Social Proof, exactly what is it?.
“Social proof, also known as social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation.”
When people talk about “Social Proof” they tend to talk about the positive side of it. For example, if you have two restaurants side by side, let's call them Wendy's and Harvey's. Harvey's is always empty but Wendy's is always “heaving” with people, even though we might not like the idea of eating food in such a busy restaurant, the idea that “everyone else” has chosen to eat in Wendy's influences us to probably make the decision to eat there too.
We instantly assume that as everyone is in Wendy's, and no one is in Harvey's, Harvey's must “Suck” and Wendy's must be great.
Now, this may or may not be the case. Maybe a large proportion of all the customers in Wendy's are friends with one of the staff there and they just like hanging out in a restaurant where their friend works. Maybe Harvey's make the best burgers, but people go to Wendy's for the “friendly” atmosphere.. who knows?
Social Proof – The ULTIMATE Power
I'm now going to show you just how powerful Social Proof can be in a negative way, this may very well SHOCK you, so I hope you are sitting down. All information contained in these 7 deadly facts have been drawn from the book., “Influence” by Robert B. Cialdini.
1). Suicide. It has been shown that when certain kinds of suicide stories are highly publicised, within the area of influence to that story (T.V or Newspaper), the amount of suicides increase. If the person concerned was a young male, the amount of young males committing suicide would go up.
It is almost as if publicising suicide, triggers a “copycat” reaction in some suicide prone people. If the story being shown was of a young woman, the suicide rate amongst young women would go up immediately after that story is released and for several days afterwards.
2). TV or Film Star Suicide. Shockingly, when a suicide becomes highly publicised, and it is related to a famous person, this can trigger a series of unusual events. It has been found that when a famous person has committed suicide, this can lead to an outpouring from their loyal followers that can actually lead to more accidents on the road and air.
A person's loyalty to a particular person can trigger extreme lack of concentration on both the road and in the air which would explain an unusual amount of accidents occurring on hearing of a person's death.
Stories of suicides where only one person dies generate car wrecks of where only one person dies, stories of suicide – multiple murder combinations, generate wrecks where multiple people are involved. This “Social Proof” of suicide and murder has far reaching effects, some of which can never be explained.
There is a Sociologist at the University of California at San Diego who thinks he has found the answer.
Social Proof – The Werther Effect
More than two centuries ago, a great man of German Literature “Johann von Goethe” published a novel called “Die Leiden des jungen Werthers” (The Sorrows of Young Werther). The hero of the book, named Werther, commits suicide. This sparked a wave of copycat suicides across Europe, and several countries had to ban the novel.
The “Werther” effect is still very much alive in today's modern world. This unfortunately is the downside of social proof.
3). Social Proof in the Street. Getting help. Did you know that you are far more likely to receive help in an emergency situation from the public if there are “less” people there than when there is “more”. Amazingly so, but true.
It has been proven that if you need help and there are several people walking by, people tend to only act if someone else acts. Most of the time this leads to confusion as without social proof, people are not always sure whether in fact they should act because of doubts that a real emergency exists.
This is why social studies have shown that a man needing help in the street can often be confused by onlookers a a man who is in fact drunk. People look to others for “social proof” and as one person turns and walks on, so do others. This may at first had show that we just simply “don't care” and for some this is true, however studies show that if you DO need help and you focus on one individual to help you, you are far more likely to receive help.
The strange thing is, once one person offers help, it is often the case that many members of the passing crowd will offer help. Once social proof has been made, people tend to act. However in a crowd situation, if no one seems to act, the rest of the crowd will ignore the problem.
4). Canned Laughter. I don't know anyone who likes canned laughter. In fact, some well known TV comic actors have asked that it be taken out as it brings a “False” element to a TV Show. Tv Producers however, insist on keeping it in. Here's why. Research has shown that if an audience is exposed to canned “merriment”, the viewer is likely to not only laugh more often at the material, but also for longer, this is why we still have it in our shows even though people (including the actors) hate it.
5). It's a SCAM! This piece of “Social Proof” affects everyone who is involved in anything to do with making money. Let's take our own online businesses for instance. There are always people out there crying “Scam”. People are heavily influenced by such things as “Phishing Scams”. This is where scam artists deliberately try to get you to divulge your financial details in order for you to rectify a “problem” with your account.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with your account. The scammers just want to rip you off and empty your account after you divulge your personal details. There are other scams both online and off, however people also call network marketing companies “Scams” too.
Often or not, this is not a scam at all, however if a person has a rough ride with a particular company. Maybe he or she was expecting to make money very quickly for doing nothing (a common misconception online), and nothing happened, it wouldn't take much influence for that person to quickly label that company a scam.
By repeating this to other people, a good company can often get tarnished as a scam as people tend to spread bad news more quickly than good. Labelling a company a scam is also justification (quite wrongly) to some people who never made any money because they did nothing to make it work.
People also look for “Social Proof” to back up their opinion, regardless of whether their opinion is correct or not. This is why, if you cry “Scam” people will go on repeating it, even if they have no proof whatsoever.
I think every online company, (especially network marketing companies) has been labelled a “scam” at some time or another, however figures show that very few online companies actually ARE scams. Yes, there are some, but very few, compared to the amount of companies online.
People tend to start untrue rumours about companies online, to get some kind of satisfaction from their inadequate efforts. This is not true 100% of the time, as scams do exist online as they do in any area of life.
6) Children's Behaviour. Child Psychologist Robert O'Connor came up with some striking evidence of Social Proof amongst preschool children who were showing tendency's of a long term pattern of favouring isolation. O'Connor was particularly concerned about pre schoolers who were showing discomfort in social situations.
O'Connor created a film about 11 different scenes in a nursery school setting. Each scene started by showing a different solitary child watching some ongoing social activity, and then joining the group to everyone's enjoyment. O'Connor selected a group of the most severely withdrawn children from four preschools and showed them the film.
The impact was very impressive. After visiting the same four preschools some six weeks later, the isolated children who watched the film, began to interact with their peers at a level equal to normal children in the schools. However, the children who were not shown the film carried on being as withdrawn as before. This 23 minute film viewed just once was enough to reverse a pattern of maladaptive behaviour.
Social proof can be very powerful. Even in Children.
7) Why you don't sell anything. I purposely saved this till last as I think this will be of special interest to my online marketing friends. People buy from people who are doing what the buyer wants to do. Let me clarify this. If you are trying to sell a system to a person to make money, and you appear to be broke. The person won't buy it.
Here are some pointers in order to get the sale.
People need social proof that you are in fact doing what it says in the product. In other words if you are talking about showing THEM how to make money and you are not making money yourself, people are unlikely to buy from you. It's like asking people to buy diet pills and you yourself are very overweight. Something is not right.
So, how can you overcome this if you yourself haven't made a sale yet?. This is easy, talk about someone else's success. Show people the “Social Proof” of others.
The next very important thing when selling your product. If your prospect can't see themselves doing it, they won't buy it. Help them imagine what their life would be like once they buy your product. Help them see themself using the product. The more of a positive buzz you can create at the point of sale, the more likely a person is to say YES.
Social proof can work for or against us when selling anything. No one wants to be the first person to buy that product. Show other people using that product and having success with it. At the end of the day, it's up to us. Ask yourself, would you buy from you?
So there you have it. 7 intriguing Social proof facts. The more we understand Social Proof, the more we can use it in our favour. I know this sounds obvious but there are some elements of Social Proof that are often quite “dark”. The human Psyche is often a mystery, but with practice, you can use Social Proof for good
Hopefully you share your results in your business, no matter how small. This is a good way to demonstrate social proof. When enough people see it working for you and people truly believe this, you shouldn't have trouble bringing them into your business.
If you would like to work with me personally, I can show you how to create an online income and help you move forward with your life. WHY?. because life is short, if you are sick and tired of doing what you are doing, without getting results, I think I can help you. Apply here
Peace and Prosperity
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