May 12th, 2012 / Social Media Marketing

Are You An Authority?

Authority is a difficult thing to measure, but search engines are getting better at it. Bill Slawski examines a Microsoft patent on author ranking in social media. One thing I find interesting in his discussion is this:

Instead, one signal of authority can be based on a propensity to provide early links to Web sites or Web content that becomes popular with other users.

In other words, when it comes to social media authority, the early bird really does get the worm.

That’s an interesting measure because if the links you share go on to become popular links or go viral, then that’s a boost to your social media authority. If you are a Johnny-come-lately and tend to share links after they’ve become popular, then you can’t get any feathers in your cap for being a discoverer. You’re simply a sharer. And chances are, you’re sharing with people who’ve already seen the information.

Real authoritative leaders are the first to share true news. On the other hand, your authority will only extend to those areas that you share information about regularly.

This is an important distinction. You might share one link on a topic that is off-topic for you and even if it goes viral it won’t make you an authority. But share a link about a topic that you do post about regularly and that link goes viral, there’s your authority boost. Do it a lot and you’ll become a recognized authority.

Like I said early on, authority is hard to measure. But don’t think the search engines and social media sites aren’t trying.

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