Have you seen this video?


It’s quite simple. A crowd sits placidly on the ground at a festival while an act performs off camera. One man, perhaps a little worse for wear, stands up and begins throwing some serious shapes to the music. At first the crowd laugh at or ignore him. Then something magical begins to happen. One man gets up and begins dancing with the first. Then another, and another. Before long a huge crowd of revellers has gathered, all dancing with gleeful abandon. The atmosphere in the crowd has been transformed from bored disinterest to carefree fun.

As Derek Sivers’ voiceover so compellingly describes, this video is a great example of why looking after your first followers is important. However, I think it also aptly demonstrates something else, namely that very human anxiety: fear of missing out. This powerful feeling can be harnessed by brands to build trust with prospects and drive conversions. How? Here are three ways to approach this:

1. Show your numbers

When trying a new product or service, a potential customer will always feel a high degree of risk. You can reduce their perception of risk by demonstrating that many other people are already buying from you. Humans will always follow a crowd. One way of doing this is to emphasise how many customers you have on your website, as Dropbox does well on their landing page:

The brand is essentially saying “all these people are already using us, so why are you missing out?”

2. Foreground your most trustworthy customers or clients

As a small business or start-up, you may not have a hugely impressive number of customers. So focus instead on those that are likely to be recognised and trusted by your target customers. Gather quotes and testimonials from big brands who use your services or collect recommendations from influencers in your field. Show prospects that people that they trust, trust you. So, in turn, your prospects will feel confident that you can deliver what they need.

3. Love your niche

Perhaps you don’t have famous or influential customers. That’s ok. Instead spend time really understanding your target customers and show them that people who are just like them love your brand. A great example of a business doing this is vegan café Palm Vaults. Aimed at trendy young urbanites, the brand uses Instagram to clearly communicate that they are a hotspot for trendy young urbanites. Doused in millennial pink, and filled with images of unbearably cool hipsters living their best lives, the brand clearly communicates to their target audience that East London’s finest are flocking to them.

Snapshot of Palm Vault’s Instagram page

Humans will instinctively trust the wisdom of the crowds and will always fear missing out on what others are doing. If you can tap in to this powerful motivator then you can build a sustainable brand and a crowd of loyal customers.