Meaningful exchanges constantly take place all over the social Web on a variety of platforms, connecting people and enabling them to share, critique, and interact with content and with each other. The type of information we share reveals a lot about who we are, who we know, and what we know — people tend to talk about the things they care about/are most knowledgeable about with others who are interested in similar subjects. The impact of those relationships affects our Web authority.
Social influence occurs when a person’s thoughts, feelings, or actions are affected by others. Essentially, influence is the art of persuasion — the ability to cause a change in mindset or actions so someone thinks or behaves in a certain way. In the world of social media marketing, influence is currency. In order to raise awareness, foster brand advocacy, win attention, and generate real-world action, businesses want to know the answers to questions like:
- Who are the influencers in my brand category and how do I find them?
- What are they saying about my brand?
- How many of my Twitter followers are clicking my links and retweeting my content?
- Does my Facebook page create the kind of engagement I’d hoped?
- What is my brand’s “true reach”?
Measuring online influence is difficult at best. How can it be calculated? How do companies validate that that their messaging is is working? For the most part, marketers have been limited to piecemeal metrics like followers, likes, and page views. Now a variety of influence-scoring platforms are emerging to help personal and corporate brands determine just how influential they are and locate influencers in their industry. Here are a few tools to get you started with benchmarking:
Klout measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage, you influence others, and your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100. Using data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, Klout measures how many people you influence (true reach), how much you influence them (amplification), and how influential they are (network score), and assigns a score from 1 to 100.
PostRank monitors and collects social engagement events correlated with online content in real time across the Web. It gathers data about where and when stories generate comments, bookmarks, tweets, and other forms of interaction from 20 of the top social networks. It tracks where and how users engage, and what they pay attention to — its social engagement data measures actual user activity, the most accurate indicator of the relevance and influence of a site, story, or author.
TwentyFeet is a metrics aggregator for all your social media and Web properties. It pulls and generates metrics from Twitter, Facebook, bit.ly, YouTube, Google Analytics, MySpace, FriendFeed, and RSS feeds and displays them in a slick interface all in one place. It also notifies you whenever something noteworthy happens.
The PeerIndex algorithm measures the speed with which we find and share content on any specific topic, as well as the volume of our sharing. Authority on a subject is affirmed when the content you share is approved, i.e. retweeted or commented on, by someone else that is an authority on the subject. It gauges activity on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to come up with a score.
Empire Avenue calls itself the Social Stock Market. It’s inherently a social networking game that allows you to connect with individuals based on “value relationships” — the much closer relationships than just having someone follow you on Twitter or Like you on Facebook. The platform can be used to find highly engaged individuals around the world across a wide variety of interests. It enables brands to get in front of new, engaged audiences and connect with relevant customers in a fun environment across 150+ countries.
Sprout Social allows businesses to efficiently and effectively manage and grow their social presence across multiple channels and turn social connections into loyal customers. The application integrates with Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Gowalla, and other networks where consumers are engaging with businesses and brands. In addition to communication tools, Sprout Social offers contact management, competitive insight, lead generation, reporting, analytics, and more in a package that’s intuitive and easy to use.
Crowdbooster helps you achieve an effective presence on Twitter and Facebook. It shows you analytics that aren’t based on abstract scores, but numbers that are connected to your business and your social media strategies: impressions, total reach, engagement, and more. It then give you the tools and recommendations you need to take action and improve each one of these metrics.
Twylah adds context to your tweets and creates a whole new experience around them. It doesn’t just tell you what you and others are influential about, it shows you why you’re influential by placing a user’s “trending topics” (what you tweet about most often) into clickable, topical buckets. It showcases your tweets in a more complete narrative story, and is a much better storefront for your Twitter brand than the less attractive Twitter stream.
My Web Career enables you to uncover and evaluate your digital footprint. It’s a great networking tool and is useful when exploring the way your social profiles connect across the Web to create an overall picture of yourself or your business. It uses link analysis, visualization, and semantics technologies to enable you to quickly evaluate and explore data that may relate to you, and it makes this data accessible, manageable, and actionable.
Appinions is an opinions-powered platform that makes it easy to identify, analyze, monitor and engage with influencers. It features an extensive database that includes millions of opinions extracted from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, newspaper and magazine articles, and radio and television transcripts. It not only focuses on the influencers creating content, but on the influencers attracting the most attention. Appinions also meets the needs of online publishers, leveraging the power of opinions and influencers so they can provide readers with more relevant and interesting content.
Have you tried any of these tools? I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether or not you’ve found any of them helpful. I’m sure there are tools that I’m not aware of, so please share them in the comments below.