“Social Proof” is a concept that existed long before the Internet. It is a large factor that demonstrates the influence and power of social opinion. “Social Proof” centers on the idea that if insufficient facts are present to make a reasoned decision, people turn to signals from other people to draw a conclusion – A.K.A. going with the crowd.
A Real-World Example of Social Proof
In an article titled “Why Social Proof is critical to online success,” Mark Schaefer explains the concept.
“Let’s say you are at the site of a terrible car wreck and two people are shouting orders,” Schaefer says. “One is wearing a doctor’s lab coat and one is wearing a pizza delivery uniform. Everybody else is following the doctor’s orders. Which direction are you likely to follow?”
He goes on to describe the concept of social proof “badges.” A social proof “badge” is an item that conveys power, and is socially accepted as such. It can bestow authority to a business or individual whether it is deserved or not.
Schaefer goes on to say, “The pizza delivery person might actually be an emergency specialist and the doctor could be an actor on his way to the television studio, but in a pinch, we tend to make decisions based on social proof.”
Social Proof in Social Media
Social Media is one of the best ways to confer social approval online. For example, a person seeking an attorney may view a law firm’s Facebook page and see that 50 people “Like” the page, but if another firm’s page has more “Likes,” the potential client may ultimately go with the client with more evidence of social approval or “Social Proof.”
This tempts some businesses to buy “Likes.” I cannot express this enough: don’t do this! While it boosts your social approval, this inorganic network will offer no benefits aside from the initial aesthetic appeal, and can even do harm by skewing your page’s analytic data.
On the other hand, an organic network can act as a word-of-mouth referral system between past, present and potential clients, allow people to interact with the firm, and display content and updates to real people, as opposed to bought-and-paid-for “bots.”
Think about it like this: if your network is inorganic, consisting of empty accounts that are just bots, it’s like giving a speech to a room full of mannequins. Mannequins don’t listen very well, nor do they share your content or interact with your profile.
If a law firm is lacking a Social Media presence altogether, it may have a negative effect on the firm’s overall marketing strategy. Social Media is becoming a social proof “badge,” similar to the doctor’s lab coat. With the rest of the world interacting through social media sites, your law firm cannot afford not to be. Here’s what we recommend:
- Get your social proof “badge” – display that other people give social approval of your firm;
- Humanize your firm – show potential clients that you are friendly and approachable;
- Showcase your knowledge – share news related to your geographical and practice areas, and highlight your expertise;
- Instill confidence in your firm by putting it in a social setting and allowing users to comment;
- Be aware of reputation management by finding out what others are saying about your business online and moderating comments via instant email notification;
- Drive more traffic back to your main site by creating networking relationships with past, present and potential clients.
Consultwebs.com administers top quality design, content and maintenance for Social Media profiles on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Hubpages, LinkedIn and Scribd.
If you have more questions regarding Social Media or “Social Proof,” contact Consultwebs.com today at (800) 872-6590 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.