A Look at the Supposed Influencers Driving Conversation Around Five Brands: Audi, Bugaboo, ‘Mad Men,’ ‘American Idol’ and Maker’s Mark
Since the ancient, early days of social media, people have been obsessed with certain numbers as expressed in almost existential questions: How many people should I follow on Twitter? Are enough people following me? Should I accept friend requests from strangers — not to mention high-school classmates I haven’t thought of in ages — to pad out my Facebook social circle?
Lately, everybody’s been obsessing about yet another number — a sort of meta number that is meant to tally your “social influence,” particularly on Twitter. Among the players in the influence-rating space: Klout (known for its notorious Klout Score), PeerIndex and Twitalyzer, while companies like PeopleBrowsr offer integrated solutions: ways to identify influencers (“Find Your Brand Champions”) and means to further engage them.
As my colleague David Teicher wrote in Ad Age’s DigitalNext blog last September, some marketers are looking at social-influence scores to determine whether they offer special perks to customers (e.g., hotel room upgrades). Confoundingly, though, all the influence-grading companies use secret algorithms to judge you. In fact, given how ridiculously divergent influence scores tend to be — one service can give you a high score, while another decides you’re basically a social loser — you might decide the whole influence-ranking phenomenon is a questionable racket.
Of course, all the companies insist that there are well-thought-out processes behind their parsing of various data, including how often you’re retweeted, the relative influence of your followers, etc. Some of the influence-tracking companies also attempt to quantify your social influence elsewhere, including on Facebook and LinkedIn.