marketing reputation management

The importance of social proof for your prospective clients

Let’s get in the mindset of your potential clients for a moment, shall we?

For starters, most people looking for a lawyer are likely doing so while in an agitated state. As important as lawyers are to both individuals and businesses, few people actually want to hire and work with a lawyer.

More often than not, they find themselves in a position where they need a lawyer.

This is unique to the legal field. Many other customers out there willfully search for other products or services with anticipation and excitement, including:

  • A new home
  • A vacation
  • A better tool to streamline their business

But I’m guessing there aren’t too many folks out there saying to themselves, “I’m so excited! Today I get to research potential lawyers for my pending case!”

This type of subconscious animosity and underlying resistance places you and your firm in the crosshairs of a skeptical prospect who’s looking for any misgivings or faults to turn you down and move on to the next candidate.

How do you protect your firm from this level of scrutiny and prove your worth to your prospects?

You need social proof!

Types of social proof your law firm could use

By social proof we’re not talking about proof that you’re on social media, although you are on social media, right?

While social media can be used as a tool toward social proof, what we’re talking about are tried and true practices including:

Case Studies – Case studies are typically used in a B2B setting, so if you’re building a client-base of individuals, this might not be your best approach.

Law firms looking to attract business clients, however, might want to develop data-driven, in-depth case studies that analyze cases you’ve handled

Be wary of the boring case study, though. While you don’t want to disrupt your branding entirely, remember to add a little drama to your data (in other words, personalize your case studies).

Testimonials – These short-form recommendations are a goldmine for your efforts in attracting new clients.

But, not all testimonials are created equal. When acquiring testimonials from your happy clients, make sure to:

  • Get a photo of the client (if possible, understanding client/attorney privileges)
  • Use the name of the client (omit the last name if you must, by try to get permission to use the first name, last initial)
  • Have the person discuss the specific role you played in their case

These elements help legitimize your testimonials. For lawyers, this is a sticky situation, as most clients prefer anonymity. If you have a willing client though, run with it.

Don’t just seek out client testimonials, however. Expert social proof is pretty influential as well. Do you have a good rapport with a colleague from another firm? What about a retired judge? Testimonials from these non-clients can still go a long way in legitimizing your practice.

While you’ll want to add your testimonials to your website and landing pages, you can also get creative in their presentation and use them as social promotions as well.

Of course, testimonials can be effective, but not everyone trusts them entirely, which is why you should also use …

Reviews – Reviews are typically far more objective than a testimonial, and certainly more influential. Nearly 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase, and you can be certain that goes for your prospective clients as well.

The thing about reviews is, while you can solicit this type of feedback like you would a testimonial, many of your prospects aren’t waiting for your invite to review your service. That’s why you should check out and monitor review site (Yelp, Google, regularly.

Monitoring these sites will allow you to mine content for marketing purposes, while also putting out fires before they burn out of control.

Data – Numbers are, for the most part, indisputable. If you’ve won or settled 90% of your cases, how can that be argued? Fact is fact. And numbers can tell a story without bogging prospects down with endless sentences.

Here’s a little pro tip: combine your data with another social proof.

For example, let’s say that you promote a statistic that shows how you’ve settled 90% of all wrongful death cases. That’s a fantastic, and impressive stat.

But, as mentioned earlier, personalize that data by adding a relevant testimonial or review.

Using social media as social proof

You know we couldn’t go too long on this topic without bringing in social media. Your past and current clients are, more than likely, on social media.

While it’s not overwhelmingly likely that these clients are talking about your services, you can’t afford to ignore the potential.

Be sure to monitor your branding, industry and, for good measure, follow/monitor your clients’ profiles. Save every positive comment people have said about your work.

Keeping it positive

Regardless of which social proof strategies you employ, avoid negative social proof at all costs. For example, don’t highlight a testimonial where the client said something like, “If you don’t hire for your case, you’re making a huge mistake,”

That type of comment is bullying behavior that consumers resent. Focus on the positive when it comes to proving your worth, and you’re more likely to win over prospects.

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