Social Proof Is The New Marketing, Says Prominent VC Aileen Lee

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By Aileen Lee (Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) As I’ve written before, we’re in an amazing period of the consumer Internet. Despite a shaky economy, many web companies are in hypergrowth. This is reminiscent of the five-year period over a decade ago when companies like Amazon, Netscape, eBay, Yahoo, Google and PayPal were built.

One challenge, which isn’t new, is the battle for consumer attention. If you’re looking to grow your user base, is there a best way to cost-effectively attract valuable users? I’m increasingly convinced the best way is by harnessing a concept called social proof, a relatively untapped gold mine in the age of the social web.

What is social proof? Put simply, it’s the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. It’s also known as informational social influence.

Wikipedia describes social proof as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior for a given situation... driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more information about the situation.”

In other words, people are wired to learn from the actions of others, and this can be a huge driver of consumer behavior.

» Read the full article at TechCrunch.