Social Norms

Understanding and leveraging shared behaviors to influence group actions.

What it is

Social norms are unwritten rules about how to behave in a particular social group or culture. They provide a key to understanding social influence in general and conformity in particular. Social norms are the accepted standards of behavior of social groups. These groups range from friendship and workgroups to nation-states. Behavior which fulfills these norms is called conformity, and most of the time roles and norms are powerful ways of understanding and predicting what people will do.

How to use it

1. Highlighting the Number of Users or Subscribers

One of the most common ways to use social norms to increase conversions, retention, and engagement for a tech startup is to highlight the number of users or subscribers. This is a form of social proof, which is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of correct behavior. For instance, if a tech startup displays on its landing page that it has over a million users, newcomers are more likely to sign up because they perceive the service to be popular and trusted by many.

2. Showcasing Testimonials and Reviews

Another effective method is showcasing testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. These serve as indicators of the startup's credibility, reliability, and the quality of its product or service. This practice taps into the social norm of seeking others' opinions and experiences before making a purchase decision. Hence, having positive reviews and testimonials can significantly boost the conversion rate and the retention of existing users.

3. Displaying User Activity

Displaying user activity can also help in leveraging social norms for a tech startup. For example, showing the number of active users, the number of tasks completed, or the number of projects created can create a sense of community and active engagement around the product or service. This can motivate new users to join and existing users to stay active, thereby increasing both conversions and retention.

4. Implementing a Referral Program

Referral programs can be another effective way to use social norms to increase conversions. People are more likely to try a new product or service if it's recommended by someone they trust. By offering rewards for referrals, startups can incentivize their existing users to promote their product or service to their friends, family, and colleagues, thereby increasing their user base.

5. Encouraging Community Engagement

A tech startup can increase engagement by creating a sense of community among its users. This can be done through forums, webinars, user groups, or social media platforms where users can share their experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other. This uses the social norm of community involvement to foster a deeper connection between the users and the startup, thereby increasing user engagement.

6. Using Gamification Techniques

Using gamification techniques can be another effective way to apply social norms to increase conversions, retention, and engagement. Leaderboards, badges, points, and rewards can motivate users to engage more with the product or service. This taps into the social norm of competition and the desire for recognition, thus driving user engagement and retention.

Want to learn more?

Decoding the Why explores how high growth companies can integrate the power of behavioral science to unlock product & go-to-market strategies.

Use promo code Patent355 to receive a free eBook and Kindle copy.

get free copy
Cover of Decoding the Why book

More Behavioral Design Theories

Identifiable Victim Effect

Emotional response to individual suffering boosts charitable behavior.

Bottom-Dollar Effect

Psychological phenomenon favoring final units in a sequence of consumption.

Anchoring Bias

A cognitive bias where initial information heavily influences decision-making.

Attentional Bias

Focus on certain aspects while ignoring others due to personal relevance.

Leveling and Sharpening

A psychological process influencing distortion and simplification of memories.

Ostrich Effect

Ignoring problematic situations in hopes they'll resolve themselves.