Scoring social media influence - what’s the story?


Social media influence scoring by KredStoryPeoplebrowsr’s Kred, a social influence and analytics service, today announced the launch of KredStory which is “a new way of seeing social influence that is different than anything we – or any social analytics company – have ever done before”. The good news is that this is an attempt to move away from a score automatically assigned to you.

Beware of influence scoring systems

The scores that each system produces differ drastically. Looking at my scores from Kred, Klout and PeerIndex highlights that these systems are rather mystical. Looking at it simplistically, I would argue that the data available to each of these platforms is the same and therefore my scores should be comparable, clearly that is not the case.

So what are my scores for each?

  • Kred - 639 (out of 1,000)
  • Klout - 51 (out of 100)
  • PeerIndex - 11 (out of 100)

And what does this mean?

To be frank, not much if you are just looking at a score, but before completely writing off these scores it is important to note that I do think they can be of use such as by helping to identify influencers.

Using scoring systems to help identify influencers

For brands that have thousands and thousands of mentions on social media platforms each day, it would be an extremely time intensive (and not to mention costly) process, to review each and all of the people that were responsible. A couple of ways scoring systems can be of use:

1. To narrow down large lists of potential influencers

To make a huge list more manageable you filter to view only the top 10%. Using a tool such as Brandwatch would be a way of doing this as they integrate both Kred and Klout scores. The next step is the most valuable; it is the point where you ‘bring in the humans’. Tools such as Klout and Kred are largely reliant on the number of followers or friends that someone has to determine a score. What they cannot reliably do is tell you of those followers who will be relevant to your client, and who are even real followers and not automated bots.

2. Identify influencers on certain topics

Another aspect which the tools share is the ability to identify topics that people are influential on. For example, Klout tells me that I am influential about football, gym, steak, rugby and burritos (amongst other things). But these are vague and whilst fairly accurate this information on its own is useless. I may be influential about the gym, but of my followers, I know for a fact that only a small proportion are interested in this. So using a tool such as Klout to draw up a list of influencers on a certain topic is only useful if you undertake a thorough research into who the followers are and whether they are a relevant audience for you or your brand.

Does KredStory set it apart from its competitors?

KredStory provides information in a more intuitive and visual manner for people to see what is happening amongst their followers. For brands, it will easily allow them to identify influential individuals around specific topics, and in a more visual manner. In summary, while I don’t think this is a game changer, it may mean that when people are considering using a influence measurement tool, that Kred gets the nod.

What it doesn’t change is the fact that all these tools are merely scratching the tip of the iceberg and that none of these tools can be relied upon without a significant time investment from the people using them and deciphering the information they provide.

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.

5 things to consider when engaging social media influencers online



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:


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

How do social media monitoring tools find influencers?


0Social media monitoring tools identify influencers through a series of algorithms. Each tool uses different parameters and metrics to help identify influencers online.

The different tools look at influencer in different ways. Some can help you find an influential person or influential people; some help you find a site of influence.

Not dissimilar to Google, most of the tools don’t openly talk about the algorithms they use to calculate influence, but the majority  do take into a account a number of factors that aren’t just based around popularity.

Most of the tools we tested, including  Sysomos and  Alterian SM2, use metrics that are dictated by social media channel or platform  - eg, the tools use “number of views” to find YouTube influencers, or “number of followers” for Twitter. Rather interestingly, Attensity 360 uses information from another influence identifier,  Klout, to identify Twitter influencers.

Some tools, like Social Radar,  determine influence based on the number of posts about a topic and the number of backlinks (the number of incoming links for external sites that link to a web page or website).

Other tools, like Brandwatch, not only look at the number of inbound links but also take into account the age of the site, the PageRank and traffic to the site.

As well as using some of the more standard metrics seen throughout the tools, some of the tool providers have also developed their own terminology and measurements to help brands find influencers.

Scoutlabs use an algorithm to determine what they call “importance”. This includes their own editorial opinion about a comment or post, as well as its relevance to the topic that is being searched for.

Meanwhile, Attensity 360 uses “impact” to define influencers. Impact is a proprietary metric created by Attensity to provide “a more accurate estimate of the impact/influence of coverage related to a specific topic”. Attensity also offer users the chance to add “user defined metrics” to their search, allowing clients to customize metrics to the needs of their businesses.

It is this ability to sort and customize influencer data for individual business requirements that makes the tools valuable.  Synthesio, Radian6 and Sysomos are the most flexible when it comes to to drilling down into information about influence as users can sort and interact with the data using a variety of metrics.

As the tools all identify influencers and then segment data in different ways, it is important to carry out your own research into the tools before you use them. Research the tools before investing time and money in using them. Talk to the tool providers about your objectives so that you can really find the right fit for your brand and your social media strategy.

The final version of our social media influencers report 2010 will include detailed information about how each tool identifies influencers.

The report will be released online on 3rd December following on from the launch of the report at our breakfast seminar on 2nd December. You can sign up for the event by clicking on the button below:

You can register for the event by clicking on the button below:

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