When you put two identical cookie jars at the same distance from an ant colony, the ants will empty one jar before moving on to the other. Why, you ask? The ants follow scent trails left by their fellow ants. When one discovers a delectable treat, it scampers back to the colony, leaving behind an aromatic trail. Other ants pick up on this trail and dutifully follow it. As more and more ants join the party, the scent becomes stronger, attracting even more of their comrades. That's a prime example of herding behaviour in the animal kingdom.
The situation grows slightly more complex with us humans due to our sophisticated cognitive abilities, but we unconsciously rely on collective wisdom as well.
Imagine yourself strolling past two adjacent Italian restaurants. One is teeming with enthusiastic customers, while the other is empty. You'd be inclined to join the queue at the bustling restaurant, assuming it's far superior to the other.
Likewise, you might be more inclined to drop a few coins into a donation box adorned with cash instead of its empty counterpart. You may decide to invest in a popular cryptocurrency due to tales of immense fortunes amassed by others. And on Black Friday, you might unwittingly succumb to a shopping frenzy, purchasing items you don't even need, all for fear of missing out on fantastic deals.
In such situations, we find ourselves swayed by social proof—the notion that if everyone else is doing it, it must be the right thing to do.
Now, when it comes to selling cars, you can't precisely corral a crowd of people in front of your dealership to coerce them into buying vehicles.
However, you can effectively showcase the popularity of selected models or services by demonstrating the vast numbers of individuals who have already purchased them. Positive ratings and reviews play a pivotal role in amplifying this herding effect.
Glowing testimonials from satisfied customers work wonders in general. When people observe that others are joyfully content with their purchases, they're more likely to believe they will experience similar satisfaction.
But a crowd does not always equate to excellence. Just because loads of cars are parked outside a garage does not guarantee exceptional service. It could simply mean their incompetence in getting them fixed in the first place.
Herding can lead to unwise decisions, too. Just because your competitors are all over TikTok and Instagram doesn't mean you must also hop on the bandwagon.
So ensure you strike the right balance between attracting the herds and being a sheep!