Firms like Klout, Kred, PeerIndex, and Twitalyzer are examples of the many new companies that are trying to stake out positions as leaders in the race to measure people's standing or influence in social media. Each wants to become the gold standard for ranking social media influence.
The field is all about listening to, monitoring and analyzing social media "signals" or actions we take using social media, mostly in an attempt to help marketers identify and reach the most influential people.
Purposes of Measuring Social Media InfluenceThere are many reasons social media influence is gaining importance, especially in the world of corporate marketing.
One reason all kinds of start-ups are developing these new measurement systems to analyze social media influence is to give companies tools to decide which customers merit the best service, or which can help them sell the most products.
If a customer has a lot of influence in social media, he or she could both help the company sell more products or cause harm to a company's reputation if they get too irked. Here is a look at some companies that specialize in social metrics and social analytics, which involve technologies for measuring social media influence.
- Klout is one of the top social media influence metrics firms. Its proprietary formula analyzes activities we engage in on social networks and other social media, then assigns us a score from 1 to 100, with 100 going to those Klout thinks have the most influence or clout. Klout's secret formula for scoring influence looks at such things as how many comments, posts, likes and other reactions are generated in response to our own posts, status updates and other social media actions. It relies heavily on Twitter and Facebook activity.
- PeerIndex was founded in 1999 and has grown steadily grown to become a strong contender in this growing field. It claims to measure authority, which is similar to influence with subtle differences. It calculates authority based on subscores for specific topics. PeerIndex also has separate activity and audience scores for everyone.
- Twitalyzer is foused on measuring influence on the Twitter social messaging system. It has a free option but it's limited. Mostly, Twitalyzer is a premium subscription service that starts at $4.99 per month and allows you to track and measure the impact of various Twitter accounts.
- Kred is a new member of the social influence measurement club. It launched in 2011 with yet another system for measuring our levels of influence and engagement online.
Klout's Increasing CloutKlout is perhaps the social influence tracker with the most influence, partly because it looks at so many different types of social media and so many activities on each.
Klout's algorithm is programmed to look at such things as how many people retweet or resend our messages, and in turn, the amount of "klout" or influence the people with whom we're engaging have themselves.
Klout stirred controversy in October 2011 when it revamped its influence-scoring system. It claimed the goal was to increase accuracy, but many people were upset their Klout score dropped suddenly.
Each Klout score consists of sub-scores that measure such things as:
- Reach--How many people you reach, as reflected in the connections you make with other people across all social media tracked by Klout.
- Amplification-This is a measure of how much other people react to your own activity in social media.
- Network influence--This basically looks at how much "klout" the people you're engaging with in social media have.
If social influence is being used as a indicator or proxy for marketing reach, then the broader a message is retransmitted, the more influence it potentially has for marketing purposes. In that sense, these metrics are a useful measure of social influence.