The Power of Positive Social Proof

Positive Social Proof

Why Is Positive Social Proof Important?

You’re walking down a busy city street and turn the corner only to see a small crowd of people all looking up in the air, at a point across and above the street. What are the odds you’ll be able to stop yourself before looking up to see what they’re all staring it? I know for me, it’s almost impossible…and I’ve tried!

Similarly, in movies and TV shows, it’s easier to laugh along when we hear the show’s laugh-track. I once watched a funny old movie with no laugh-track, and the child I was watching with didn’t know what was funny. We take our cues from others.

It’s the same online. One of the main reasons that people make a choice is because they have “social proof” that others have done so before. It’s a strong motivator.


“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” Ken Blanchard


Whether you are a business, a blogger, or an individual with career aspirations, you should be harnessing the power of positive social proof. The concept is not a new one, but its importance continues to grow both for businesses and individuals.

Wikipedia defines it this way: “Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s famous work on persuasion called this phenomenon out as a particularly effective marketing tactic. His book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a must-read classic.

We tend to adopt as correct the behavior of others around us.


“Leadership is an action, not a position.” –Donald McGannon


Positive social proof:


Helps you stand out. Competition isn’t slowing down, isn’t letting up, and isn’t taking a break. If you want your business to get noticed, then social proof is one way to do it. With more sources competing for our attention every day, it’s vital to differentiate your offering from everything else.

Improves your success metrics. Studies show that we are more likely to share something that others are also sharing. We watch what we see others are watching. Visit a new town and you see two restaurants side-by-side. One has an empty lot and the other has a line wrapped around the block. Which one appeals to you?

Builds credibility. Unless you are already an established expert, a bestselling author, or a of host a worldwide talk show, it helps to build credibility. In Nashville, I see many up and coming music artists using quotes from famous musicians. Authors routinely ask for endorsements for book jacket quotes. Businesses include testimonials from others. All of these are ways to differentiate and add credibility.


“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” –Vince Lombardi


YOU Need Social Proof

Some of you may say, “Sure, I can see that building social proof matters for a business. But it’s not something I need to think about.”

Think again.

If you want to increase your chances of promotion, see higher raises, or reduce your chances of getting let go from your organization, you should use some elements of social proof. Do you have a marketing plan for YOU? Today, you must promote yourself.

You don’t need to blatantly self-promote. No one likes an egotistical, self-centered know-it-all. But, if I want the boss to choose me for a new project, how do I keep my name out there? How do I stand out? It may not be a blog, but it may be that you wrote an article in your company newsletter or an industry publication. It may be that you are speaking at a customer event. And there is nothing better than the word of mouth social proof because you delivered a key project or pitched in to help when it wasn’t even your responsibility. When your colleagues are buzzing about your performance, that is the best social proof possible. There are many ways to build your social proof as an individual.


“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” –Mother Teresa


Your Website Benefits From Social Proof

Recently, one marketer sent me a list of the ways I have used positive social proof on this blog. Here is what she shared (with my explanation).

Shares. On the top of each post, you can see the number of shares. Here’s where I ran into a problem last week. Because I have preferred Twitter to other social media, my Twitter shares are higher than others like LinkedIn or Facebook. Recently, Twitter made a strange, surprising, and I think wrong move by removing counts from everyone’s websites. That turns some posts that were shared by the thousands to showing nothing overnight. Why they did this is answered in a strange post, but I still don’t quite understand it. And, for the record, it alienated a large community of content creators who are now rethinking strategies for Facebook and LinkedIn over Twitter.


Does it matter? Adele recently smashed records with the release of 25, becoming the best-selling album in the US of any single week. Large numbers create even more numbers. What would have happened if just as her sales took off Nielsen made a decision like Twitter and just zeroed out the sales?


“A true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success.” –Cullen Hightower


Awards. These are listed on the right side. I haven’t included all of the kind awards, but I did include many of them. They are a form of social proof.

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” -Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

15 Thanksgiving Quotes to Start the Holiday Season

Happy Thanksgiving Quotes


Thanksgiving is here in the United States. Even outside of the USA, you can benefit from a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude. Here are fifteen quotes to get you started:


“Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.” –Amy Grant


“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then they discover once a year is way too often.” –Johnny Carson




“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” –Marcus Samuelsson


“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” –W.J. Cameron


“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not coincidence.” –Erma Bombeck


“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” –Irv Kupcient


“Thanksgiving Day comes…once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” –Edward Sandford Martin



“I like football. It’s a great way to avoid conversation with your family at Thanksgiving.” –Craig Ferguson

3 Keys to Tap the Power of Gratitude

  1. Emote: feel the emotion.
  2. Extend: give gratitude to include other people.
  3. Exercise: do your daily gratitude exercise.

Having an attitude of gratitude is often a key to our happiness and success. In this talk, Jane Ransom shares the 3 keys of gratitude.


“Gratitude frees us from emotional pain.” -Jane Ransom


“Gratitude replaces victimhood with joy.” -Jane Ransom


“If you want to feel more emotional joy, choose gratitude.” -Jane Ransom


“When you practice gratitude, you change yourself. And when you change yourself, you change the world.” -Jane Ransom