Social Proof: More Than Just a Herd Mentality

Just like sheep, people like to follow the crowd. It's an instinct that helps us survive and thrive. But is it just a herd mentality? Or is there something more to it?

Even in our highly individualistic culture, most of us prefer to fit in and conform to social norms. When faced with making a choice, we tend to be reassured by the "Most Popular Items" section on a website.

                                               As this video shows, we are highly influenced by the choices of others - even when we don't fully understand them.      


'Social Proof' is a psychological phenomenon wherein people are more likely to do something if they see others doing it. The term was coined by Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which is the result of decades of evidence-based research. (Briefly, the Seven Principles of Influence are: Reciprocation, Commitment and consistency, Social proof, Liking, Authority, Scarcity and unity)

There are a few reasons why social proof is so effective. When feeling indecisive or unsure about what action to take, people look at the behaviour of others. It gives us a sense of certainty - when we see others doing something, it reassures us that it's the right thing to do. Additionally, social proof appeals to our desire to belong - we want to be part of the group and are more likely to do things that we think will help us fit in.

There are a number of different ways that social proof can be used in your marketing to persuade a hesitant potential customer to buy your product or service, or to take other desired actions.

For example

Social Proof is a powerful force that can influence our decisions in everything from what we buy to what we believe. Remember, if you need assistance with any of aspect of marketing your rural business, Scene and Herd will be happy to discuss this with you.