How the Social Proof Persuasion Technique Reoccurs Seamlessly Across Various Areas in Everyday Life

by Stephanie Chen

In this assignment, I decided to focus specifically on the social proof (consensus) persuasion technique, and strived to capture and reflect on the various strategies and tactics reoccurring across various areas in everyday life.

Social Proof

Based on the social proof persuasion technique and concept, people are more likely to say “yes” if they think that similar others are doing it due to the fact that many situations are ambiguous. During many times, people are unable to sort through all the pros and cons of each side or options before making decisions or taking actions. This results in a trend in which people commonly look to similar others as cues for the “right” behavior and get persuaded based on external factors or visible information.

Collection of Examples

Food Ordering – In my own experience, I tend to choose and order dishes listed in the “popular items”, “top selections”, or “chef’s suggestions” section in menus when eating at restaurants and when ordering food deliveries online. Without in-depth knowledge of every single dish the restaurants offer, I tend to be unconsciously persuaded to order items that are more commonly ordered by the others and as I feel that my selection from the list would more likely be delicious, acceptable, and less risky. 

Movie Selecting –Similar to food ordering, I am accustomed to searching up popular movies through sites such as the IMDb Box Office and ratings/reviews page showing top picks for me, and tend to be persuaded to pick which movies to watch based off what is most popular during the time.

Online Shopping – When shopping online, I usually look through reviews and ratings to seek approval from current/past users before making the decision to buy a certain product. I feel that if a product has been reviewed and recommended by a lot of people or sometimes even experts in the relevant field, people tend to be more likely to be persuaded to trust the reviews and think more highly of the product.

Hotel Staying –Through my recent stay in a hotel, I realized that a way which the social proof technique has been commonly implemented in business is to appeal to influencing guests’ behaviors is through drawing attention to a higher cause (such as emphasizing on “save the planet” to persuade guests to make the decision to reuse their towels). Also, with the sign stating “75% of guests in this room participated in our new resource saving program by using their towels more than once”, I felt bad if I don’t reuse my towels and thus was persuaded to do so.

Career Profile Developing – Through my frequent use of LinkedIn recently, I realized that the “Skills and Endorsement” section also seems to be demonstrating the concept of the social proof persuasion principle. Many people try to ask their connections for skills endorsement in hopes of persuading recruiters that they are very capable candidates through the comments and large number endorsements they have.

Overall, reflecting on these various examples and areas in which people are constantly being influenced by persuasion, I feel that I tend to fall in the norm and am usually being persuaded in someway when making decisions in everyday life.