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55 Examples of Social Proof

 , updated on April 19, 2023
Social proof is the use of social information in human judgement. This includes direct social information such as a recommendation from a friend. Social proof also includes any information that hints at social status such as popularity. The following are common examples.
A post that receives many comments
Accreditation from respected organizations
An active social life
Appearing to have many friends
Association with a popular trend
Association with high status institutions
Association with high status people
Association with symbols of social status such as luxury brands
Awards and recognition
Being a household name
Being accepted into / graduating from a top university
Being featured in media
Being friends with popular people
Being introduced by a high status person
Being mentioned
Being respected by someone who is respected
Being the center of attention
Celebrities in advertisements
Celebrities who use a product
Collaborating with high status people, firms, institutions or brands
Countersignaling whereby you pretend to criticize yourself to highlight your status
Critical acclaim
Formal authority
Having a large fan base
Having many friends
Having socially valued characteristics such as intelligence or good looks
Having the mannerisms associated with high status such as the upper class
Influencers who endorse or promote a product
Knowing people in power or with formal authority
Media coverage
Name dropping to indicate your association with a high status person
Number of connections/friends on social media
Number of social media followers
Number of subscribers
Often being invited to parties or events
Often recognizing people you know, an indication of popularity
Online reviews and recommendations
People have heard about you from multiple sources multiple times
Power and position
Product placements in films
Professional reputation
Public speaking exposure
Ratings from users
Recommendations from a friend
Respect from peers
Seeing people using a product or service
Seeing people wearing a brand
Signaling wealth with photographs and images of yourself
Signaling wealth with spending on symbols of wealth
Signaling wealth with words such as social media posts
Social media likes and shares
The number of people who attend your events
The number of people who go to your party
Wealth and privilege
Word of mouth
In many cases, social information has value as it allows people to consider the opinions of a community in decision making. If a friend tends to have the same taste in music as yourself, you might use their suggestions to find appealing new artists. Despite the potential power of social information, it also has a dark side. For example, social proof is associated with unquestioning conformity, illogical herd behavior and shallow judgements based on factors such as physical appearance.

Social Proof In Advertising

Social proof is commonly used to explain the effectiveness of ads featuring people with social status such as celebrity, wealth, political power, notable reputation or physical attractiveness.

Social Proof In Communication

Social proof is often used as a technique of influence and persuasion. These approaches can be valid such as using an authority on a topic as a reference. However, they also include habits that have negative connotations such as name dropping in an attempt to elevate social status.

Social Proof & Reputation

Reputation is a type of social proof. Someone who is well known, highly visible and respected within an industry, organization or team typically enjoys significant influence. In some cases, an individual with an infamous reputation also garners influence simply because they are so well known.
More about social status:
Building Trust
Community Behavior
Formal Authority
Name Dropping
Social Proof
Social Status
Word Of Mouth
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