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Social Influencer Sites: How Relevant Are They?

Social Influence

Social ranking is nothing new, people have been categorised into classes and groups for years, often allowing others to form opinions of them without having to meet or event get to know them. Sites such as Klout, Kred and PeerIndex now allow people to get a similar ranking, all based on a persons online social score. The only difference between this and real life, is that online, it’s all based around data, but how real and relevant is it, and should brands be taking it into account when planning a social strategy?

One benefit of being able to see how ‘influential’ a person is, is that when you follow or are connected to a large number of people on sites such as Twitter, it allows you to cut through the noise, and find what is most relevant and trusted from your peers. From a brands point of view, when looking to engage with individuals on a one-to-one basis, or event conduct blogger outreach, it’s a great tool, as it allows you to really see who will be able to amplify your brand message, and to who.

What brands must be careful of however, is the relevance of these individuals, and how exactly this message will be spread. Everyone has a different online following and what is really key, is the relevance of the followers, and the context in which the messages will be spread. This is where brands can run into problems, as tools such as Klout and Kred do not provide such a feature. Justin Bieber for example, may have a Klout score of 99, but is he the right person to amplify a message about the next Mercedes? No.

Where brands can use it effectively though, is through examining topics that people are influential about. Ford did this through PeerIndex in 2012, giving free Ford holograms to those most influential about cars and the auto industry. In exchange for this, the user would tweet about the hologram using a specific hashtag, boosting the reach of the Ford Fiesta campaign, whilst also ensuring that message was being amplified by a person who is trusted within the right context.

For me, influencer sites can be used as part of a brands social strategy, but only to drive initial awareness amongst an audience. Providing the brand can discover precisely how relevant the individuals are that they are using through social influencer tools, they will have a strong grounding for extending a message, and gaining brand advocates. Don’t go to the effort of researching however, and they are wasting both time and resources, on an audience that won’t deliver a positive outcome.

Join The Conversation

  • kylemj6977's picture
    Sep 8 Posted 3 years ago kylemj6977

    Will, I wil lstart by echoing the other comments - great article.

    My comment is an opinion on the influence score and the "klout" some give to it.  I think it is more important to look at the score from a ballpark view rather than an individual play.  For example, Joe's score is 54 and Sue's is 57.  Does that mean that she should get the "Social Media Job" over Joe?  I don't think so.  HOWEVER....if Sue's score is 57 and Joe's is 14....well, you get my point.


  • Sep 6 Posted 3 years ago jason_huntrods

    Social Influencers allow for superior methods of social advertising. When you are advertising through an influential social media account, you can be much more creative and dynamic with your presentation. A lot of brands are starting to seek out social influencers, whether they are celebrities or accounts that just have accumulated lots of followers. 

    Let's face it, users don't like to interact with ads, and Twitter/Facebook both prominently display that each sponsored post or tweet is an ad. Influencer advocacy lets you draw far more user interaction. Granted FTC disclosure is still required, but certain strategies allow for much better location and implementation of disclosure in richer media forms.


  • Chris Aarons's picture
    Sep 6 Posted 3 years ago Chris Aarons

    Will, great article.

    If your first move as a brand is to one of these sites to find influencers, you are shooting in the dark.  From doing influencer marketing for top brands for almost 8 years, I can tell you there are no short cuts to finding influencers that matter. 

    Since influencer identification is critical to the success of any social campaign, less time and effort spent here, always produces in less results and ROI in the end.

    To be successful when selecting influencers, keep these things in mind:

    • You should be trying to build real relationships with the core influencers that matter to your brand
    • More is not always better in terms of reach or number of influencers
    • Influencer marketing is a long term strategy to build brand evangelists

    Then, brands need to do the hard work of evaluating who really influences their market:

    • Identifying where customers go online
    • Seeing who drives traffic, comments, content
    • Selecting bloggers and other influencers that have sway with other influencers

    This is not intern work (they can collect the initial data only).  Seasoned social managers or agencies need to do this and I have not found any automated system that comes close to getting great results as you point out.  

    In most cases, the automated systems act as a crutch and give you a false sense of accomplishment.  To be successful, brands need to build real, long-term relationships with bloggers and influencers to make every outreach and campaign greater than the sum of it parts.  Otherwise, you are not getting the real benefits or ROI from social media or influencer marketing.

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