Over the past decade, social media has changed the way communication is facilitated in society. Content creation has become even more important as information dissemination can rapidly change the success of a creator. Social media provides creators with the opportunity to communicate with people that they’ve never interacted with before. In effect, creators now have the power to influence the behavior of others through the touch of a button. To put that into perspective, in 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly active users. The growth of Instagram shows the power of content creation and its ability to draw users to a single communication channel.
With the amount of potential reach that exists on Instagram, it’s important to understand how this has translated to social influence. Generally, we think of social influence as the ability to affect ideas and actions on social media. We find this extremely relevant for all of the social media influencers that have built a strong community on Instagram. The beauty of social media is that it has given people the ability to create communities for every niche that could possibly exist. It is fundamentally human to have the desire to share and spread ideas with others, which is exactly what a platform like Instagram has allowed people to do.
Through understanding social influence, we have found that there are ways to use influence to create social authority. Social authority is a brand’s ability to create a long-term, sustainable and competitive vision for its customers. We have found that social authority is composed of three main pillars — visibility, active audience, and audience interaction.
Visibility is a brand’s ability to get in front of as many potential customers as possible. As we mentioned earlier, on Instagram alone, there are over 1 billion monthly active users that access the platform. It has become inexcusable for a brand not to be on Instagram.
Active Audience is a brand’s ability to get an audience to engage with the content they put out. Depending on the social media platform, these actions range from likes, comments, views, shares etc. These actions speak towards the quality of the content that a brand can provide to their audience. This is a crucial stepping stone in understanding whether an audience is ready to engage with a brand’s product.
Lastly, audience interaction is a brand’s ability to persuade existing and potential customers to engage and interact with their products on social media. This crucial pillar of social authority defines the success of most companies that have grown their presence on Instagram. User-generated content is a key factor in determining whether a brand has established this pillar of social authority. In fact, companies like Daniel Wellington, which has shown tremendous success in influencer marketing, has over 70% of their posts as user-generated content.
Does your brand command social authority?