How to harvest the massive power of Social Proof

Social Proof – What is it?

We make many decisions every day.

Most of which very quickly.
Without putting too much thought into them. We quickly form an opinion about the impact of the choice and the potential effects of the decision.

In fact we have a part of our brain that is specialized in recognizing situations and feeding us similar memories and decisions from back then. We use those to make quick decisions.

Basically we compare and decide.

In brand new situations we lack relevant memories, so being the social animals that we are we like to see what other people do or did.
We tend to look at other people to decide how to behave, react or even feel.

This is what Social Proof is all about.

It’s a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation.

Examples of social proof

What is good?

When a new movie is applauded by the critic whose opinions you tend to like then you’ll be more likely to watch it even though the trailer didn’t quite catch your interest.

When there’s a long queue at a fun fair attraction you’re likely to assume it must be a cool ride!

When you’re planning a romantic night odds are that you’ll choose the restaurant with the great reviews.

When you’re at the carwash for the first time, you’re likely to choose the program that says “Popular choice”.

This mediocre looking guy that seems the center of attention of those stunning ladies must actually be pretty great!
“Pick up artists” have written whole books about this one and even use the same name for it!

53% of readers tweet the link of this article!

Menno Bieringa

Oh wow, 53%! … So maybe you should too!
(Really… you should!)

How to harvest the massive power of social proof

If you want to persuade or influence people to buy your product or to do that thing you need them to do then Social Proof is an awesome tool in your belt.

In written communication

  • Include testimonials from other customers
    Jolly Jon says: Eating at Wok ‘n Roll was the most memorable event of my life!
  • Include statements like 64% of our customers sign up for a free membership!
  • Include awards: Winner of the Best Customer Service aware 2021.
    You even see that affiliated companies invent awards that they give to each other so they can include in their communications.

In verbal communication

  • Include statements like 64% of our customers sign up for a free membership!
  • Refer to respected colleagues / people’s comments:
    The other day, Jill from Sales came up to me and told me how much she loves this idea!
  • Refer to a respected Media source:
    I read in The Onion that people who say yes more often live happier lives.

In Photos and Videos

Even without using words you can use social proof to your advantage. One of the best examples is using famous people in advertising

The Future of Celebrity Endorsement | by 14ideas | Medium
OMG! Rachel is drinking it too!

Or product placement.

brandchannel: 5 Questions: The State of Product Placement in Movies and TV
If the bear eats it then it ought to be good!

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