Social Proof: A Lawyer’s Answer to Stiff Online Competition

The internet has done marvelous things for small law firms and local attorneys who previously found it difficult to gain exposure on a very limited marketing budget. But it’s also had the effect of increasing competition.

If you want to stand out in today’s highly competitive marketplace, you have to do two things: (1) enhance visibility, and (2) build trust. There’s plenty of advice circulating around online about how to increase visibility and generate traffic. In this article, we’re going to address the second component. More specifically, we’re going to discuss how you can use social proof to build trust.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that makes you think something is better when other people approve of it. It’s the cognitive force at play in your brain when you’re walking down a popular street on Friday night and you and your friends decide to enter a bar because it has a long line. While it would make sense to patron a bar where there’s less of a line, you figure that a long queue must mean that particular bar is better. Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter. Your mind is using social proof to take a mental shortcut.

3 Ways to Use Social Proof

While social proof is used in every area of life, it’s particularly helpful for you, as an attorney. Retaining a lawyer is a big decision. The more social proof you provide on your website, the more likely it is that you’ll cut through the noise and convince a prospective client to work with you – as opposed to the competition.

Unsure of exactly where to start? Here are some of the more effective ways you can start using social proof in the coming weeks.

1. List Off Your Accomplishments

In some fields, success is a bit arbitrary and subjective. It isn’t always clear how successful someone is or what accomplishments a business has recorded. The legal field is different. There are lots of tangible metrics by which success can be measured (inside and outside of the courtroom).

Highlighting your accomplishments is a great way to leverage social proof on your website. This web page from The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is a good example. Notice the six bullet points in the middle of the page that tout experience, results, and unique value propositions. These are subtle, yet effective elements of social proof.

2. Offer Case Studies

Hiring a lawyer is much more involved than buying a watch. While the individual searching for a watch might be content with reading a couple of bullet points about what makes the watch so desirable, the person looking for an attorney is going to need more substantial proof of value. That’s why many lawyers turn to case studies.

A case study includes real-world information, statistics, and data points that help people make educated decisions. It may be worth developing a few of your own.

3. Use the Power of Association

The power of association is very real. For example, if you’re a huge New York Yankees fan and you see a product that’s endorsed by the Yankees franchise, you’re naturally going to have positive associations with it. In terms of marketing your legal services, you can tap into social proof by featuring different logos and emblems of groups and organizations that you’re a member of.

Offer a Reason to Believe

While it usually happens on a subconscious level, we’re always seeking reasons to believe something or someone. When it comes to your clients and target market, they’re looking for reasons to believe that you are the person or firm that will best represent them. There are many different factors at play, but building this connection often starts with social proof.

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