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In Robert Cialdini’s amazing book, Influence, he talks about the principle of "social proof." According to Cialdini, the principle states, “one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.”
This explains why canned laughter in TV shows makes us think the shows are funnier (even though we all think the actual laugh track is annoying). And it also explains why you’re more likely to tip at a bar or coffee shop if there’s already money in the jar. We take cues from what’s going on around us.
Canned laugher in TV shows is annoying, but effective
To show us an example of the power of social proof, we used this week’s UserTesting Tuesday to see what we could learn from SEOmoz.org. We asked three testers to do the one thing on the site that they’d want to do. Surprisingly, all three testers had extreme reactions when they stumbled upon one particular page.
It universally caused swearing and bad grammar.
Task: Think of one thing that you'd want to do on this site. Try to do that one thing.
Watch The Video: SEOmoz Social Proof Highlight Reel
Enough from me…what did you take away from the highlight reel? What are your favorite examples of social proof? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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