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Social Learning: 6 ways to Build Authority

We all want to be considered authoritative and influential. Organisations can confer formal authority and influence through titles and roles. But there’s a new currency: Social authority. How do you build that? Ahead of our in-depth guide, here are a few points to boost your rankings.

1. Build Your Reputation Through Engagement

Reputation is the way the community views you and it's largely based on the consistency of your actions over time. It’s how you engage with others. If you are the person who is always the first to be critical, then that's your reputation, which may be ok, but which may erode your social authority: who wants to be the butt of your criticism next time?

Consider how you respond when someone mentions you in a post, needs help, makes a mistake, isn’t being supported. If you’re supportive, helpful and considerate, you build social authority.


2. Be Authentic - find your Social Voice

For many, it's not a failure to understand the technology that acts as a barrier to engagement in social spaces, it's a fear of making a mistake. Or worse, not even understanding what the mistake even looks like. In social spaces, we need authenticity: we need to be true to ourselves, speak in a genuine voice and be humble enough to get things wrong. Work out Loud and show you’re human.


3. Curate and Share - with Care

You’re known by what you share and curate. Are you the person who is constantly sharing a route map of your thinking and development, or are you sharing cat jokes? Both may be fine, but in different contexts and to different groups. Think before you share professionally as you’re putting social authority at risk with each share.


4. Tell your Best Stories

Social influencers are effective storytellers. You need to interpret what you share for the audience. So don't just share the link to an article on 'Better Project Management', share it with the words 'I found this useful, particularly the piece on improving your weekly updates. I'm going to try to do this better'. It shows a willingness to learn and invites comments.


5. Ask for Consent to Lead

Social authority has to be earned. To earn it, you need to understand how the different communities work, build your reputation through consistent action  - and with community consent. Social tools like Totara Social allow you to be in multiple groups, but some are public and others hidden. The ways we gain our authority and the consent we are granted may be different in each.


6. Volunteer to Co-Create

Used right, social platforms like Totara Social facilitate co-creation, which is the lifeblood of a healthy community. Co-creation means you are putting your hand up to participate and help to move the discussion and actions forward. This may be in the context of a formal programme, for example agreeing to document findings and share them as part of an action learning programme.


Build Authority: Be Authentic

The currency of social authority is denominated in helpfulness, authenticity, and sharing. To make the market work, you need tools that help you act this way, in a place that protects your people and data.  Tools like Totara Social can act as your Enterprise Social Network to do just that. Find out more about Totara Social.


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