This site is dedicated to helping you understand online behaviour by providing you with blog posts, articles, news items, multimedia and downloads on web psychology

How credible are you on social media?

Reputation ManagementSo, there you are, Tweeting away each day, saying what you want and getting loads of attention. But does anyone believe you? The chances are, much social media activity could be working against you, rather than for you.

An interesting new study on social media credibility suggests that the things we might think are worthwhile, could be harming our online reputation.

The researchers were looking at Twitter and which kind of accounts people believed more than others. The communication experts from Penn State University set up some fake Twitter accounts and Tweets on a medical subject – sexually transmitted diseases. Then, they tested those accounts on students – people who would be highly likely to want to know about the topic.

Here’s what the researchers found.

They discovered that the Twitter accounts with the highest believability were those with several signals of “authority”. The Twitter accounts that showed the least believability were those that included several Retweets and which were not really focused.

Essentially, what the study showed was that for this subject, at least, people mostly believed authority accounts that did little or no Retweeting. It appears that Retweeting reduces credibility.

The most important finding, though, was the need to be recognised as an authority. Part of that seems to come from having a previously established brand and reputation. The study found that the most believed Twitter account was that of a recognised, independent, health organisation in the USA.

This study appears to confirm work published over three years ago about popularity on Twitter. That study found that the most actively followed Twitter accounts were those that came from individuals and organisations who had an established offline brand. Similarly, another study which appeared in this blog post on getting more Twitter followers established that well-known accounts get more attention because they provide material that is shareable. Such Twitter accounts tend to do little sharing themselves, instead, what they produce gets Retweeted a great deal.

Together with this new study from Penn State, it suggests that we tend to like people on social networks who are well-known, well-established authorities on their subject in the “real world”. Such organisations or individuals rarely need to Retweet or share things because they are producing a considerable amount of original thinking themselves.

However, what these authority people achieve is a considerable amount of sharing of their own, original material. And therein lies the subconscious clue we see when we look at someone’s Twitter account. If that account has lots of Retweets, then it suggests they are not producing much original material of their own. That implies that they are not an authority. If they were an authority, they would be creating a great deal of original material which other people would be Retweeting.

How to enhance your social media reputation

The latest study, taken together with those earlier research findings suggest there are two ways to make sure your social media activity is credible:

  1. Establish your brand offline; become well-known in the real world for what you do. Then people will believe your social media activity more.
  2. Avoid sharing too much from other people. The more you share, the less credible you become.

, ,

7 Responses to How credible are you on social media?

  1. Richard Kearsey 13th June 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Hello Graham,

    Nice Article and great tips.I liked the two points of how to enhance your social media reputation.Other than these I want to add some tips on my experience like by improving customer relationships,create brand Ambassadors.And Yes,As You said share articles of other resources from other people but in a limit.

    Thank You

    • Graham Jones 13th June 2016 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks for your comment Richard. Yes, brand ambassadors are a good idea – by which I assume you mean people who champion your work using word of mouth amongst other things.

  2. Maanikamili 14th June 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal blog now..

  3. Cory SEO 25th July 2016 at 12:16 am #

    Highly Reccomending this site to others. I have been online for about an hour now and am really enjoying it. Information like this needs to be shared.



    • Graham Jones 25th July 2016 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks Cory. Good to hear you like the site. I appreciate it.

  4. Jacob James 28th July 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    I must tell you I am impressed. Very seldom do I encounter a blog that s both educative and entertaining. Just want to let you know that you have most definatly hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent. Thx is all I can say .

  5. 10seos 28th July 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I ll be sure

Home | Blog | Articles | Newswire | Multimedia | Downloads | Newsletter | About | Contact | Speaking | Press | Accessibility | Privacy | Cookies |

VAT No: 348 4830 29 | Tel: 0118 336 9710 | Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX

Some of the links on this page are Affiliate Links and lead to sites where I can earn commission income should you buy anything.
Graham Jones is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to
provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
This site uses cookies. For more information please see the Privacy page.
Most images are used under license from iStockphoto, GraphicStock or Fotolia

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.