People trust people whom they like or know, and so when a person suggests a particular lawyer or law firm, their friends, family members, and social media followers listen. This is what we call social proof –– the idea that certain societal norms exist, and to act within those norms, people make decisions based on the decisions of others.
Social proof is important for lawyers for a very simple reason: It works. When lawyers, especially solo attorneys and small law firms, successfully leverage social proof, their caseload can simultaneously increase. Aside from this direct impact, social proof plays an important part in establishing credibility and trust, which Google and other search engines use to rank pages.
Here, we outline what you can do to build social proof for your solo or small law firm practice.
Five Tried and True Tools for Law Firms to Establish Social Proof
An array of tools can be used to establish social proof for your law firm’s website. These tools include testimonials, achievements, surveys, case summaries, and social media. With more than one way to use each of these “tools” to build social proof, we explain what they are so that you can maximize their potential to your law firm’s benefit.
Testimonials are the foundation of any social proof strategy because they are, after all, the very essence of how social proof is created: The opinion of one influences the opinion of others. Once you start collecting testimonials, you can showcase them in several important ways:
- On your law firm website. Create a testimonials page where visitors can easily access and review them. You can also pick out a few great, diverse testimonials to highlight strategically throughout your website. For example, you could display three exceptional reviews on your homepage without regard to the practice area, but for each practice area page, you could embed testimonials specific to that legal area. Attorney profile and contact pages are also good locations to insert an internal link to the client testimonials page. The key is to facilitate visitors finding your client reviews.
- On your social media platforms. When you are a solo attorney or small law firm, you cannot be shy about your legal skills. Testimonials, by their very nature, are meant to be published for the world to see. Client testimonials obtained via direct efforts (e.g., in-office questionnaire or social media requests) or from consumer information websites (e.g., AVVO, Google My Business, LegalMatch, Lawyers.com, Bing Places for Business, Better Business Bureau) can be shared on Facebook, Threads, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), or any other social media platform. When you receive a new client testimonial that makes you proud, share it and let the “likes” add up.
- Via email campaigns or subscriptions. Email subscriptions are a great way to keep former or current clients abreast of news happening in your law practice, to inform former or current clients of any relevant legal news, and to request client reviews and referrals. It is also a great place to include an engaging client testimonial and link to the client testimonial page. Imagine if your email provides information the recipient thinks a friend may find useful. That client may forward the email, and along with the forwarded email is social proof that people appreciate your services. You may just end up with a new client.
The more touch points where potential clients encounter your social proof, the stronger your credibility becomes. Regardless of whether you use one or all of the above suggestions, you should periodically update testimonials. New success stories showcase ongoing excellence and demonstrate that you consistently deliver results.
Tip: Watch our webinar recording “Client Testimonials 101” to learn the importance of client reviews for your firm, what makes a review good, and how to get more reviews for your practice.
Client testimonials are not the only means to prove the value of your law firm as a way to influence the opinion of potential new clients – your achievements can do the same. Many times, awards, publications, speaking engagements, and certifications or other forms of recognition can even be more effective than testimonials. What they say about you is this: Your peers or other experts in the field acknowledge that you have a certain level of legal skills, knowledge, or qualifications.
If you do not have any legal achievements, commit to a little research and see what’s available in your jurisdiction. You can start with your state bar association for ideas. You can also look up well-known awards or conferences to help design a plan to get nominated or participate in the event.
Also, keep in mind that achievements specific to the legal field are not the end-all-be-all. Other achievements matter, too. If you have a civic award or have been recognized for some good deed, this also works. It may not attest to your legal capabilities, but it does attest to the type of person you are, and that can matter just as much. Plus, it helps people relate to you and adds a layer of unmatched authenticity.
When you have any type of achievement, you can highlight them the same way you do testimonials: on your website, on social media, and via email campaigns. To facilitate the positive effect these have on social proof, consider publishing visuals such as images of you speaking at a conference or a video of the same. Visuals are compelling and easily shareable.
Surveys are not something solo attorneys or small law firms tend to consider as an option to build social proof, but they have significant potential and are worth considering. To conduct surveys, there are options, like:
- Written surveys that can be provided in the office or mailed
- Traditional telephone calls, which are not as common today but can provide a personal touch
- Electronic forms where a link or form is provided online or sent by email
The nice part about surveys is the ability to inspire meaningful and diverse feedback through the questions asked, which can help law firms appeal to a broader audience by showcasing an ability to cater to different needs effectively. Questions like the following can help you obtain details that will help convert others:
- Did your legal advice lead to a favorable outcome in a complicated case?
- Did your guidance save your client money?
Another nice aspect of surveys is the ability to quantify survey results. When questions use a rating system, you can provide concrete data and statistics –– for example, 85% of clients received favorable outcomes. Being able to measure and share that number can be extremely powerful, especially when it is published to your social media accounts.
4. Case Summaries
Case summaries are another great tool that can complement any law firm’s social proof strategy. Case summaries not only tell the positive experiences clients have but also show those experiences for others to understand, relate to, and want for their own similar situations. Like testimonials, the more detail, the better. Fortunately, unlike testimonials, you get to draft the case summaries and so can tell the story how and with as much detail as you want.
To craft compelling narratives that detail the client’s journey, start with the challenge they faced, highlight the solutions you provided, and conclude with the positive outcomes they enjoyed. In sum, a case summary should include:
- The legal issue and/or the stakes involved in the matter
- Steps taken to help the client
- How you won the case or obtained a favorable outcome
- How the case was resolved (e.g., via alternative dispute, settlement, dismissal, jury verdict, etc.)
Storytelling creates an emotional connection and helps potential clients envision how you can solve their problems, too. You should have a page dedicated to case summaries on your law firm website. You should also link to the case summaries page from other pages on your website, like the homepage, attorney profile page, practice area pages, and blogs.
One caveat when drafting case summaries: Recall that Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.6(a), states:
A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).
Be sure not to provide any details in the case summary that could identify the client unless you have specific consent to do so. With that said, share on social media platforms anonymized success stories that highlight your expertise and ability to achieve favorable outcomes. These stories not only serve as social proof but also demonstrate your commitment to client success.
5. Social Media
Social media is where social proof breathes and grows. As noted above, these platforms are important places to publicize testimonials, achievements, survey results, and case summaries. Social media, on its own, can also establish social proof. The key here is being active and responsive.
The more active you are on social media, the more engaged your followers will be. More engagement fosters more “likes,” and as those likes increase, so too does your social proof. This type of visual testimony can have a significant impact on social proof.
You can increase your activity on social media by, for example, leveraging your law firm brand and thought leadership. Company culture is an important part of branding. When attorneys or staff post comments on work culture and experiences at the law firm via their own or the law firm’s social media account, it can resonate with potential clients. When there are positive vibes coming from insiders, those positive vibes can influence outsiders.
You can also position yourself as a thought leader by sharing insightful legal articles, case analyses, and industry updates. By consistently providing relevant content, you demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a go-to resource in your field and, therefore, the go-to attorney when a potential client has a legal issue arise in the same area of law.
The Role Your Law Firm Website Plays in Social Proof
A law firm website plays a critical role in social proofing a law practice. The website is where all of the above tools are housed and made easily and readily accessible. The key is having a law firm website that allows you to display and employ these tools efficiently and effectively, with ease and with intention.
When attorneys use LawLytics, they discover that establishing social proof isn’t a chore but an exciting journey to social proofing their law practice. Built for attorneys, our websites are already designed with attorney-specific pages in mind, like testimonials and case summaries, and are complemented by smart website layouts, integrations, widgets, and plugins that facilitate efforts to build and grow social proof.
If you’re currently a member of LawLytics and want to know how to transform visitors and social media followers into clients by harnessing the power of social proof via your law firm website, please reach out to support. If you’re not yet a LawLytics member and would like to know how we can help you drive more business to your practice, schedule a 20-minute interactive demo with a product expert.