You have a solid digital marketing strategy in place, including producing useful content consistently, optimizing your site to raise your ranking, and producing occasional finely targeted online advertising campaigns. And, you dutifully post your articles and curate other useful pieces to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Maybe you’re even posting images to Pinterest and Instagram and videos to YouTube and Vimeo because that’s where your clients spend their time.
Thing is, you’re not getting the kind or return on investment (ROI) you expected. You’re not getting the likes and followers and engagement that comes with consistent effort, and when you do, it’s not resulting in traffic back to your site.
Don’t be concerned. You’re establishing social proof.
According to Wikipedia, social proof is a psychology phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
For this discussion, we’re adapting social proof for the social media age. It’s what clients, prospects, and referral sources use to validate you; to confirm that you’re the right fit for them; to determine what others are saying about you, if anything. And, to ensure you’re who you say you are.
Lisa Barone, in Social Media Examiner, has a great response to How Effective Is Social Media as Social Proof?
It’s highly effective…Developing a presence on the social web adds credibility to your blog/website because it allows people to see you engaging with other people. They see their social media friends talking to you and it serves as a sign that you’re trusted and not going to swindle them.
It also gives another indicator that you’re committed to building your presence, and that as a customer, they’ll be able to get in touch with you if they have a question, concern or complaint. Creating a social media presence is another way of letting customers know you’ve left a light on for them.
When a potential client finds your website, whether through a google search, a bar association inquiry or an Avvo or LegalZoom recommendation, they discover what you’ve produced, the services you offer, the blog posts you’ve written that speaks to their issues. Then they look for you on social media to determine if you’re someone they want to work with. They go to YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, even Facebook to get a sense of who you are. All things being equal when considering legal counsel, social proof could be the qualifying factor.
Among the 18 Easy Ways to Use Social Proof in Your Marketing, from the folks at Buffer, who know a thing or two about social media, three standouts are:
- Show appreciation for mentions. We’ve talked about the power of a simple “like.”
- Curate user-generated content.
- Be responsive.
Check out the blog post for additional ideas with examples of each idea.
Finally, beware of negative social proof. When I listen to a podcast and a guest resonates, I go to Twitter to check out his or her feed and follow them. Or not. Occasionally their feed represents a different persona. Don’t be that person. I had a similar experience recently when helping a friend determine whether to go with one attorney over another for her legal problem. She asked me to validate someone who was separated by a few degrees of connection. I didn’t know the person’s work product but couldn’t recommend him based on what I discovered.
Doing good work is expected. It’s table stakes. Social proof can serve as a qualifier.