Dec 26, 2021

Social proof shortcut

What do you do if you don’t have social proof to point to? What if you just started a company or released a new product that has nothing impressive to talk about in terms of market share, sales numbers, or general popularity to this point?

You definitely shouldn’t lie and the other levers of influence will work for you but there is still a way for you to use social proof. Instead of relying on evidence of existing social proof, a communicator can do at least as well by relying on evidence of future social proof.

When we notice a change, we expect the change will likely continue in the same direction when it appears as a trend. Even though only a minority of people might be engaging in something, if people learn that within that minority, more and more others are engaging in it, they jump on the bandwagon and begin enacting the behavior too.

Because we assume they will continue in the same direction, trends don’t just tell us where others’ behaviors have been and are now, we think they also tell us where others’ behaviors will be. Thus, trends give us access to a special and potent form of social proof—future social proof.

If over a reasonable period of time, you have evidence of growing popularity, you should make that fact the central feature of your messaging because, as your audiences will presume, such evidence will be an indicator of genuine worth and future popularity.