Have you ever been to a networking event where you weren’t sure how to act? Should you maintain a professional demeanor appropriate for the office, or should you adopt your relaxed, social butterfly persona? Most of us will take our cues from other attendees in this situation, a psychological phenomenon known as “social proof.”
What is social proof?
We look for social proof when we are unsure how to act in a given situation. Put simply, we assume others are more informed, so we copy their behavior.
If you are dining in a foreign country, you may not know what are considered acceptable table manners. Most likely, you will follow the lead of those around you for a while.
We see social proof at work in digital marketing every day. Shop for a new pair of shoes online, and you’re likely to read customer reviews. If your friends on social media recommend a blog post, you’re more likely to read it.
Conversely, a lack of social proof indicators can make you distrust your own judgment. We feel more confident about our decisions if we know that someone else has had a positive experience with a product or service before.
What does this have to do with marketing your law firm?
Social proof indicators can be used to nudge website visitors in the right direction. Show website visitors that past clients approve of your law firm, your lawyers and your legal services, and you’re more likely to land that new client.
Here are some ways to use social proof marketing strategies for new client acquisition.
- Client testimonials. Most law firm websites include testimonials somewhere on the site and for good reason. These are direct quotes from real clients saying great things about your law firm, and clients can praise you in ways that you can’t really accomplish with your own content.
- Online Reviews. When we talk about online reviews for lawyers, we’re talking about those client reviews left on 3rd-party websites like Google or Yelp.
- Peer endorsements. Clients aren’t the only ones who can say nice things about a lawyer. Other attorneys or professional colleagues can also provide insight into your legal skills.
- Awards badges. Most online awards for lawyers are ego bait, but there are some awards that you’ll want to brag about if your law firm wins one.
- Case studies. Highlight your best wins on your site with case studies, which can be a great way to tell a story about your success.
- Verdict announcements. These are popular with personal injury attorneys because the huge settlement numbers are encouraging, but verdict announcements can be used by lawyers in many different practice areas.
- Press mentions. When your firm or an attorney gets positive press, be sure to note this on your website, either in a blog post or a “Press” page.
Social proof is critical for SEO
Social proof is important for law firm SEO because of Google’s quality standard referred to as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Google looks for social proof as a measure of authoritativeness because it’s an indicator that others see you as an authority in your practice area.