Social proof is a phenomenon in which people seek examples and influence from other individuals or groups in order to decide on an appropriate action or to formulate an opinion. Currently, it is most often applied to activity in the social media world but it was actually first described back in the 1980s. Today, we at The Tower Group use the term Social proof to describe our tendency to check what the group thinks and does about a particular matter before we decide for ourselves.
Social Proof in the Modern Context
In the social media era, social proof manifests in the way we investigate people’s social media accounts, counting likes and friends and checking comments from other platform users, in order to help us draw a conclusion on what we think about the person in question.
In recent times, seeking social proof on these platforms has become a common practice among recruiters. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 60% of recruiters check candidates’ social media accounts when drawing up shortlists. What purpose does this serve?
Social Proof Provides an Easy Testimonial Reference
Essentially, social proof provides a quick and easy way to check references on a candidate. When recruiters peruse a candidate’s Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, they should be able to get an open and “unfakeable” history of their career and achievements, hopefully, backed up by a good list of friends and followers and not only expressed in the words and thoughts of the applicant him or herself.
Storytelling Through Social Proof
If candidates manage their social media accounts well, then a good story will form on their feeds and histories which will give recruiters some decent insight into their past and potential. A lack of a good social media presence often translates to a lack of social proof, which can – not always, but often – lead to a candidate’s application being sent to the bottom of the pile.
Social proof is not the only consideration when a recruiter assesses an application but it is becoming increasingly more important in the age of social media. It, therefore, pays to manage your social media platforms well and make sure that they reflect well on you, and tell the story your career and vocational future need them to tell.
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