Most people have heard the term “social proof,” and you certainly read about it online a lot.
But what is it really? And more importantly, how does it work?
Most everything that’s is our brains is there because it helped us survive before the invention of agriculture.
Not only that, but these instincts are unconscious, meaning that we rarely know they’re working.
Meaning when we choose to do something because of social proof, we almost always think it’s for a different reason.
That “other reason” is just an after the fact label we’ve put on our behavior. They aren’t the cause of our actions.
We never say to ourselves, “Hmm, everybody else is doing this, so I think I should, too!”
After all, back when we were cavemen, we didn’t say to ourselves, “Hey, everybody seems to be migrating North, I think it’d be a good idea if I did the same thing.”
We just felt compelled to go along with the crowd without much thought. Those that needed to be convinced, or those contrarians who thought they’d survive on their own didn’t leave behind many offspring.
Consequently, all of us to day have that deep, unconscious desire to “follow the crowd.”
The paradox is while most everybody has a deep unconscious instinct to “follow the crowd,” most of us also like to think of ourselves as free thinking individuals who DON’T follow the crowd.
So if you’re doing any kind of persuading, and you’re using social proof, it’s best to follow the first rule of Fight Club:
Never Talk About Fight Club!
Which means you should always imply social proof, never use it as a selling point directly.
That way, it will be much more effective.