Who are the most engaging world leaders on Twitter?

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With elections in Russia already happened, those in the UK, France and the US to come there is much debate about how social media is now being used in both the electoral process, and more broadly as part of engagement between our world leaders and others on social media. Barack Obama has traditionally been held up as an example of using social media for campaigning and for engaging with people through Twitter, Facebook and other channels. But he is not the only world leader to use social media.

Whilst rankings, numbers and leagues tables only tell part of the story, it is a useful way to begin exploring and understanding how these leaders are using Twitter and which are most engaging.

World Leaders on Twitter

This ranking looks at known (and where possible verified) accounts of world leaders on Twitter. It uses PeerIndex to measure their influence and to rank them. The result for top spot is not surprising (Barack Obama), second place goes to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and then comes the President of Colombia in third (Álvaro Uribe) and Queen Rania of Jordan on fourth. The list continues to include leaders from Venezuela, Russia, Turkey and others.

The more successful world leaders on Twitter are not necessarily those who are responding to most people, or answering most questions. In fact most of the top five are not doing this on a regular or ongoing basis (probably either because the volume the get is unrealistic, or because it is not appropriate for them to engage in most discussions). What they have got right, however, is knowing their audience and pitching their content right. There is nothing worse than following somebody on Twitter who is either boring (for example constantly pushing out press releases) or who talks about such a wide variety of things it is difficult to know if you are interested or not. These world leaders clearly have strategies for how they are using social media and a plan to engage people around content and discussions of interest to them.

This is something we can all learn from, either for our personal or business accounts. Know your audience, work out what they are interested in (and what they are not interested in) and then engage and share with them on this.

What’s hot in social media – February 2012 round up

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February was a busy month in social media: Pinterest rocketed in popularity so much that some are (wrongly) calling it “the next Facebook”, while Facebook itself announced the roll-out of Timeline for brand pages. Here’s a few other things that have caught our eye this month, which you may have missed:

Twitter sentiment analysis heats up

  • Datasift historic tweetsTwitter and UK based data technology company Datasift came to an agreement to release tweets going back two years. Until now, marketers have only been allowed to see tweets from up to 30 days ago. Datasift will be taking in about 250 million tweets every 24 hours and analysing them for sentiment, location and influence. The effect of this arrangement to access the Twitter archive has led to concerns about privacy, as well as conjecture that it could be a step towards being able to predict future events.
  • And speaking of predicting the future, HP and Organic took advantage of this month’s Oscars to play with some real time sentiment analysis. Similar to XFactorTracker from Professor Noreena Hertz, The Awards Meter used language analysis to monitor Twitter during the run up to the Oscars and ranked nominees according to popular or negative opinion on Twitter. At FreshNetworks we believe that you can’t necessarily take sentiment analysis at face value - automated tools need deeper analysis and understanding of the tool’s inherent biases to really dig in for insights.  However, simple tools like the Awards Meter do hint at how useful it can be to look at social media for viewing overall trends and, and are a great way to demonstrate the technology.

Social influencers are the new darlings of social media

  • PeerIndex, the social influence company has released a service targeted towards people who are ranked highly in specific subjects to offer them related discounts. Essentially a free sampling service, ‘PeerPerks’ aims to differentiate itself by ensuring that free samples only go to people who are really influencers in their product fields – with the aim being that if they then talk about the products in their social circles, the uptake will be much greater. As Ian Carrington, mobile sales director at Google UK said during Social Media Week, consumers are 300% more likely to buy something when it is recommended by a friend, so it will be interesting to see whether PeerPerks takes off.
  • Boo Facebook's most influential dogAnd as we’re involved with Park Bench, a community for dog owners, we like to keep a handle on the non-human influencers in social media too – and with almost 3.5 million fans, Boo is possibly the most famous dog on the planet. Interestingly, it looks like even he is now endorsing products in social media with the recent mention on his Facebook page of a new American Apparel hoodie. Will other brands be jumping on the Boo bandwagon?

Which UK Airport is best at engaging on Twitter? (Answer: Manchester)

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Airports play an important role in many travel plans. Few people will feel that they are choosing and buying services from airports as they probably travel through an airport because the cheapest or most convenient flight goes through there. In fact in many cases the best airports are either those that make your experience so fast and efficient that you don’t need to spend much time there, or those that make you feel that you aren’t just waiting for a plane whilst you are there.

For any airport using social media it is important to have a very clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve and who they are communicating with, and what they want to talk about. Bad use of Twitter would be trying to engage too many different types of stakeholder about too many different types of topic with no clear benefit or reason for the airport to be using Twitter at all. Good is a clear, focused strategy. Perhaps engaging those who are en route to the airport or who are already there - making their journeys simpler and easier. Or maybe engaging those who are planning trips to help them with information about the area as well as about passing through the airport.

To analyse the success of UK airports on Twitter we have created a ranking of UK airports on Twitter using PeerIndex - which ranks how effective Twitter accounts are at engaging and influencing people in a meaningful way. There is one clear winner in this ranking: Manchester Airport. And taking a look at their Twitter account it is easy to see why. They are focused on engaging travellers and helping them to navigate their way through the airport as efficiently as possible. They answer questions on arrivals and departures, on how to get help at the airport and on what you will find when you are there. It serves, in effect, as a customer service and FAQ tool helping people to make the most of the time they spend at Manchester airport before and after their flight. It is perhaps this focus and real engagement that makes them so successful and (currently) the leader in our ranking.

UK Airports on Twitter: Ranking

30 free tools for finding social media influencers

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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.