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.
||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.|
||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|
||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|
||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|
||No data||No data||Limited insights|
||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.
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|
|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