Archive for the ‘Social media influencers 2010’ Category.

Traackr, social media influence and value for brands

Influencer identification and tracking tool Traackr didn’t feature in our social media influencers report so we thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with Traackr’s CEO and Co-founder, Pierre-Loïc Assayag, about the tool and, more generally, the value of social media influencers to brands and businesses…

So Pierre, to kick things off, what do you feel is the most accurate definition of an influencer?

All of us are influencers and have been for a long time. What’s different is how we define influence in this new online information age.

For me, an influencer is a person who has a disproportionate influence on others - the influence they exert on others is greater than the influence others have on them. Influencers cause a voluntary change to someones behaviour.

There is no “trick” to influence and the best influencers are open and upfront in the way they engage their audience; if brands don’t interact with influencers in the same way they will fail to engage.

Do you think influencers are valuable to brands and businesses?

In short - yes. Our client, Honda UK , used our tool to identify and engage with influencers to launch their first hybrid car, the Honda Insight.

Honda originally set out to engage with influential people in the motor industry space. However, Traackr helped them discover that only half their influencers existed in the motor industry space; the other half where people who were interested in environmental issues surrounding cars and hybrid vehicles.

At first Honda engaged with both sets of influencers in the same way - by treating them like journalists and focusing on the PR side of things. They were offered free rides, VIP treatment etc. While this worked for the motor enthusiasts,  this did not appeal to the environmental influencers. So Honda reached out to these people and appealed to their interest in the environmental impact of cars in general not the launch of the Honda Insight per se.  Honda gave their environmental influencers direct access to their research team in order to discuss long-term environmental plans for Honda.

By learning to talk to different influencers in different ways, Honda managed to develop a long term relationship with their influencers. What’s more, Traackr’s reports showed that mentions of ‘Honda Insight’ among the top influencers increased by 300% and estimated coverage increased by 675% as a result of Honda’s influencer engagement.

But why is this story valuable to brands? Brands need to play inside an influencer’s story and must show flexibility with their marketing efforts in order to succeed with influencer engagement. From a brand and business perspective influencers are much more valuable than just for marketing and PR: influencer discovery can be used in recruiting/HR, Politics, research, etc…

What do you think is the most accurate way of identifying influencers?

There’s no tool out there  (including us) that can identify the top influencers with 100% accuracy. Influence is such a rich concept that I don’t believe we’ll be able to truly do is with 100% technology and 0% human input. Influencer identification is always going to be a mix between a skilled user, a meaningful, relevant search string and good technology.

With that caveat, Traackr’s influencer platform allows you to locate, qualify and track online influencers within any market, conversation or topic in real-time.  The tool covers all platforms (ie, blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Digg etc) and our authority score (our measure of influence) identifies individuals wherever they publish online and ranks their influence in a specific conversation based on our proprietary scoring engine.

Traackr uses 3 scores to measure influence:

  • Reach -   We measure the size of an audience across various data points and platforms. Influence is fluid and so we measure continuously over time as someone that got 7,000 hits to their blog 1 year ago may only get 7 today.
  • Resonance - this looks at the number link backs, retweets, comments etc. The tool looks for signs that a person can engage users around their content. We also include things like ratings and reviews on Amazon, Facebook likes, and YouTube comments and favourites.
  • Relevance - I love my brother very much and he does influence my life but not when it comes to financial advice!! Influence is highly contextual and identifying influencers that are relevant to your needs, market, sector, focus or whatever is vital for success. We use keywords and search strings to help measure relevance over time.

We’re going to be adding in 2 new scoring systems during Q2 of 2010. One will be based called “Relationships” and will be based on the social graph - it basically looks at who your connections are, how tightly you connected to them or whether your connections are influencers themselves. We’ll also be looking at a “Reputation” score and how people are percieved online by other people.

So why do you believe that Traackr is an effective tool for identifying influencers?

Traackr has been built solely to identify influencers. And our algorithms and measurements are so much more than just a popularity contest - context and relevance are quintessential to everything about Traackr.

The other difference is that we track a person not a platform. We follow the breadcrumb of a user across platform different platform types. Even if a person uses different names on different platform our search engine has been programmed to not only look at user name but also real name, keywords, location etc. However if a person is trying to keep certain channels separate or anonymous, Traackr won’t force the channel reconciliation as it’s usually a sign that the person doesn’t want brands to reach out to them on their personal channels.

We also use human validation if we find 2 channels that may or may not be from the same person. This process has been conducted internally at Traackr so far and will be opened to our user base in our next release next week.

30 free tools for finding social media influencers

listening_inOur recently launched  social media influencers report tests how effective nine of the leading social media monitoring tools  are at identifying influencers.

While these tools - Attensity 360, Brandwatch, Radian6, Alterian, Scoutlabs, Sysomos, Synthesio, Social Radar and PeerIndex - are certainly market leaders and offer comprehensive, cross-platform social media monitoring and influencer identification, they all come at a price.

So is there a way of finding influencers without paying for tools?

In a word, yes. There are a plethora of free (or free to a certain level of service) tools that you could use to identify social media influencers. However, unlike the tools we tested in our report,  very few of them work across the different social media platforms and most focus on one particular area of social media - mostly Twitter, but some also do blogs and forums.

And, as with all tools, the data and results require human analysis to ensure you identify the right people.

Here’s a list of some of the free tools that could be used to find influencers (in English language):

  • Addict-o-matic - produces a a consolidated page with search matches across blogs, Twitter, Digg, Flickr and more.
  • Alltop - the online magazine rack – search for influential bloggers listed by specific subject and topics.
  • Blogpulse - an automated trend discovery system for blogs. It analyzes and reports on daily activity in the blogosphere.
  • Boardreader - search engine for forums. Get fast and quality search for your own forum.
  • Buzzstream - helps you build a dossier about your influencers.
  • Dailylife - search news and editorial commentary for influencers in traditional media.
  • Facebook - use the “search” function to identify topics and people who are talking about them.
  • Google - possibly still the ultimate free tool for finding influencers, especially since the launch of  Google Blog search, Google Realtime search and their “Discussion” search option.
  • HubSpot Twitter grader - check the power of a twitter profile compared to millions of others that have been graded.
  • IceRocket - search social networking sites and blogs to find influencers and online creators (people who upload images or talk passionately on a social network about a brand).
  • Klout - currently the most respected measure of Twitter influence, Klout allows users to track the impact of their opinions, links and recommendations.
  • Lijit - build relationships with the online influencers and connect directly to their audiences.
  • MentionMap - visualiser tool that allows you to quickly assess the most influential people on Twitter.
  • Monitter - monitor Twitter for key words, phrases and topics that are being discussed online.
  • ObjectiveMarketer - find your influencers and amplifiers across various social media platforms.
  • PeerIndex - helps you discover the authorities and opinion formers on a given topic.
  • PostRank analytics - discover your influencers, identify which social networks give you most traction and benchmark yourself against the competition.
  • Pulse of the Tweeters - uses data mining and sentiment analysis to mine millions of tweets and find the most influential people on Twitter.
  • Socialmention - features an interesting combination of metrics including reach, sentiment, passion, and strength for blogs, Twitter, news, images, video, and audio.
  • Social Profile - keeps you informed of other peoples’ activity in the social web.
  • Social Seek - helps you find out who is making the most noise about your brand.
  • Technorati - considered to be the leading blog search engine - useful for finding influential blogs.
  • TipTop - Search for current trends and topics of interest.
  • TouchGraph - interactive graphs to help visualise links and for mind mapping.
  • Trendistic - find out the what the most influential topics of discussion are on Twitter.
  • Tribe Monitor - measure presence across several different social media platforms.
  • Twazzup - real-time news based on Twitter focused sentiment, top links etc.
  • Tweetlevel - measures an individual’s importance on Twitter.
  • Twendz -helps  see who your influencers are on Twitter.
  • Twitalyzer - Twitter focused tool looking at influence, impact and engagement.

Please let us know if we have missed any and we’ll add them to the list. It’d also be great to hear any thoughts you have about these tools, particularly if you’ve tried using them to find influencers.

Social media influencers 2010 – download the final report

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image courtesy of shutterstock

Following on from the success of our social media monitoring tools review earlier this year, we’ve been testing  nine of the leading social media monitoring tools in order to assess how effective they are at identifying influencers.

We’ve tested Attensity 360, Brandwatch, Radian6, Alterian, Scoutlabs, Sysomos, Synthesio, PeerIndex and Social Radar using the subject  of  “organic baby food” as the test topic for our report.

We felt it would be interesting to see how well each of the tools could help identify influencers for this much-discussed topic. Will the tools pick out key “mummy bloggers” and frequently visited forum posts in parenting sites such as Mumsnet and BabyCentre?

Download our social media influencers report 2010 to find out

We’d like to thank all the tool providers for enabling us to carry out this report. We’d also like to  give a special mention the following people for their comments and opinions about influencers, which have been included in the report: Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Murray Newlands, Louise Parker and Kelly Pennock.

5 things to consider when engaging social media influencers online

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Image courtesy of Jack Monson

With the launch of our social media influencers report this Friday 3rd December, we thought it would be useful to think more about how to engage with influencers online.

Our report road tests how well nine of the leading social media monitoring tools - Attensity 360, Brandwatch, Radian6, Alterian, Scoutlabs, Sysomos, Synthesio, PeerIndex and Social Radar - can identify  social media influencers. But once you have identified your influencers, how do you go about engaging them online?

Here a few things we feel that all brands and businesses should consider before engaging with their influencers:

1. Get to know your influencers

Before you jump in and start engaging with your influencers, be sure  listen to the conversation that is taking place on the blog, forum or social media platform where you are going to engage with them.

Read through previous discussion threads, conversations or any other relevant information you can find so that you can learn more about your influencer, what they are saying and how they are saying it.

Perhaps you could even segment by type of influencer, or the value they could potentially have for your brand (eg, spreading word-of-mouth about a product launch, reviewing your product or services etc).

This will help you use the appropriate tone and content for engaging with your influencer when the time is right.

2. Learn when to engage…and when not to

There’s no need to take part in all conversations with your influencers; sometimes the topic may be relevant, sometimes it might not. Sometimes it just won’t be appropriate for you to get involved with an influencer at all.

This will call for you to use your own judgement. Perhaps think about how much value you can add to a conversation or discussion. Or, assess how would you react in an offline scenario - would you join in the conversation or not?

Finally ask “what’s in it for me?”

If you can see no value in engaging with the influencer then don’t bother. Just because they’ve been identified as a potential influencer for your business doesn’t mean you have to engage with them.

3. Build an honest relationship with your influencers

As New Media Age commented in an article about engaging with “mummy bloggers“, it is important to be “authentic, accept criticism, not patronise and ask, not tell”. This is sound advice to anyone wishing to engage with influencers.

In order to build a successful relationship with your influencers you must think of all interaction as a way of building up a relationship. You should be looking at influencers as potential partners; as people who can champion your brand. Make them feel like an insider - they have a key position in your market place as they both speak to and represent your target audience, so treat them with the respect that they deserve.

Be mindful that influencers are giving you their time and expertise so make them feel valued and acknowledge their contributions.

4. Don’t go in with the hard sell

Yes, some influencers will be aware that you have a commercial interest in them.  And while some are commercially astute, there are always other who eschew all commercial influence.

Instead of pushing your own agenda, expand conversations beyond your specific products, brand or messages. Think about the wider topic at hand and then build up a relationship with them before discussing anything too commercial.

5. Be realistic about the results you will achieve

When  engaging with influencers it is important to understand the difference between affecting and controlling perceptions. While engaging influencers will go some way to affecting the perception of your brand and products, you cannot entirely control the outcome of your efforts.

Which tool is best at finding social media influencers?

shutterstock_65038519While Social media monitoring tools are invaluable for helping with buzz tracking and for finding influencers, it’s important to take into  account the importance of human analysis.The results are not just about the quantitative metrics; it’s more nuanced than that and you need someone who can understand and interpret the data according to the needs of your business.

When choosing a tool, one of the most important things to consider is how the tool lets you sort, filter and drill down into the search results. This will help you identify influencers that fit with your overarching social media strategy.

Depending on your requirements, you may want to pick a tool that focusses in on one platform, like Twitter or Facebook. Alternatively, you may also want to look for a tool that gives you a broad understanding of influencers e.g. how active they are across different social media platforms, or their average level of engagement etc, which will really enable you to focus in on the type of influencer or influencer activity that is most suitable for your brand or business.

Our final report, released via our blog on 3rd December, will give detailed information about the ability of each tool to identify influencers, and we’ll also reveal which ones we felt performed the best across a variety of critera.

For now, here are a few of our highlights:

Brandwatch

  • Perfect for giving you an overall view of where your influencers might be located.
  • Allows you to drill down into results to find key information e.g. number of relevant posts.
  • Very well integrated platform with easy to view influencer metrics .

Alterian SM2

  • Drill down capabilities allow you to completely tailor results to focus on a particular site of influence.
  • Easy to compare data.
  • Well presented data with interactive graphs.

Attensity360

  • Integrates metrics well e.g. Klout scores.
  • Gives a broad picture about influencers and influence scores.
  • Ability to add customised “user-defined metrics” to influencer search.

Peer Index

  • Great for targeted influencer searches based on individual business objectives - results are very much tailored to your own needs.
  • The ‘results’ report gives you influencers both at an individual level and a site level.

Radian6

  • Allows you to drill down in to data in several different ways .
  • Range of ways to segment and sort data to enable you to customize the dashboard.
  • Easy to user interface to enhance user experience.

Scoutlabs

  • Gives key insights about influence at a glance, with the ability to also drill down into data.
  • Functions like “key quotes” and “frequently used words” give insight into the online conversations.
  • Simple and inviting user interface that is easy to use.

Social Radar

  • Gives a broad overview of what conversations are taking place about your topic.
  • Allows you to view the relationships between different sources of influence on the web using their infographic style “Visualizer” tool.

Synthesio

  • User can create an environment that is completely tailored to your specifications.
  • Strong multilingual performer.
  • Allows you to see influencers at both an individual and more general level.
  • Great data presentation including graphs and charts.

Sysomos

  • Unique feature include a tool that allows you to see the authority of people who are following influencers on Twitter.
  • Allows you to find both sites of influence as well as individual influencers.
  • Good segmentation of data.