds of things happen all the time. And if we’re not, you know, socially shadowing, you know, our best customers, we might miss it and not be able to fix it.

Kimberly Beer 33:56
Absolutely, absolutely. It’s not a necessity, but it certainly does help you be able to find out. And it also gives you some great insight into who your best customers are as people. And that helps you become better at finding more like them. So it’s a good business practice all the way around. And frankly, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be making waves on social media anyway, if you’re a small business owner, leave that to the thought leaders and the people who that’s that.

Cara Taylor Swift 34:23
This is a whole different topic too. But just you know, through social shadowing and connecting with with people outside of the business that have worked with the business, I’ve been able to become aware of really important things that have happened in my clients and past clients lives so that I can respond appropriately to that, you know, send something to them. Like I had a friend online that was a past client and their horse passed away, you know, I was able to send them a piece of art, you know, from their horse, and I would never have seen that unless they reached out to me personally. But I think that that’s another level of that.

Kimberly Beer 34:56
Absolutely, absolutely. You also had a really interest Concept around the same thing about developing a lot of social proof to and I loved this in because it’s in the same vein of this, of burying the burying the bad. I imagine you outside digging, digging a hole and putting your one star reviews in it and covering them up.

Cara Taylor Swift 35:19
But yeah, that’s a great

Kimberly Beer 35:22
Bury. But we’ll let that image kind of go away Kim’s overactive imagination. But talk to me about that. What did you mean, when you said burying the bad?

Cara Taylor Swift 35:31
Well, I think you need to have as much useful and positive social proof as you can have out there in the world that’s easily accessible to people, if you’re someone that’s a business owner, and maybe there are things you know, out in the world about you that are maybe not so great for your business, maybe you were mentioned in an article where there was a crime and you know, or something happened, or maybe you were arrested at one point in time, I don’t know. And you’ve got these things out when someone Google’s your name, that your name pops up in a way that’s really not great for your business, the more social proof that you can have out there that’s positive that can basically bury the negative stuff that’s out there. I think that’s really, really important.

Kimberly Beer 36:16
Absolutely. This hasn’t happened to any of my commercial business customers. But I do have some nonprofits that I occasionally consult with. And some of them are in industries that can get a little bit controversial on occasion. And so they tend to attract haters. And people will leave just mean negative reviews with absolutely no foundation to them whatsoever. And they have a tactic in the nonprofit world, we will just simply say, you know, we’ve been attacked by this particular group of people, and they’ve left a bunch of negative reviews. So could you kind of rally behind us and go leave a bunch of positive reviews if you’ve had a good experience with our nonprofit, and it really does, it varies the bat, it’s it’s an important piece of this to consider. And it’s something that if you have that, are you worried about it, it might stop you from asking or from utilizing this important asset in your business.

Cara Taylor Swift 37:07
Or maybe even pushing a particular platform, because you’re worried about sending people to the platform. So if you got, you know, a terrible Google review, you might decide cash, I’m not going to use Google reviews, I’m going to stick to Facebook reviews, because I don’t want to send anyone over to potentially see my Google review. So thinking about instead, you know, I just want to gain as much social proof on that platform as I can to bury it as opposed to hiding it. If I’ve got one negative thing, I’m gonna have 75 positive things out there in the world. Because the truth is, is that stuff happens. I mean, sometimes, you know, you have someone break into your house, and you’re in a news article and quoted or something and you’re unhappy with it. I mean, those kinds of things happen in the real world. And you know, it could show up and connect to your business.

Kimberly Beer 37:50
That happens a lot more often than one would think. It really does. It really does. And it’s important that you not let that stop you from getting what you need to get out of this really important avenue for marketing. The last piece I think we want to discuss today is what if you are a brand new business, and you just simply don’t have customers yet? You don’t you maybe have one good customer. And that’s it at this point, and you’re building your business, how do you start to accumulate the social proof out there in the world if you don’t have a customer base to pull on. And one of the best ways that I counsel people to do that is to do what’s called beta testing. Now, that’s a software term, but it’s, you know, maybe providing your product or service at either no cost or at a reduced cost in exchange for very explicit social proof. And that should be made very clear up front. So I’m going to give you this product, I’d like for you to use it. And I would like you to provide me feedback. If you don’t like it, I’m going to take that feedback and use it to improve the product. If you do like it, I’m going to ask you to leave AIX reviews or to do a video interview about your use of it or whatever it may be. You can use that with influencers. So people who already have a following who have authority within whatever industry that you’re in, you can provide them with that and do a lot of people that I’ve worked with in equine businesses, you know, they’ll give the product to the clinicians that show up at the expos and say hair, give me feedback on it and said, Tell me what you think. And then there becomes a paid endorsement later on. But it gives them good feedback on whatever it is that they’re doing. And then they may end up with an endorser that helps them get sales. So that’s kind of an avenue that you can do but you don’t have to go directly to that like authority figure, you can go to a horse owner and say I want you to you know, give this a good old try and see if it’s going to work for you. And if it does, here, I would like for you to write a detailed review on Google and provide me with a video testimonial in exchange for whatever you’re doing that happens on a really regular basis. And it’s perfectly okay when you’re getting started because you need that leap frog. into being able to get more customers into your business. And social proof is a really important way to do that.

Cara Taylor Swift 40:05
In the photography world that looks a lot like a model call. And then in your model call contract, you include information about how we would like for them to respond, how did you enjoy the process? Talk to me about that, and then you’re going to use that as your review.

Kimberly Beer 40:18
Absolutely. And you know, that goes to another thing. And within the photography community, like when we do a new retreat, we ask the people up front for the new location, hey, this is the hashtag we’re using. And can you use that hashtag on everything, and so on, and so forth. So there’s all kinds of ways that you can incorporate that type of social proof even when you’re new. So let’s take a review, our big three that we would like for you to walk away with is social proof might be one of your most important marketing assets that you can get, it’s incredibly important, you need to number two, be mindfully cultivating and harvesting that social proof. And finally, number three, you need to develop really good social proof listening skills, social shadowing, skills, tracking and looking at your analytics so you know how well you’re doing out there in the world of consumer opinion, and how much penetration you’re making through social proof and social listening. So thank you guys for tuning in. As always, catch us on social media. And don’t forget to visit the website for show notes and other little tidbits, including some video business tips from both of us, and we’ll be seeing you next week on our next episode.

Jaz 41:31
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Business Animal. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. And if you learned something today, leave us a review. To learn more, find us at The Business animal.com we’d love to hear from you. Until next time, keep your business well trained with The Business Animal

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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