How to Use Social Proof Marketing to Fuel Franchise Growth
- August 1, 2021
- By: Vonigo
This article about franchise growth from social proof marketing is by the team at NiceJob, a tool that helps businesses get more customer reviews, referrals, and sales. Read below to learn what social proof is and how to use it to scale your franchise.
Franchises in the service industry face unique challenges across the business landscape. You have to compete with local, independent providers while also balancing needs with a nationwide brand.
Service companies like carpet cleaners, plumbers or roofers often find themselves in markets where competitors have strong roots in their communities.
Franchise Growth, Fueled by Reputation
To help stimulate franchise growth, business owners likewise must establish personal connections to their local communities and optimize the customer experience, but this is easier said than done. With the added logistical complexities of running a franchise business, it’s no surprise that almost half of franchise businesses aren’t measuring and improving the customer experience.
So how can service-based franchise companies connect with and delight their local customers to increase sales and dominate their local markets? An easy win is to leverage social proof, the secret weapon for franchise owners to promote the franchise brand and better sell to new, potential customers, all in one fell swoop.
In this article, you will learn all about what social proof is, what are its benefits and some examples of social proof for franchise businesses to help your company take off to new heights!
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is a concept from business psychology that refers to the idea of motivating people to take action based on the opinions of others.
Coined by the marketing psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, social proof means using “proof” of how awesome your franchise business is.
This proof comes not from head office or franchisees, but from the social beehive of your customers or the local community.
It can take the form of customer reviews, testimonials, recommendations, certifications, awards…anything that legitimizes franchisees’ services from a reliable, external source.
Benefits of Social Proof for Franchise Growth
How can social proof benefit franchise companies and how can franchisees leverage social proof to grow their revenue?
Remember, service-based franchisees need to build connections with their local communities on their own to optimize their market penetration.
Social marketing must at least be a joint venture between the franchise and the franchisees.
Due to the need for local relevance for outbound communications, franchisees benefit when taking a lead on promoting the business with social proof.
This is why adopting a software tool to use social proof is an effective addition to your stack of franchise software systems.
So let’s take a look at how franchise businesses can benefit from social proof.
1. Validate Buying Decisions for Customers
Social proof works so well because it provides leads with peace of mind. Imagine you’re a homeowner with a broken air conditioner, so you need the services of a nearby HVAC company. When you search on Google, “HVAC repair near me,” will you be more likely to choose the company with glowing praise from past customers or the HVAC company with no customer reviews?
You likely already know the answer to this question because it’s intuitive. In fact, 84% of customers trust social proof more than anything else.
If you can validate a potential customer’s inclination to pick your company over the competition, you’re already halfway towards your next job booking!
2. Identify Your Target Customers
One of the biggest hurdles new service-based franchisees face is how to hone in on their target audience with their marketing materials.
It’s easy to go after those who need repairs to their air conditioner if your franchise revolves around HVAC services since that’s a reactionary need in the moment. But how can you best sell to certain demographics looking to upgrade their heating unit to improve their home’s value without spending too much on advertisements?
Social proof shows potential customers that you could be a good match for them. That’s because social proof reassures leads that your satisfied customers are people just like them. Those who respond to your social-proof marketing will be your franchise’s bread & butter and will give your franchisees valuable customer data about the kinds of audiences to target.
3. Increase Sales and Conversion Rates
Simply put, social proof is a tool in a franchise’s arsenal to effectively increase local sales and improve website conversion rates of visitors to leads.
Social proof enables franchisee websites to become more visible on search engines, whether because of more customer reviews on Google My Business or more clicks on website forms.
And once leads come to the local franchisee website (or social media page!), the social proof promotes the business and encourages more visitors to submit their contact info.
4. Improve the Customer Experience
Social proof not only directly contributes to better sales for franchisees by imploring potential customers that they can’t miss out on your services; it tells them that you care too.
Whether you share reviews or testimonials on your website or on social media, the very act of doing so demonstrates to future customers that you value what existing customers have to say. Sharing social proof nurtures customer loyalty and instills a positive feeling for the customer experience as it signals to your website or social visitors that you’ll care about them too.
When customers already feel like they’ll be cared for before franchisees even service them, they’ll be more likely to report a positive customer experience after they’re serviced too. Talk about a psychological sleight-of-hand!
Social-Proof Examples for Franchise Companies
Now that we’ve gone over the main benefits of taking advantage of social proof for franchise companies, what are some of the typical use-cases at play?
There are lots of examples of social proof available for franchise companies, so let’s cover some of the main ones so you can get a sense of how to best use social proof for your franchise!
1. Share Reviews on Franchisee Websites
A classic example of using social proof is to show off your local customer reviews on franchisee websites.
As soon as website visitors see those positive 5-star reviews once on your website, you can be sure that those “Get a Quote” button clicks will start to blow through the roof!
Take a look at this website for the Charlotte, N.C. franchisee of Fish Window Cleaning. They’ve not so subtly placed a widget on their website next to descriptions of their services to show off reviews from satisfied customers in the Charlotte region as an extra nudge to website visitors.
2. Show Off Your Local Certifications
Not all social proof has to come from past customers. Authenticating leads’ commitments to booking with franchisees can be as simple as promoting endorsements from local chambers of commerce or business organizations.
The effect is the same and it adds an extra level of security to website visitors when deciding which service company to choose.
The Vancouver, B.C. location for the North American franchise You Move Me, a residential moving company, isn’t afraid to do just that. Right above their team-member introductions, they display badges from review sites and local business organizations to advertise their trustworthiness and their reputation.
3. Post Customer Stories on Social Media
Franchisee websites aren’t the only place to show off your social proof to inspire potential customers to book jobs with you!
Social media is very lucrative for franchise companies to gain an edge over local competitors because of the community it can foster.
Promoting local franchise businesses to fans and their friends on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat with social proof is a surefire and ROI-positive marketing tactic to start scheduling more jobs almost immediately.
For example, check out this Facebook post from the Southwestern Florida franchisee for Mighty Dog Roofing. They promote the franchise’s certification as a preferred contractor from a nationwide ambassador for local roofing companies to show off their “trusted” reputation as a piece of marketing collateral for potential customers.
4. Real-Time Social Proof on Websites
It’s one thing to exhibit reviews and certifications on franchisee websites with widgets or images, but how much more compelling would it be for real-time notifications to pop up to remind website visitors of your amazing customer service?
With discreet popups that show off customer reviews or positive testimonials on your website, franchisees have another opportunity to display customer reviews that happen in real time.
When website visitors see you have a new review that comes in at the same moment they’re considering your services, it compels them to take action in the moment since the immediacy of the review feels more authentic to them.
A great example of this type of social proof is on display for the Salt Lake City, UT outfit of the franchise Patchmaster Drywall Repair.
As potential customers browse their website, they’ll see an unobtrusive popup in the bottom corner that shows off recent customer star ratings as an extra nudge to choose their company over the local competition.
Use Social Proof For Local Franchise Growth
Social proof is an excellent marketing tactic for franchise businesses to promote their businesses to new customers.
Social-proof software is a guaranteed way for service franchises to strengthen their tech stack of franchise software systems. That’s true whether you’re sharing reviews or certifications on franchisee websites or on social media. Grow your sales, recruit new franchisees and dominate local markets across the country!
Looking for a way to generate more customer reviews and take advantage of social proof marketing? Get in touch with the team at NiceJob, a social proof tool that integrates with Vonigo and allows you to manage your customer feedback. Want to learn about how NiceJob integrates with Vonigo, or how franchise management software can help you delight your customers and enable growth? Book a free, private demo of Vonigo.
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