The 4 Pieces of Social Proof Every Local Business Needs To Show Off
Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to local businesses. If your local business wants to drive customers to choose you, you need to do something to stand out. One way to do that is through social proof.
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is a signal brands can put out to build trust with potential customers. It works by showing interested customers that other customers and authorities already trust and like the brand. Social proof plays into a psychological trigger that makes people to feel more attracted to brands that others are also attracted to.
When a brand showcases social proof, they can build trust and affinity with customers more quickly. So, what type of social proof does a local business need?
The 4 Pieces of Social Proof Every Local Business Needs
#1) Reviews on Third-Party Sites
If there is just one piece of social proof that you generate for your local business, make it reviews. Customer reviews are extremely important. A BrightLocal study found that “87% of consumers read online reviews for a local business in 2020.” That is up from 81% in 2019.
Local customers frequently look for reviews and use them to determine if they will visit a local business or not. In 2020, 94% of US consumers said positive reviews make them more likely to visit a business, according to BrightLocal.
The problem with reviews for local businesses is that there are so many places to generate and share them. There are dozens of third-party sites where you can collect and show customer reviews. It can be difficult for a local business to generate a lot of reviews on a lot of different sites.
So we recommend starting with three third-party sites that can help with reviews for three different functions: general search, review search, and local discovery.
Google My Business: Google My Business (GMB) is a free profile that businesses can create on Google’s database. These profiles are powerful because they help a business show up in search. With a GMB page, a business profile can show up in search when someone searches for their business name. Their business can also appear in a listing when someone searches for keywords related to the business.
When you have a high number of positive reviews on GMB, Google sees your business as an authority and is more likely to show it in search results. More reviews can drive local searchers to your business.
Yelp: Yelp is a website and app that collects and curates reviews for local businesses. Customers go to Yelp to help them find or verify a business. They use the site to read reviews and discover businesses based on what people say in the reviews. A GMB review helps customers find a local business via search. Yelp reviews help customers find a local business through reviews.
A high number of positive reviews on Yelp can help more customers discover and want to try your business so it is worth generating reviews on that platform.
Local Area Site: Local Area Sites are a network of hyperlocal websites that are organized by area code. Local businesses can create a profile on their Local Area Site that features details and updates about their business as well as customer reviews.
Reviews on Local Area Sites help with local discovery. Local customers use Local Area Sites to find the best things to do, see, and eat in their area. The reviews on your page help make a page stand out and be more likely to attract new customers. Create your free Local Area Site profile today.
#2) Reviews on Your Website
When a customer is trying to decide which local business to visit, they visit the brand’s website. Customers look for information that will guide their visit (location, hours, menus, etc.). They also look for social proof that tells them why they should visit. This information often comes in the form of customer reviews.
Customer reviews on your business website, whether they appear as long testimonials or short quotes, give customers confidence in a business. They build trust by showing customers that other locals have also had a great experience with this brand.
To collect these reviews, you can pull quotes or take screenshots of reviews from the third-party sites mentioned above. Use graphics and quotes and feature them on your homepage, on a reviews page, and throughout your site in call-out boxes.
Related: How to Get Customer Reviews and Why Every Business Must Have Them
#3) Local Press and Influencer Mentions
Customers rely on customer reviews to help them trust a business. They also rely on recommendations and mentions that come from authorities such as local media outlets and influencers.
Local influencers and media outlets are voices in a community that nearby residents trust and value. Audiences look to these voices to discover new businesses and guide them toward the brands they need to know and try.
An article about your businesses in a local media outlet (like Local Area Sites) or in a social media post by a local food blogger offer influential pieces of social proof. People in the community see these mentions and recommendations are more likely to try them for themself.
Related: How to Get Local Press Coverage for Your Business
#4) Local Awards
Another piece of community social proof comes in the form of awards. Cities often have local awards that name the city’s best businesses.
Awards are a great way to both spread awareness about your brand and build trust with local customers. A restaurant named for having the “Best Burger” in your city or a bar with the “Best Happy Hour” is likely to gain new customers from the exposure.
Keep an eye out for local awards in your community and if (and when) you win, display the awards in your marketing materials and even in your store. This is a type of social proof that can provide value for years to come.
Related: 5 Ways to Start Growing Your Local Business Using Digital Marketing
Start Collecting Social Proof for Your Local Business
Social proof is just one of the elements you need to create a successful local marketing plan. Customers need to be able to find you, learn about you, and trust you before they decide to give you their business.
If you need help with any of these elements, MyArea Network is here to help.
We are a team of local marketing experts who know the best way for businesses to reach more local customers. We’d love to see how we can help you build your business using our local marketing platform that offers a variety of powerful marketing resources and tools.
Sign up today for mySuite to start reaching more customers near your local business.