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.

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?

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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.

Influencers report 2010: How to find online influencers

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influencerAs a follow on to the success of our social media monitoring tools review earlier this year,  we’ve been carrying out detailed tests on 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 in detail, as well as looking at Visible Technologies‘ tools.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be blogging about some of the key insights from the report  including:

  • What is an influencer?
  • How to identify influencers
  • Influencer scores
  • Tool performance comparisons
  • Targeting influencers online

The full version of the report will then be released via our blog following on from an exclusive launch at our breakfast seminar on Thursday 2nd December.

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

Register for How to target social media influencers in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite