Social proof is the positive influence of “everybody’s doing it” – when the actions and opinions of others affect your choices and actions. If we see others engaging in certain behavior online, we are more inclined to believe those actions are worthwhile.
Social proof is an important component of online reputation management for lawyers. It’s what prospects, clients, and referral sources use to confirm your law firm is a legitimate entity and the right fit for their needs. Social proof helps people verify your credentials and experience, especially when they are personally unfamiliar with you. It can also create a serious digital advantage for lawyers if handled correctly.
FIVE BEST STRATEGIES FOR LAW FIRM SOCIAL PROOF
1. Case Studies
A case study is a fancy name for a client success story. The “story” aspect is what can really hook a reader. Showing a potential customer the exact process they will go through when working with your law firm helps them trust you.
Law firms looking to attract business clients should develop data-driven, in-depth case studies analyzing cases they successfully handled in the past. Be sure to personalize your case studies with imagery and facts interesting enough to entice users to read them.
Format For A Good Case Study
- Set the stage by describing the players
- Explain what happened that presented a roadblock for the client/the need for legal services
- Reveal failed attempts by the client to resolve their problems before working with your law firm
- Show how your law firm moved the client past the obstacle and obtained a successful resolution
These short-form recommendations are a goldmine in attracting new clients. Testimonials help people overcome their skepticism about your law firm’s services by providing a first-person account of working with you. Don’t just seek out client testimonials, however; expert social proof is pretty influential as well. Work with colleagues from other law firms, retired judges, mediators, and more to obtain testimonials from non-clients. The power of testimonials lies in their objectivity, which goes a long way toward legitimizing your practice. When someone outside of your law firm does the talking, the credibility often carries a greater weight.
Add your testimonials to:
- Websites and landing pages
- Social promotions
When acquiring testimonials from your happy clients, make sure to:
- Get a photo of the client if possible, understanding client/attorney privileges. Video testimonial are even better if the client is willing.
- Use real attributions / the name of the client (omit the last name if you must, but try to get permission to use the first name, last initial).
- Have the person discuss the specific role you played in their case.
Reviews are even more objective than testimonials, and are correspondingly more influential. While you can selectively solicit feedback for a testimonial, many people don’t wait for an invitation to review your services. Most consumers today realize good or great reviews are earned – meaning customer reviews are immensely powerful. The scoring systems—usually a 5-star system—are a serious source of social proof. That’s why you should check and monitor review sites (e.g. Yelp, Google, and Avvo.com) regularly. Monitoring these sites allows you to mine content for marketing purposes, while also putting out fires if someone has negative things to say.
Creating a system for obtaining online reviews is very helpful, but you should implement a system to monitor and respond to any reviews your law firm gets online as well. Be sure to collect, manage, and distribute this content to get the most out of it. Part of this involves collecting reviews at an optimal time, which for personal injury lawyers is often on the day the clients receive their money.
4. Trust Icons
This form of social proof goes by different names: badges, seals, logos, awards, certifications, etc. No matter what you call it, this popular approach to establishing credibility involves displaying meaningful icons. These symbols help reassure viewers your company is trustworthy.
In addition to “Super Lawyers” badges, having an “as seen in” media showcase on your website is another example of social proof. Law firms can and should show the news media featuring or mentioning them and/or their clients. By associating your brand with well-known media outlets, you let the digital world know your law firm is newsworthy and people should pay attention.
Numbers are, for the most part, indisputable. If you’ve won or settled 90% of your cases, how can that be argued? Facts are facts. And numbers can tell a story, without smothering readers with the endless lengthy text we lawyers like to use. Impressive numbers also make people feel instinctively safer, knowing that others have used your services and won/done well. Combining data with a relevant testimonial or review allows you to personalize this type of social proof.
Examples of Data –Driven Social Proof
- Social Share Count
- Subscriber Count
- Case Results
- Clients Served
- Number of Downloads
- Number of Jury Trials
Did you know a law firm can use its own employees to help boost its social proof through user generated content (for free)? Social proof is powerful, easy to work with, and more cost-effective than most traditional forms of advertising. To find out how you can use social proof in your law firm marketing, contact Stacey E. Burke, P.C. today.