12 Tools to Measure Social Influence (Maybe)

Mike Johansson
Mike Johansson Senior Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology and principal at Fixitology, RIT and Fixitology

Posted on August 1st 2011

12 Tools to Measure Social Influence (Maybe)


Social media influence is a bit like oxygen – we "know" it's there and we know in some sense that it is essential for “life” if we’re in marketing, advertising or public relations, but can we capture it in a jar and observe it? No. Well, at least not entirely.

Any number of tools – freely available on the Web – purport to tell us our overall social media influence or at least a slice of it (a la Twitter).

While none is perfect or complete yet, using a combination of them can prove useful.

Here then is a roundup of tools that measure influence in the social web:

Broad social web tools

Klout: Klout currently track a user’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Foursquare activity. It is reportedly looking at Google+ integration. From the Klout blog: "We think you are influential. Klout isn’t about figuring out who is on the 'A-list.' We believe that every person who creates content has influence. Our mission is to help every individual understand and leverage their influence."

PeerIndex: How PeerIndex describes what it measures: "PeerIndex: a measure of your online social capital. Topic fingerprint: a snapshot of what you talk about. Topic resonance: how much other people find what you share valuable. Comparisons: compare yourself to your friends and peers. "

Twentyfeet: What Twentyfeet says it offers: "Aggregated stats in one place. Your overview of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, bit.ly, Google Analytics, Myspace and more. See how your key performance indicators develop over time. We nudge you when your metrics change significantly."

Empire Avenue: From the home page: "Invest your social capital in people and brands for free using virtual currency" and "Engage and expand your social networks, and learn how to use social media more effectively." Whether a virtual stock exchange and virtual currency truly relates to social standing is still hotly debated on the web.

WhoSay: This invite-only service says this about itself: "WhoSay is a service that helps artists, athletes and iconic personalities connect with their fans. When you see someone posting via WhoSay, you'll know that it's real, authentic messages, photos and videos coming from your favorite people…. As a fan, you may arrive at your favorite artist's, athlete's or personality's WhoSay page by visiting their existing social media sites." In other words, just being here means you likely have influence.

PostRank : This service says it "tracks where and how users engage, and what they pay attention to — in real-time." PostRank says it measures user activity, "the most accurate indicator of the relevance and influence of a site, story, or author." By using Postrank, in a sense, you’re advertising your social popularity so brands can connect with you.

Influencer Exchange: Appinions: From the website: "For any user defined topic, brand or issue, the Influencer Exchange helps you discover, identify, engage and monitor the leading influencers. Leveraging the power of opinions, the Influencer Exchange embraces the Web, social media, forums and news articles to provide a comprehensive view of the influencer landscape."

Twitter tools

Tweetlevel: From the How To Use page: "TweetLevel is a purpose built tool for PR and marketing to help ensure brands use Twitter effectively." From the About page: "This tool will be in permanent beta as we seek to continually improve its functionality based upon your feedback. Even though we believe that it goes a great way to understand and quantify the varying importance of different people's usage of Twitter, by no means whatsoever do we believe we have fully solved the 'influence' problem.”

Twitalyzer: Twitalyzer looks at who is in your social network and, mostly for a variety of fees will give you data across at more than 25 metrics. From the site’s Benchmarks page: "Twitalyzer's Benchmark report allows you to generate ranked lists of Twitter users based on their stated location and the tags that have been applied to their profile."

TweetGrader (formerly TwitterGrader): A site that allows users to see how they compare to hundreds of thousands of other Twitter users, see how they rank in their geographic area, track Follower history and a Quick Follower Check to see if another Twitter user is following you.

Twitaholic: "How's this work? Our Twit-tastic robots scan Twitter a few times a day to determine who’s the biggest twit." Enter your Twitter account name to get your ranking on Twitter (by followers) and by location. This site also encourages you to click through to Twitter Counter.

Twitter Counter: From the site: "Twitter Counter provides statistics of Twitter usage and tracks over 14 million users and counting." Once you’ve entered your Twitter name you can compare your states with two other users.

Mike Johansson

Mike Johansson

Senior Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology and principal at Fixitology, RIT and Fixitology

Mike is a strategist and teacher who helps businesses and students understand and get the most from social media. He currently is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches advertising, public relations and journalism (all with a social media twist). 

See Full Profile >

Comments

Posted on August 1st 2011 at 3:25PM

Klout is the one I puzzle over. It is clearly the dominant influence metric and I'm not really bothered by the overall scoring (except that it sometimes seems to reward pure 7 X 24 X 365 "bar-pressing" which I think is no good for anyone). I also think it's still in its infancy and will improve over time.

However, when I go to www.klout.com and look at the topics they think I have influence on, I occassionally see topics on which I have hardly posted at all -- and topics on which I constantly post are missing. Something in their system is clearly off.

It also seems bizarre that I'm hearing rumors that some businesses use Klout as a screening metric in hiring. How weird can HR get ?

Mike Johansson
Posted on August 1st 2011 at 6:38PM

Glenn - I know what you mean about the list of topics Klout assigns to you. My list also seems a little odd at the lower end.

However, I would say overall I see Klout as the dominant and most dedicated to "getting it right." Yes, all of these influence measuring tools have auite a way to go, but as I said in my earlier blog post 2011: The Year of Klout it is likely only a matter of time before downsized HR departments look to any metric they can readily get their hands on the help make hiring decisions.

We may nolt like it, but this is the future. Thanks for the comment. - Mike

Posted on August 1st 2011 at 6:41PM

Thanks for the overview! Crowdbooster.com works fine as well. Especially the insight on reach related to retweets & @replies. I wrote a short manual for Crowdbooster (in Dutch, but the screenshots will do...).

Mike Johansson
Posted on August 2nd 2011 at 9:58AM

Jeroen - thanks for the mention of Crowdbooster. CLearly it was an oversight on my part to not include it in the original post

Posted on August 2nd 2011 at 1:45PM

Mike - Appreciate the post. We'd love you to take a deepers dive into our service. 10 years of research at Cornell and 3 years productizing the technology makes us deeply dedicated to getting this right!

Regards,

Larry

Mike Johansson
Posted on August 4th 2011 at 8:29AM

Larry - I absolutely would like to know more. Where do I go to get a look at your work? Thanks, Mike.

Posted on August 2nd 2011 at 3:17PM

Nice list.

Talking specifically about Twitter influence, you might also be interested in hashtagify.me: We very recently released a new beta feature to show the top influencers for a given hashtag. We still have to work to refine it but in my opinion finding the influence per topic - instead of just an "absolute" influence - is very useful in many cases.

Mike Johansson
Posted on August 4th 2011 at 8:34AM

Daniele - Thanks for the heads up on hashtagify.me. You're right it is very useful to find key influencers around any given hashtag. I especially like the "Advanced" mode where you can see the raltionship between hashtags. Thanks again. - Mike

Posted on August 3rd 2011 at 11:50AM

Google Plus took 18 days to reach 10 million suers while face took 680 days to reach that many users. But this comparison is not fair as Google is a established Brand now and anything that it will bring will be famous in such short span. I am sure the popularity of face book will not go down and now that FB is starting up with video chat its users will surely increase. These are great tools that help in to measure Social infulence and i have a friend who uses the tool. The tools are working efficiently and makes work easy.

 

Google Plus took 18 days to reach 10 million suers while face took 680 days to reach that many users. But this comparison is not fair as Google is a established Brand now and anything that it will bring will be famous in such short span. I am sure the popularity of face book will not go down and now that FB is starting up with video chat its users will surely increase
Mike Johansson
Posted on August 4th 2011 at 8:39AM

Michel - Thanks for the coment and I do agree that comparisons of Google+ and Facebook membership growth may be unfair. However, I may disagree about Facebook's future. I, for one, still have lingering doubts about its usefulness for business and its trustworthiness when it comes to privacy. As better options come along (and I do believe at this early stage that Google+ looks like a better option) Facebook membership growth will slow, then stop and then its numbers willbegin to fall. I believe the slowing down has already begun. Thanks again for the comment. Best - Mike

Posted on August 4th 2011 at 6:34PM

Mike - Apologies for not being more explicit! You were kind enough to mention us in your post - appinions.com Be great to get your thoughts on how we're defining influencers: Earned, Temporal and Long Tail.

Best,

Larry

Posted on August 4th 2011 at 6:37PM

Mike - BTW here's your profile on the Appinions Influencer Exchange: http://beta.ix.appinions.com/influencerweb/influencer/778d61d0-3709-4da1-b99c-9599f7cb38b1

Larry

Posted on August 4th 2011 at 9:57PM

Thanks Mike for the comprehensive list. I obsess about this every day and have spreadsheet that I maintain and dream about at night. I like Glenn am not completely sold on Klout. We often get spam on Twitter from folks who only send out messages, have no followers, and yet they have a high Klout score simply because they send out billions of tweets.

I still think most of this is not science but simple you help me I help you.