Social Proof in Online Dating Profiles

What if there was a way to influence potential online daters to perceive you and your Plenty of Fish profile as more attractive? There is a way, it may not be up some people's alley, but we're going to take a look anyways.

There is a concept in psychology called Social Proof. Social proof is essentially a phenomenon that occurs when the consensus of others has an influence on the thoughts of a person. Hence, it is society giving us proof of a decision. This concept was made famous by Robert Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

A good example of social proof is the idea of "canned" laughter that we often hear on sitcoms. Though we probably tend to think it is annoying, at least I do, there has been research conducted by television producers that say canned laughter in a show will have a higher perceived "funniness" than the same show without the canned laughter. This is social proof at work, as the laughter is the proof that is influencing a person's decision on whether the show is funny or not.

So what does this have to do with online dating? Actually the better question is, how can social proof help me in my online dating?

Luckily there are a number of dating gurus who have been testing this concept on a number of social media and online dating websites. Let's take a look at some of these concepts and see how they can be applied to your Plenty of Fish dating profile.

Using Prop Profile Pictures

A prop picture is a picture with you either doing something really interesting or in an interesting place. The point to using prop pictures in your online dating profile is to help convey higher value or status. 

For example, if you've ever been on vacation or traveled to an interesting place, lets say Paris, then putting up a picture of you standing in front of the Eiffel tower is going to help convey desirable qualities about you. It shows that you like to travel, that you are adventurous and that you like to have fun. And displaying these values goes a lot farther using pictures than it ever would by simply writing it in your 'About Me' section.

Getting Testimonials on Your Profile

We've all seen sales pages or commercials with testimonials from various people about how great a product is. This is a common marketing tactic which uses social proof and there is a reason that testimonies are commonly used for these purposes - because they work! Well, what if we applied the same principle to our profiles?

On the bottom of every PlentyofFish dating profile there is a section in which other people can write a testimony about you and it can be from anyone who has an account on PlentyofFish.com. Now this might be a problem for some people because they don't know anyone who would write a testimony for them.

One way to get these is to simply ask a good friend of yours of the opposite sex. For example, I recently asked a girl I've known for about ten years now and is one of my best friends if she could quickly sign-up for Plenty of Fish and write me a glowing testimonial of how super fun and awesome I am:) Well, because she is such a great friend, she pulled through and wrote a great testimony which now acts as social proof for me.


Another form of social proof which I've talked about in the past is the number of Favorites that is listed at the bottom of your profile. Favorites are essentially like a bookmark for people who find your profile attractive or interesting. It's almost like a positive vote for your profile and the higher the number your Favorites is, then the more it is likely to act as social proof. For instance, when someone scrolls down the page and sees that you have a huge number of favorites than they will be more likely to take a closer look at the profile.

Of course, there isn't really any good way of manipulating this number to make it higher, so you'll just have to work hard on creating a great dating profile and let that number increase naturally.


  1. Anonymous2:19 PM

    In online dating, there is such as absence of real information, social proof or proof by association or demonstration carries significant weight.
    It is only effective in the absence of real information of course. This fact can be defeating for some people. For instance, people who have achieved a certain level in life, whether personal, business or other WILL NOT be swayed by this effect, as they are aware of their own realities. Social proof, when used in this way is a form of confidence bluff and as such will only work on those of a lesser level of achievement or whatever the bluff is addressing. That is, the bluff will only work on those that are easily impressed.
    You will find, people on dating sites who do indeed bring a lot of the table, will not push out the social proof factor, as they assume, a person they would be interested in, will not be impressed and hence LOWER than own social proof factor. Of course this is a form of establishing social proof as well.
    Looking through online dating sites to see how people present themselves is quite interesting. I see many people (male/female) making such obvious mistakes of presentation and targeting. The really interesting part is, IF, how you choose to present yourself is significantly different the a member of the opposite sex, THEN they will see each other as incompatible, even though the is no reason to reach that conclusion.
    It is not surprising that people, after using online dating sites for a while, revert to saying little about themselves as it will quickly limit your target audience in unpredictable ways.
    I would expect that those profiles, that exhibit a high social proof and hence receive a high number of favorites/email, would be getting a lot of that attention from individuals that are of lesser "quality". No one else, would be impressed by it.
    Social proof works on this premise of the way humans think. The quality of information cam be superseded by the quantity of partial information. This trick is used heavily by marketing/government or any group trying to persuade another group. It only works on people with limited information on the subject matter.
    This trick is even used quite heavily on online dating to sites to convince people online dating is an effective means of finding long term partners. POF is littered with little bits of partial information to convince people its' effective.

  2. My friend is a club promoter who hangs out with models and famous people. You can bet that he has those pictures up on his profile! Even if you don't have this kind of access, you can still put up pictures with you and girls doing different things.

  3. I love that book by Robert Cialdini! I heart social psychology! Foot in the door technique, the power of signing a petition, used car salesman tricks... Networking is important.

    There should be canned laughter on some of the dating profiles I've seen. :)

  4. I'd like to mention that I saw a few attractive or "slutty" girls with shoddy profiles and a ridiculous number of favourites, which actually turned me away from them. I don't feel there is even a chance she'd care for my message, much less read my profile and be interested in me with busloads of men flying at her hourly. On the other hand, maybe not being a perv like most of those men would make me stick out. However, she's probably asking for all that.

  5. These are some great ideas on using social proof to get more online dating success! As a dating coach, I'd like to add one of my own tips:

    Link to your own personal blog on your online dating profile.


    On your own blog, you can do anything you want!

    - Put photos of you and your family on the blog
    - Put photos of you and your friends (including female friends) on the blog
    - Some photos of you and your colleagues
    - You can write blogs of how you did XYZ with your family/friends or whatever

    These all create social proof... AND... everyone who comments on one of your blogs?

    Creates social proof for you too!

    There's much more you can do by linking to your own blog: you can put photos on it of you growing up for example.

    The secret here is that the better someone feels she knows you (and the better she likes what she reads/sees), the easier she'll go out on a date with you.

    Women decide how far things go at the end of the day based on how comfortable they feel around you as a man, how safe they feel around you, and on how trustworthy you seem to be.

    Nothing makes a woman feel these 3 things better than a personal blog that tells your life's story.

    To More Dating Success,

    Dennis Miedema
    Win With Women


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