When it comes to the matter of online influence, there are a lot of differing opinions.
On one hand, you have Klout, who issues scores for people based on a variety of top-down factors, including how many followers they have. Then you have author Malcolm Gladwell, whose book The Tipping Point maintains that a small group of uber-influencers are responsible for major trends. Columbia researcher Duncan Watts disagrees with Gladwell, and talks up peer influence, or the “pass-around power of everyday people.”
These are all ways of looking at influence on an author or “person” level. Whichever one you choose to subscribe to, we believe that companies must develop a customized way to find influential content on the web about their brand — and this doesn’t start with measuring the influence of people, it starts with identifying influential content. This is why Spiral16′s influence ranking is instead by page, and is measured according to how likely a post is to show up in a search plus how many other sites with relevant keywords are linking to that specific page.
Lastly, and this is something that can only be measured with a custom-developed program of online listening, it is really important to consider the relationship between a brand and its market of potential customers. Measure the language and sentiment of brand interactions and you’ll see what work you need to in developing that relationship.
Still confused? Crowdtap recently published a report about social media and the power of peer influence that goes through a brief history and includes new statistics from Neilsen and a Crowdtap poll from their new whitepaper The Power of Peer Influence. Here’s their new social media infographic: