Social Proof

Social Proof

What is the Social Proof story tactic?

You're in a busy room. Suddenly a fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

You don't calmly pick up your stuff and head for the fire exit. You look at other people. If everyone's heading for the door, you will too. If nobody moves, you'll assume it's just a drill. In uncertain situations, we watch other people. Stories about other people's behaviour act as "social proof"when you're trying to influence someone else.

Try this card before preparing your Pitch Perfect.

How to use the Social Proof story tactic

  1. Trends:

    • What data can you present showing that lots of people are acting in a certain way?

    • Is there an Early Adopter who could be worth watching? (see Innovation Curve)

    • Remember: Zoom Out to show the big picture, then Zoom In to show an individual example (see Data Detectives)

  2. Prototypes:

    • What kind of tests and trials have you run with your project?
      How did people react?

    • Remember: don't just get verbal reactions, watch how people behave. (check out Abstractions)

  3. Testimonials:

    Five star reviews are great, but testimonials are better. Trouble is, we don't like asking for them (it feels a bit needy). And people write pretty bland stuff like "good service."What you need is a little story. So try asking these questions:

    • Was there one thing you really liked about [x]?

    • Was there one moment when you thought "yes, I made the right decision working with these folks."?

    • What would you say to persuade a friend to work with us?

Credit: R.Cialdini, Persuasion.

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Social Proof is one of 54 storytelling recipe cards inside the Storyteller Tactics card deck.

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