Five Keys To Establishing Online Authority


Paul Getter of The Internet Marketing Nerds helps people rapidly accelerate their digital presence and build successful online businesses.

Establishing online authority is important because there’s so much online already, and more every minute. According to estimates from online marketing researchers made this year and last, the number of new blog posts published per day ranges from five million to 10 million.

That’s blog posts alone. Social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, Reddit and Twitter, just to name a few, outnumber blog post daily totals by orders of magnitude.

Only if you’re an authority on your topic, on your product or service, in your field or in your industry, will what you say online cut through all the noise and really matter to your audience.

That’s how you get to make a difference at what matters to you, or your organization, or your business or industry, with the reach to connect to everyone else your solution matters to as well.

Boost your ‘signal to noise’ ratio by establishing authority online.

Social media is more than a platform for socializing. Sure, it’s fun, and posts that are interesting and entertaining tend to do well on social platforms. But for you, as an innovator, community leader, entrepreneur, influencer or business leader, social media isn’t about getting the most likes or reposts. It isn’t about entertaining the most people. It’s not even about entertaining the most people in a subject matter related to your field.

Social media is the ultimate opportunity in the history of all media, not just the internet, to establish yourself as an authority. When you’ve done that, your prospects—for new clients for your service, your addressable user base for your new app, your buyers for niche inventory you make or distribute—will start seeking you out and coming to you to solve their problems for them.

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Here are just five ideas worth thinking about that could help:

1. Solve a problem for your audience.

According to a 2022 report by Smart Insights, a social media trends survey conducted in 2021 by GlobalWebIndex found something relevant from the respondents. Regarding the how and the why of when visitors log on to social media, it turns out it’s not only to see funny videos of their friends’ pets or pictures of breakfast: “Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, and Twitter users all report ‘follow/find information about products/brands’ in their top three motivations.”

That’s powerful information for business leaders who do some or all of their marketing on social media. The survey results suggest that the nearly two billion people who use Facebook every day (DAU) are using it to find products and brands that solve a problem they have and are willing to pay to have solved for them. Making your audience laugh or share your post doesn’t build authority. It builds rapport. That’s all fine and good, but what really builds authority is when your product or service solves a problem for them.

Then, double down on social media by sharing information in your field of expertise that solves a related or adjacent problem for your audience without pushing your product.

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2. Talk about what you know.

Talking about what you know is a sure way to build authority. That means constantly expanding what you know — about your product, about your customers, about your market, about your competitors, about all the salient aspects of your line of production.

The mass of people and businesses get by with competing at what’s already known to their industry and market. That’s enough if being mediocre is really enough for you and for your business and customers. If mediocre gets you out of bed in the morning and you’re doing fine, maybe it’s not such a bad gig.

But the few true leaders out there, innovators who unlock and create enormous amounts of value for the world, are those who become authorities by reverse engineering from what they don’t know now to what they can learn that will be useful in their line of work.

Don’t take it from me. Peter Thiel is a legendary figure in the Silicon Valley big tech world and global venture capital community. In his 2014 book, “Zero to One,” he warns readers against getting comfortable in the “wisdom of crowds.” He boldly advises them to uncover secrets that are relevant to their business that no one else has yet ventured to find. This takes an investment of knowledge in yourself.

That’s how Warren Buffett found so many great businesses to buy. He spent all day for decades reading SEC filings to find those secrets. His longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, has made it a lifelong practice to “pay yourself first” by reading for an hour every morning before doing anything else.

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3. Talk about what they know.

Mass production innovator Henry Ford famously once said: “If there is any secret to achieving success, it lies in the ability to understand another’s point of view and see things from that person’s perspective as well as your own.” To establish authority, connect what you know to what your audience knows.

Explain it to the audience in terms they’ll understand (not insider jargon or lingo). Contextualize it for them in terms of how it can improve their lives by solving a problem they have that you know how to solve.

4. Reference authoritative sources of info.

Even if you’re an authority on a subject, your audience might not know that yet. It helps to support facts with references to reliable and authoritative sources.

It also helps to show your audience how the information you’re sharing, or the advice you’re giving aligns with authorities they recognize and agree are authoritative. For example, in this short article already, I’ve referenced internet data analytics and insights firms, Peter Thiel, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Henry Ford.

5. Keep it positive and make it for them.

The badgering salesperson is considered a figure of desperation, not authority. Don’t make the post for you. Be generous. Make it for them.


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