What’s the Best Way to Define “Influence”?

Can a precise, clear-cut score be extracted from your social influence?

With the rapid movement to social media – being able to measure social influence is receiving more attention than ever. Sites such as Klout, Kred and PeerIndex are battling it out to try and win the opportunity to assist you in identifying influencers in your network. These sites turn interactions into numbers and distinguish active users from least active. But how do they calculate and measure exactly how influential one particular person is online?

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How do we define social influence?

In the perspective of social media marketing, we might be able to define social capital, or online influence as: The ability to influence behavior through the network of social connections between people, in a way which makes possible for social engagement and potential business outcomeimage

There are a few basic factors a person online needs to have and be doing to influence others:

First comes first, the person needs to have an audience that will read their messages. The more real followers a person has, the higher the chance is that their messages will reach someone.

Which brings us to the second ingredient to an influential online presence.  The messages posted must reach people and the messages needs to engage people. Will people comment, share or click the link of the post?

How do social influence measuring sites work?

  1. Collect Social Data
  2. Arrange and Organize the Social Data
  3. Apply Algorithms to Data

Let’s look at the difference between Klout, Kred and PeerIndex.

Klout quantifies influence by:

  • Real followers on your accounts, who actually responds and shares your content? Klout uses multiple sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Wikipedia and many more.
  • How does your content resonate – after posting content, how many people involve themselves in your message?
  • Are the top influencers of your network reacting in your content?

These factors are combined into one ratio that calculates your Klout Score.image

Kred quantifies influence by:

  • Frequency of your followers involvement in your content: how often are you retweeted, mentioned or followed?
  • How are you interacting with your audience, this is measured as your outreach level.

You and your followers involvement help you gain points, and the more points gained, the higher your score.image

PeerIndex quantifies influence by:

  • Is your content trustworthy? Does your audience trust your content and rely on your posts? This measures your authority in the online community.
  • How fast are you coming out with data, is it consistent?
  • What is the size of your audience and how many of them are influenced by your presence online?

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So what equation works for you? Which platform are you searching for to measure the importance of your presence online?

Attentive.ly provides Klout scores as a thumbnail measure of influence for our users. No measure is perfect, and at the end of the day what matters is: Who are the people most likely to share your “ask” — and get a positive response from their network? Klout is an effective way to float up those people on your existing list with large networks, even responsive ones, but the other half of the equation is unique to your organization:

Who is interested in (out there talking about) our issue, brand, or products?

Is it on their minds today?

Which users have historically been responsive to your email and social asks?

And who has shown brand-loyalty (positively mentioning you specifically online)?

These are all questions that can’t be answered by Klout, PeerIndex, Kred, or any other generic “social ranking” tool. But they can be answered by “listening” to what your contacts are saying on social media every day — and used to guide targeting, personalization, and messaging in your marketing campaign.