Twitter's Controversial Algorithm Changes: What They Mean for Your BusinessTwitter Vs. Facebook: Which One Is Better for Promoting Your Brand?3 Free Twitter Tools PR Pros Can't Live WithoutSocially Stephanie: Social Media for the Automotive Industry
- Content Marketing
When Your Customers Become Your Contributors: Brand Journalism Meets TraditionalToo Many Advertisers Are Talking, Not Enough Are ListeningEmotion Drives Behavior: 3 Brands Getting It RightNative Advertising: The New New Thing or a Race to the Bottom? [VIDEO]
Technology & Data
Data and Creativity: Defining Your Data-Driven Social CampaignTalking Strategy and Data with Shannon Lee of Precision StrategiesNew IBM Study Reveals 3 Key Characteristics of the Most Successful CompaniesMinority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering
- Tech & Innovation
- marketing automation
- Social Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Recap from the First-Ever Employee Advocacy SummitFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Does influence ranking really matter to businesses?
Posted on August 10th 2012
We all know about the tools people can choose from to help measure their social status online and identify others that are influential in areas of interest. Social media has encouraged the democratization of influence, enabling nobodies to actually be somebodies. But does social influence really matter to businesses? If it does, how can they harness and use it to their advantage?
Why social influence ranking matters
We all spend time researching products and services online before making an important purchase; and there is no doubt that we are being influenced by the online opinion of others. But ‘influence’ can extend beyond mere purchasing decisions to actual opinion shaping. Everyone knows of bloggers such as Chris Brogan and Jason Falls – these are people who have developed positions of authority and influence due to their experience and knowledge of their field, and as a result, they are considered to be ‘thought leaders’. What they say shapes or informs the opinions of others. If they talk about a brand, what they say about it is likely to be believed by their thousands of readers.
This goes for any influencer online, in any field. If brands can identify who the relevant key influencers are in their field, they are unearthing a means of potentially shaping their target consumers’ opinions. The renowned Brian Solis confirms that “by a better understanding of how digital influence works and with the help of emerging social media influence services, businesses can proactively shape and steer positive conversations by connecting with influencers and engaging with online communities”.
Companies are now able to turn online chatter into actionable insights that improve decision making across their organisation. By recognizing negative feedback from influential sources, brands can acquire a better understanding of what they did wrong, take corrective actions and revise their strategies to better match the needs of their customers. Critics can lead to positive outcomes. By acknowledging this, businesses can take appropriate actions to build an effective digital influence strategy and shine amongst their competitors. Thus, there is a clearly a case to make for social influence ranking for business.
But are the tools out there relevant?
Despite the benefits of social influence, much has been made of the criticisms of leading social influence ranking tools like Klout and Kred. With algorithms that seem shaky due to erroneous results, and highly gamified, ‘fun’ approaches, it’s difficult to see how these can be used for business purposes; i.e. for identifying key influencers that are truly relevant for a brand, finding the sites that share the most pertinent content, or even identifying when an individual tweet or post carries influential weight.
So what tools out there exist for this purpose? One example is presented by social media monitoring and engagement specialists Synthesio (where I work). They have built their own automated, business-oriented influence ranking system called SynthesioRank, which they have implemented with a number of their clients globally. The tool features different calculations for every media type and source to ensure that only relevant influence is calculated. This was detailed recently in a provocative article entitled ‘Klout For Grownups’ which implies that Synthesio are taking influence ranking to a more specifically business focused audience.
Another tool was detailed recently on Jason Falls' blog Social Media Explorer - from social marketing company Awareness Networks. The scoring mechanism sits within its social management suite, and allows users to set points values for different actions, such as retweeting, sharing, liking, and so on, with a view to scoring how each individual interacts with the brand's content. This puts the power in the user's hands, rather than relying on an algorithm, and means the software acts as both a CRM tool and an influencer identifying program.
If presented and calculated in this context, social influence can certainly provide valuable insights for businesses; showing them the key individuals to build relationships with in order to try and promote positive conversations about their brand.
What other business-oriented influence ranking tools are out there that you’ve used or know of? Share your thoughts in the comments below.