Something I see in the business world when it comes to social media is the word “authority”.
Many people in business are authorities.
They’re authorities as owners, executives and managers.
They’re authorities with vendors, clients and partners.
But when it comes to the online world they feel like they have a little work to do.
Why work to build an authoritative reputation online?
A lot of people are going online for all kinds of things. About 20% are online all the time.
Now the question is how to become an authority?
Here are some tips.
1. Post Often
If you’re a celebrity you can probably get away without posting all that often.
When you do post people will pay attention. News outlets will reshare what you shared. They’ll analyze it.
But unless your a mega celeb you’ll need to work a little harder to make things happen.
The way for that to happen is simply quantity.
It’s like anything in life. You need practice.
Posting on social media is something you learn. You can learn some basics of what to post. Your thoughts on life. Life lessons. Lessons you’ve learned from others. Articles you read. Articles you write. Photos. Videos.
But the more you share the more you build intuition about what people want. And you put more content out there for people to discover.
If you post 10 things this month on Facebook you might get one that receives some good feedback. But if you post 100 things your odds are much better.
2. Reply To Authorities
When you were a kid were you ever guilty by association?
You’re on the playground and one of your friends breaks a window or something. Nobody speaks up so the teacher punishes the entire group.
Being guilty by association is now fun.
But you can be an authority by association.
The simple act of associating with other authorities raises your own perceived authority.
A good place to start on social media is to identify the authorities in your industry that are also authorities on social media.
Start replying to their updates. Add your own insight. Eventually a few will look at who you are. If you have been providing smart content they’ll likely engage and that will make you look even more authoritative.
3. Quote Authorities
Something that everyone that uses social media loves is engagement.
Authorities love engagement too.
Replying to authorities is one example, but you can also quote authorities.
This could be a simple retweet of something smart that an authority shared on Twitter.
Or you could take something they’ve said and add to it. Maybe you take their update on Twitter and turn it into a blog post. Then share it and mention them. Give them credit for sparking the idea.
Compliment them. People like compliments.
4. Co-Create With Authorities
Now let’s take things to a new level.
As you work on engaging with authorities you can start to discuss content that you can co-create. You could actually jump right to this step. I’ve seen it work.
In the example I saw a few years ago there was a big time authority in the online marketing world. Someone that was just starting out approached the authority with an idea for creating an online marketing guide.
They would flesh out the outline for the guide together. Via email. The lesser known person would then do all the work; research, writing, etc.
The authority with have their designer design it and brand it. Then the guide would be published on the authority’s site.
The authority got some great content. The newbie became an authority by association. Exposure to a new audience.
Think about what would be worthwhile for an authority in your field. You’ll probably have to do most of the work, but it’ll be worth it to get the association effect.
If you look at the authorities in your field chances are they’re sought after guests.
Podcasts, radio shows, tv bits, etc. All kinds of stuff. Quoted in articles. Quoted in guides and in books.
Guesting is a great way to build your reputation. It’s more authority by association. When people see you as a guest on sources they respect they will respect you.
You probably can’t start right at the top. Look for some lesser podcasts or video series on YouTube. Look at lesser bloggers. But build your way up.
Create a process for reaching out to these places every week. You could hire someone to do it for you.
Look at where others in your industry have been guests and target those types of places.
When the content is published online it’ll be shared on social media. They’ll often use your social handle and promote your social profiles bringing you more attention, followers and authority.
6. Build Offline Recognition
What I mean by this one is creating content offline that can build your overall authority.
Online authorities often have credits to their name like books. It’s pretty easy today to self publish a book and sell it on Amazon. It’s a great thing to be able to point people to a book you’ve written. They know it takes a lot of work to publish a book.
Even things like degrees help to build offline recognition.
Like how people are more likely to take health advice from a doctor than their friend.
That’s another quick point. People like results. If you offer a product or service. Building case studies and results offline that you can show online are great ways to build your online social media authority.
7. Do One Unique Thing
Anybody can post on Facebook, Twitter or wherever. And they do.
You’re probably not going to become an authority by doing all the same things that others do. You want to do some of the things the big timers are doing. You don’t have to entirely reinvent the wheel.
But to get noticed you likely have to be different in at least one way.
Several years ago there were starting to be a good number of football bloggers. Fans that loved the game and that would create a blog to write their thoughts.
There were two guys that I still follow that did something cool. They had a blog and a podcast. But their hook was live streaming that they did every week during the football season.
It was kind of live streaming before that was a thing on Facebook and Twitter.
Nobody else was really doing it.
What is nobody else doing in your field that you can do?
Final Thought: Long-Term Focus
Look at the authorities in your field. Chances are they didn’t achieve their social media status overnight. It probably took them years to get to where they are now.
So that’s my final thought for this process. If you think you can get there in a couple months you’re probably kidding yourself. You’ll be disappointed.
If you think you can get there in 3-5 years…you’re probably in the right mindset.