Online influence is more than a number...

Online influence is more than a number...

Summary: There are many services that provide a measure of anyone's online influence. But there's more to influence than an algorithm...

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TOPICS: Browser
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Lots of people I know in PR and marketing are enamored by new services such as Klout, PeerIndex, and Empire Avenue, which seek to provide a quick assessment on any person's online influence.

If you want to know the top influencers in a specific niche market, these services will provide you with a simple number for each person, which you can use to rank the influencers.

Their goal is to provide information to marketers to help them target the right people in their markets.

But it seems to me that there's a big problem with this approach. If you, as a publicist or marketer, need to consult these services, this probably shows that you are clueless about who is important in the very markets that you are selling into.

Surely, you already know a lot about your markets. Why would you not know who is important?

Surely, you are in them, an active participant in the communities that represent your markets.

Surely, people know you, and you know them... you know who's who.

Rule 1: You have to be in your communities to know them.

Rule 2: Repeat rule 1.

Rule 3: There is only rule 1.

Klout et al, have no clue, beyond counting Tweets, reTweets, and applying an algorithm to people's online activities, about the context and the meaning of what they collect. They will provide you with a single number that refers to a person's influence within a specific sector.

But that number tells you nothing about the context of that assessment: it tells you nothing about what the hot topics are; what the major issues are in those sectors; and nothing about the culture and how to behave in those communities.

Klout, PeerIndex, Empire Avenue, and the others, provide shortcuts without insights.

[There's many cases where these services have ranked bots higher than real people.]

Use them sparingly and carefully; and get involved in your online communities. You will learn so much more about what's what, and who's who.

Finding influencers is more than just comparing their Klout score.

Topic: Browser

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    Viralseoservices
  • RE: Online influence is more than a number...

    Full disclosure, I'm the CTO of mBLAST, and I think you being a bit presumptuous here. I have several areas of interest, not including tech. I don't always know who is talking about what even if I am an active part of the subgroup because I simply can't follow everything. Furthermore, in my job, I'm asked to participate in a lot of topics I'm not immediately familiar with, or I might want to brush up on something I've not looked into lately.

    For me, our product has been a godsend and I use it all the time. I can search on a topic and find articles ONLY relevant to the topic, and the people that most talk about them without all the SEO messiness inherent in the major search engines. Most of the time, I'm not looking for someone's website (surely not a place for information, but only marketing!) I'm looking for articles, blogs and/or relevant tweets pointing me in the right direction. I'm sure most marketeers who take on a client aren't always watching an area closely either. We're all really busy. And admittedly, it takes some work and knowledge about how to search properly, but doesn't it for Google also if you want something in the first two pages?

    So products like ours are designed to point you to where you might find relevant articles and the people who are writing them. We parse on the order of 1.2 BILLION such items a month, ranking, sorting, indexing, and collating by exactly what people write, not what they think they write. And to me, that has been immensely helpful in all of my interests, not just tech. Or even if I've read an article about something and I want to know more. It's about the right tool for the right job.

    BTW, I found this post from you via our product searching for "top influencers". So it worked right? ;)

    Mark Hatch
    skyman123
  • RE:Online influence is more than a number...

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