Tag Archives: Social Proof

LinkedIn’s Top % Award – What It Really Says About You

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Love it or hate it, this is a clever little bit of marketing that has divided LinkedIn members.

With LinkedIn now with 200 million profiles – notice that I didn’t say users – LinkedIn decided to reward their most active subscribers with a formal badge of honour.

Look at me! Oh wait hang on a second….

Let’s quickly do some sums here though to understand what it actually means. I have seen several subscribers proudly displaying their “I’ve in the top 10% of LinkedIn” so I thought it was worth breaking down what this actually is.

20% of 200 million = 40 million received these “awards”

10% of 200 million = 20 million received these “awards”

5% of 200 million = 10 million received these “awards”

1% of 200 million = 2 million received these “awards”

To give this a little perspective on this:

20 million people live in New York, California, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas……combined.

Or

40 million people is the total population of Argentina

Here Come The “how to be as successful as me on LinkedIn” Services

So why have so many people posted this accomplishment? This has routes in our deeper psychology and self image. We all want to be respected and acknowledged for our contribution and without LinkedIn naming publicly the most viewed profiles they have given their subscribers to do the job for them.

This makes the top percenters feel somewhat exclusive – part of an elite on LinkedIn. It can also have the effect of those who did not receive an award a sense of desire to achieve this badge of honour.

As with all awards it often presents more questions than it answers. For which there is always a market. I expect that there are already some savy social marketers who have started work on their new product “how to be a 5%er on LinkedIn”.

Social proof

And this is why social media will continue to grow. One of our natural mentalities is that of belonging to a pack. In the psychology of influencing social proof is one of the most effective forms of influencing someone – “how many twitter followers do you have?”, “how many LinkedIn connections do you have?” etc. We are hard wired to believe to go with the majority. Social proof isn’t just psychology – it’s biology.

Without getting too scientific our brains evolved over millions of years – developing our use of social proof. It is only in the last few thousand years that the prefrontal cortex developed to provide rational, cognitive thought. And those who say “I’m not swayed by what everyone else does” is engaging this part of their brain.

There are other aspects of influencing psychology that this campaign develops upon very well. But these will have to wait for another time.

Finally consider this:

I was reminded this from a friend high up in the entertainment industry: “Don’t believe your own hype”. Be proud of your accomplishments, your achievements, your contributions and your successes. But be proud of the right ones for the right reasons.