Is Social Proof More Powerful Than Credentials?

When it comes to Lawyer Marketing, so often we are compelled to try and convince our potential new customers that we are the right choice for them. We do this by drawing attention to our credentials, awards, accolades and achievements… in essence we are focusing on ourselves.

What if there was a far easier and effective way to earn the trust (and business) of our most sought after prospects?

This potential magic bullet is a concept called social proof which is a relatively unknown idea yet it may just be more influential than any of your high marks and credentials.

Social Proof is the authority or influence created when someone discovers that other people are already doing something. In other words, using the actions of others to infer the value of a course of action.

“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.” – Wikipedia

On any given day we can observe countless examples of social proof. Consumer ratings (i.e. are a cyber version of social proof and those ratings influence our buying habits. For example, we are much more likely to buy a product that has 150 positive reviews than a similar product that only has two or three reviews.

Psychology Professor Robert Cialdini, conducted a number of studies in an attempt to find out if social proof is as powerful as he assume it was. In most cases his assumptions were proven accurate. People are greatly influenced by the actions of others and more often than not will choose what others have already chosen.

There are many types of social proof: Expert or celebrity endorsements, crowds (long lines) and referrals from friends, just to name a few. One of the most influential types of social proof is testimonials. Video testimonials on your legal website are exceptionally powerful when it comes to attracting new clients on the web.

In this era of the social networking, social gaming and social everything; social proof may be the new marketing method of choice.

If you want more business from the web, encourage past and present clients to write or video a testimonial. Prominently posting these testimonials throughout your site will allow new visitors to learn why your service is so great and should help move them quickly towards taking that next step.

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