Online PR Campaigns – Dissecting Different Measurement Tools to Calculate your Social Media Influence

 

Influence: What does it mean?

Very recently Social Media guru, Brian Solis, raised up a storm by saying that “so called tools to measure the standard of influence on social media do not actually do what they claim to be doing.” Social media influence needs to be defined more accurately, so that better tools can be developed to give a more precise score, than those available on tools like Klout or Kred.

In a single sentence Brian Solis rejected the context in which the term ‘Influence’ is used. He said Klout does not measure your influence but instead tells you about your ‘Capacity to influence’ on social media. There is no way that your social media interactions can be measured to determine the actual extent of your influence on your social capital.

Brian Solis also defined ‘Influence’ as “the ability to cause effect, change behaviour, and drive measurable outcomes online.”

6 Factors of influence

Now if you try to assess any available tool to measure influence by the definition, you may find none of them giving you a clear result. But if we break down three tools, based on some parameters of influence, we can figure out what to term as useful and what to pass off as irrelevant. Let’s take a look at three tools used to determine social media influence on the basis of 6 factors laid down by Michael Wu in his article.

Parameters Klout Kred Sprout social
Influencer’s power
  1. Credibility
Klout style and topics tells you about one’s expertise on subjects and the level of engagement in general, across all channels Kred shows ‘Kredibility’ in a particular community and not topic. Your Kredibility increases if people from those communities re-tweet or reply to you. This is action driven. The more mentions you have, the higher your Kred score. Rather simplistic approach based on the activities of your social capital. Sprout social gives an Engagement and Influence bar.
  1. Bandwidth
Does not clearly state the level of engagement on individual social networking platforms Takes only one medium (Twitter) into account. Gives an in-depth analysis on individual social mediums
Target’s likelihood to be influenced
  1. Relevance(the right information)
It somewhat gives you an idea as to whether your posts are relevant to the target audience or not Your post could target anyone and the score may not be relevant to your area of expertise Does monitor your posts whether they are focused or relevant
  1. Timing (the right timing)
Is Real time but does not give insights on the right timing of the posts Gives limited information on the trends and timing of posts Better analysis of the timing of posts on various social networks but not so accurate with the tracking
  1. Alignment (The right place)
No data No data Limited insights
  1. Confidence (The right person)
Depends on the user getting enough K+ from others on topics that are relevant Similar to Klout. Depends on Kred+ received from the target audience Does compare the levels of influence and engagement with others but the algorithm is never fully known.

With this comparison between three influence measurement tools, out of which one is a paid analytics tool, we can conclude that the actual influence on social media is far from being perfectly evaluated. Most agencies who are trying to assess the outcome of their campaigns still have to go through multiple tools and matrices to define the ROI in terms of brand influence.

Our Verdict

We on the other hand have come up with our own set of parameters to help you decide which tools can best be used to figure your campaign’s effectiveness.

Parameters Hootsuite Sprout social Kred Klout Radian 6
Number of Channels Multiple Multiple 1 Multiple 1
Accuracy 4/5 3.5/5 3/5 3/5 4/5
Custom Reporting Available Limited None none Available
Real time Partially Partially Yes Yes Yes
Cost Basic – Free

Pro account – $5.99/Month

Pro – $9/Month

Business – Starting $39/m

Free Free Basic Account $600/month

In most cases having a Hootsuite account is enough for accessing social media influence. Coupled with Facebook insights and page analytics, a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout social can help you determine the influence of your social presence. Tools like Kred lack the broader spectrum, however can be useful if your engagement relies solely on Twitter. Klout does make better sense when one needs a definite score on reach, amplification and style of engagement, although there’s no looking for explanation behind the scores. Tools like Radian6 are sophisticated but the issue of the validity of the insights remains a question, even though it’s quite expensive.

A word of advice? Always use a combination of quantitative and analytical tools to chart out the right matrix, to show your clients; in order to address the ROI measurement of your next social media campaign.

Written by Koustubh Bhattacharya for Image Management

9 thoughts on “Online PR Campaigns – Dissecting Different Measurement Tools to Calculate your Social Media Influence

  1. Thanks for mentioning Sprout Social, Koustubh! While we do include some engagement and influence metrics in our application, we always encourage users to focus on providing value and interacting with their customers! Also, just want to clarify that our pricing starts at $9 per month. 

    Thanks again,

    Brittany Morse
    Social Marketing Manager | http://sproutsocial.com

    • Thanks Brittany for the clarification! I must admit that I missed out on the $9 pro plan. I have duly updated the prices in the table. I agree that Sprout Social has a different approach when it comes to measuring engagement and there are many factors that help define the value of online interactions. The question of ROI however remains and the social media managers understand the volatility of the situation well. I feel that the concern over measurement becomes pronounced when the new age marketers and brand managers need to explain the efforts to their traditional bosses to acquire more funds and increase budgets on social media. Some matrices are really helpful but in most cases there is a lot of explaining to do and

    • Thanks Brittany for the clarification! I must admit that I missed out on the $9 pro plan. I have duly updated the prices in the table. I agree that Sprout Social has a different approach when it comes to measuring engagement and there are many factors that help define the value of online interactions. The question of ROI however remains and the social media managers understand the volatility of the situation well. I feel that the concern over measurement becomes pronounced when the new age marketers and brand managers need to explain the efforts to their traditional bosses to acquire more funds and increase budgets on social media campaigns. Some matrices are really helpful but in most cases there is a lot of explaining to do since it depends on the social media manager’s ability to interpret and present the analytics data in a way that satisfies the decision makers. I would be glad to hear your own experiences in this regard and if you feel the way I do or quite the contrary… 

    • Thanks Anneliz for pointing out the catch in using these measurement tools in terms of engagement and influence! The social networks are so diverse in their engagement patterns that it almost becomes imperative to use more than one tool to assess the perceived effect of the campaign. For sales guys probably none of this will work and they might have to resort to comparing actual lead generation data with the ad server insights along side the insights provided by the social networks as per the CPC/PPC stats on ad campaigns. A true centralised tool able to actually go through tons of user data and conversations across social networking platforms and actually tell the nature and extent of engagement and influence could as well be a Camelot for now. The question is whether some one claims to come up with such a tool or not, how smart is it to believe something like that when we are dealing with so much of qualitative data? I think we might find answers in the ‘social graph’ and its applications. On a random note I visualise it like the constantly crawling code in Matrix which cant be read line by line but assessments can be made by observing the subtle changes in the code structures :)

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