Social Proof is defined as a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed. (Thanks Wikipedia)
In other words, this is why it is so important to monitor your apartment ratings and keep tabs on what is being posted on the Internet about your community.
When people are unfamiliar with a product, they trust the opinion of others who have tried that product much more then conventional advertising.
I came across an interesting article about it here.
This is a good Monday AM read.
The best example I have heard about Social Proof is a story about a master violinist who typically played infront of thousands of people in gorgeous venus for hundreds of dollars a ticket. One day, as an experiment, they had the violinist start playing in the subway in New York. The result was that no one even stopped to hear him play. They would have paid good money to hear him play at Carnegie Hall, but without the social proof, the music meant nothing.
Social Proof is a very intersting phenomenon to keep in mind when selling and marketing our apartments.