Social authority and why you need it
Social authority is what has turned many ordinary bloggers into industry leaders, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark and Pete Cashmore to name just a few, but what is this social authority? To put it simply; social authority is having influence in an industry through social media networks. The end result of social authority is that you are listened to, consumers value your opinion and your message is passed on, all of which results in your social media efforts being more effective and ultimately you will benefit from substantial return on investment.
Today’s and tomorrow’s Customers (U25’s) no longer want to be sold to through traditional media, they want to be advised on what to buy from peers and influencers. If you are the one doing the influencing then social media becomes a very powerful tool.
It’s more than just influencing consumers…
Becoming an authority within your industry can also bring another benefit to your digital marketing activities, it helps your search ranking! With the top ranking websites getting 56% of the traffic (on average), businesses need to be doing everything they can to rank their website first. It has recently been confirmed that both Google’s and Bing’s search algorithm consider a websites authority on social media when calculating the search rank.
The influencing factors appear to be:
- Diversity of the people you are influencing – the more, the better
- Relevance of surrounding content to subject matter – i.e. a blog showing your expertise
- Quality of friends and followers – whether you influence other influential people
Being a social authority within an industry can also bring about secondary benefits to your website rankings. Due to you being a trusted figure you are more likely to gain back links from other industry website, which is a very large factor for your search engine rank. In addition, any content that is shared on social media is often indexed quicker.
How to build social authority
Building a high social authority takes time and patience, especially if you are new to the industry. It is not simply about gaining as many followers as possible, but instead adding value to industry conversations happening on social media, you have to lead purely through relational, cause and content equity. Adding value can come in the form of sharing content, replying to direct messages and helping people. However, you should be strategic in who you are messaging to, you will find your efforts more effective if you make a particular effort to engage with other industry influencers in addition to engaging with the ‘general public’.
Building authority is quite simply the best way to start seeing real return on investment from your social media efforts, can you really afford not to do it?