Influence Is Topicality With Tools

Influence has been my favorite topic of late; in fact, it’s been everyone else’s, too. Let me bring you back up to speed with a bunch of good reads (not to mention a five-post series right here with many guest bloggers) since my series ran:

  • Gini Dietrich writes at Spin Sucks about Peer Index vs. Klout In this post she talks about tree frogs, her new pet and friend for Jack, and she also shares that Peer Index is trying mightily to be produce authorities on various topics.
  • Neicole Crepeau writes a heckuva intriguing post at Mark W. Schaefer’s blog, Grow, about a new way to measure and categorize influencers (she told me she is a “nerd” and this bit is all her intensity).
  • Shakirah Dawud tagged an Adweek article on Twitter about the Klout score showing up on resumes (I told you so…there, had to say that again.)
  • Judy Shapiro wrote a really good piece about why social media is a bad measure of influence (and she addresses that new influencer game, Empire Avenue (I’m staying far away from).

There’s another application I’d like to share based on a conversation and brief look at a beta site I saw yesterday. mBlast has products focusing on influencers and its flagship is mPact, rolled out earlier this year. mPact’s claim to fame is topicality as the filter of influence, and I liked what I saw although the kinks are still being worked out.

They’ve got a free product, so you can check it out, too, and its fee-based offering is reasonable considering what you’re going to get. In fact, as a small business, it’s quite reasonable at the lowest level.

One thing that resonated in my conversation with Mark Blount, vice president of mBlast, is about influence in general – it’s going to become more complex to sort through those with new social media influencer status, and the way to do that is going to be by using tools. Indeed.

(And, I especially like this Gartner-esque influencer map mPact offers…check it out…)

(images: TVArtists.org, mBlast)

14 comments
ecairn
ecairn

 Hi Jayme,

You may also want to look at our influencer lists (socialgps.ecairn.com) which are free. We, eCairn, first map tribes and then compute the influence of the different people within these tribes
Best

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

 Three things:

1. I hope people realize these are just TOOLS in the initial research of finding potential influencers. They do not replace building relationships and creating reasons for a PERSON to want to help your cause.

2. Thanks for the info on the m products. I will check them out!

3. I'm going to be testing Traackr in the coming weeks and, while not free, I hear it's the bee's knees. So I'll be sure to blog about it and let everyone know.

P.S. Thank you for picking up on my tree frog obsession. :)

JohnAkerson
JohnAkerson

Thanks for this Jayme. I've been going back and forth a bit between your article here, Gini Detrich's article that you mentioned - http://www.spinsucks.com/social-media/peer-index-vs.-klout/ and an @AnneMarieCoach article on Klout - http://annemariecross.com/get-more-clients-5-building-klout-how-influential-are-you @AnnemarieCoach tweeted yesterday about having a goal of getting her K/lout to 70 - and she and I had a brief twitter-discussion about it.  When I read her article, and came back to this, I realized the area that I am enormously deficient in is something she describes as "staying on brand."

I'm a bit discouraged that Topic Relevancy and Authority can be diminished by a more generalized focus... but I understand it. I suspect that it is going to be EXTREMELY important to define your brand, and to limit your communication ONLY to that brand. Unfortunately, I think that takes a bit of personality out of things... and when I see streams that do that... I find them less interesting and valuable.  Got anything on how to  "Define and Maintain Personal Brand, with razor sharp focus, without losing personality?"

Neicole Crepeau
Neicole Crepeau

Thanks for the reference, Jayme. I like that map, too. Shows how some people are very topical and relevant, but not always influential. I assume they are measuring the influence part based primarily on reach?  I certainly agree that the future is tools for finding, evaluating, and measuring influence. 

Saw your note one Empire Avenue. A little too gamified for my taste. I created an account and went in to look around. Couldn't figure out what to do or why, and haven't been back since. I don't need another complex social game/app to feel obligated to play with--no matter how much it might boost my klout score!

Soulati
Soulati

I find the images in the post are most impressive; the dashboard and the influencer map. Go play with it; still has kinks with mPact freebie, but the breadth of data collected on obscure topics is impressive. I put in my own name and was accompanied by Gini Dietrich and Shonali; hilarious!

Soulati
Soulati

Thank you very much for that tip; I will indeed! You've provided me with some additional fodder for influencer research and sharing. Appreciate you've stopped in.

Soulati
Soulati

There's lots to share on this topic, Gini. Eager to learn your impression re Traackr; a tool I like as a monitoring platform (for we small fry). I'd like to guest post on Spin Sucks about this topic "influence." Why do we care; how should we use; how can we find, etc. based on some research in re the tools, too. Thanks for you here.

Gary Lee
Gary Lee

 Gini - great point, and one we stress constantly.   These are indeed tools, and no electronic tool will ever replace the human interaction and human touch that separates the great from the also-ran while working with the "media".

Gary Lee
CEO, mBLAST
Use mPACT to find, listen to, and measure the voices impacting your market.

Soulati
Soulati

 Now that is a mouthful of a question...I need to noodle on this, John, and maybe we both go to mPact and test the freebie and see how a generalist's authority compares to a specialist's authority? Who can we test -- who is a generalist, do you think? And, we have a bunch of specialists in social media we can add to the test i.e. Gini, Danny Brown, AnneMarie Coach (who I don't know yet) and a few others...I'm not sure you need to lose your personality, though?

I reluctantly got to blogging about PR; I'm happier in this vertical as this is my world; however, to make it fun for me, I have to spice it up with some laughs and be a super hero, you know? That boils down to creativity, I think, and I've been thinking about that as a topic to explore. There's so much that's new, and now after hearing @seanmcginnis in his webinar today at Spin Sucks Pro about SEO, the tweets and FB links are going to have huge merit as an influence and authority generating tool.

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

Neicole I had the same feeling about Empire Ave...why can't I get into social gaming? Am I aging? Why is a game giving me anxiety?

Soulati
Soulati

 I agree with you re Empire Avenue...something more to lure and suck us in. No time for games! But, apparently many others are having fun. Besides if you're at all sensitive, it would be horrifying to not have anyone buy stock in your brand (from what I gather is happening there).

Not sure how to keep all the apps and tools straight. I think we need an app for that. Just yesterday, I suggested I open an Excel doc to track the "likes" my client and I are engaging on FB. Can you create an app for me to manage this?

Gary Lee
Gary Lee

If I might weigh in here.....I think your use of "generalist" and "specialists" can be arranged into a discussion of whether one is looking for broad influencers with very large platforms to move a mass market, or specific influencers (aka Subject Matter Experts) who can help move a particular market segment, community, brand or product.

As an example - if I am marketing a "cause", I may want as broad a coverage base as I can find.  I want to truly mass market.  And in that example, I want people with as large of a social graphs and following I can find to help me raise awareness and take action.   Think mass market and mass advertising.   That is still influence.  It's real.  And we can measure it.   It's why celebrities are effective for cause-based campaigns; they can move a large market to action.

If on the other hand I want to reach the global market for "ceramic kitties", I may want to target people viewed by that market as experts on ceramic kitties to help me with my messaging.   This also influence.   These are the specialist or specific influencers who can help reach that market, and do so with authority.   This is what we call the "EF Hutton" effect for those old enough to remember that classic ad campaign.  When these people talk, the market (for ceramic kitties) listens (and responds).

At mBLAST, we measure both in our our mPACT PRO line, but we really expose the "specialist" influencers to use your terms.   If you look in Pro at the Influencer Map, we'll show someone's general ability to influence on the Y axis of the four quadrant map you mention, and their "specialist" abilities on the X.   Both matter; but we find that MOST of the time people are far more interested in people who are high on both (upper right of the quadrant) and also lower right (high on authority and topical relevance to the market segment, but perhaps lower than others on their general influence).

And John, you wrote "EXTREMELY important to define your brand, and to limit your communication ONLY to that brand."   I would caution you here.    A person should never have just one "score" when measuring influence.   I can be extremely high on the influence curve for ceramic kitties if I talk about that alot and have a high degree of authority in the market.   And I can also be high in other communities and other topics.    To properly measure influence (at least specific influence for specific market segments), it's very possible to see people showing up in multiple communities -- some completely different.   For instance, I may blog and tweet on one topic a lot (Influencers), but my Facebook posts may be about a lot of other subjects.   That's ok.  It's ok to be measured along different topic curves.  In fact, it's how all of this should really work.

Does that help or confuse?   Ping me back.  Welcome the discussion.

Gary Lee
CEO, mBLAST
Use mPACT to find, listen to, and measure the voices impacting your market.

Soulati
Soulati

We will continue to visit this topic. I see I have more work to do and that's going to be to determine why we need influencers and who should care. People are confused why it matters to be influential.

As a communications pro, I value influencers to push message, brand and a third-party endorsement. My colleagues are not sure that matters to them and that's fine. Are large corporations and large agencies the only ones who need influencers?

No, but you do need creativity to determine HOW to incorporate them into your program as a marketing or PR professional.

Gary, this is the second time you've written blog posts in my comments; we are going to capture your expertise in a guest post I'll put together and share with your prior to publication. Cool?