The Great Invisible Wall Experiment — Or the Power of Social Influence

I had a friend in college who used to demonstrate a funny trick at parties. While standing around talking, he’d bounce up and down on his heels. If he did it alone, people would look at him like he was nuts. But if he could get just one other person to bounce with him, others would start to join in. Only after people were bouncing, they’d say, “Why are we doing this?”

I was reminded of this phenomenon, by a video my pal Jonathan Perez at Sure Fire Web Services shared with me on Facebook recently.

In the video, two people walk down a normal sidewalk and pretend to slam right into an invisible wall.

Here’s the crazy part…

Even when they have no reason to believe that something is hanging in mid-air, bystanders actually duck and move out of the way!

The confirmation of a second person is what really sells it.

People will disregard what they are seeing with their own eyes, if they see evidence to the contrary from other humans.

What does this all have to do with marketing?

The Power of Social Influence

People will be much more likely to trust you and your solution, if they see that others have had a positive experience.

You can use this to your advantage by providing social proof on your website.

Here are just some of the ways you can demonstrate social proof:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Reviews
  3. Logos of your clients or partners
  4. Social media likes and shares
  5. Videos of people using your product or service

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.

I don’t suggest you use these techniques to convince people to buy something they don’t need, or something that’s a sham or doesn’t work. People are smart enough to see through that quickly. And once burned by you, they will never trust you again.

But to get people’s attention, and ease their concerns, social proof is a great way to show you can help them.


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