Getting the Full Picture of Influence

Marketers are programmed to be focused on the numbers and for good reason. Success is based on what we sell, which ultimately comes down to dollars and cents. The problem arises when we try to apply our obsession with numbers to aspects of business that are difficult, or even impossible, to quantify.

The Tools of Measuring Influence Fall Short.

Our obsession with numbers has intersected with our obsession with social media in terms of measuring influence. Radian6, Twitalyzer, PeerIndex and, most notable as of late, Klout each provide their own method to quantify influence. However, each of these tools uses a different algorithm, which means one might find an influencer to be prom king, while another finds the same influencer to be a nerd (like me).

All of the tools likely have well thought out algorithms and good reasoning for giving each influencer the score they do, but with no clear alignment on how influence can be quantified, an influencer score will never be what we need it to be. At least, not by itself.

Influencer Scores Give a Piece of the Puzzle.

As marketers continue to embrace social media, the need to identify who to align with, seed product to, provide information to and so on will continue to grow because they want to ensure they get the most bang for their buck. Who wouldn't, right?! They want the people who have the most influence over their customers.

Influencer scores can be part of that puzzle, but relying solely on influencer scores risks passing up someone who matters or partnering with someone who doesn't.

The full puzzle needs to be put together, and influencer scores are only a piece. Marketers need to invest the time and evaluate:

  1. The Following: Determine how many people choose to follow this person. You don't want to be reaching out to someone who has only their mom for an audience.
  2. The Content: Make sure their content is relevant to your brand and your consumer. Don't bother with people who don't talk about what your consumer is interested in or topics related to your brand. It's a waste of your time and theirs.
  3. The Engagement: Take a look to see how an influencer's audience reacts to his or her content. Do they comment? Watch? Retweet? Like? You should be looking for an engaged audience. It will tell you how vibrant an influencer's community is.
  4. Influencer Score: The influencer score provides a quantifiable measurement to see how those you're thinking about working with match up to one another.

There's Room for the Influencer Score.

Influencer scores are a good thing. They add a level of quantifiable reasoning for making decisions. They should, however, be paired with other methods of determining influence. Each method supports the other and makes up for each other's weaknesses. When aligning on influencers, don't throw one out because he or she has a low influencer score. Take a look at the whole picture. You may be missing something.