“The biggest mistake we see people make is confusing influence with follower count. Having a large number of followers is worthless if those followers are not engaged and paying attention to you.”
You can’t do influencer relations without a good set of tools for identifying influencers and measuring and tracking their influence. Here’s a new tool for your consideration: Edelman’s TweetLevel, by Jonny Bentwood. TweetLevel calculates an “importance” rating of 0-100 for anyone with a Twitter handle. And, it’s free to use.
Most of the big agencies provide their clients with pricey dashboards and services for monitoring company reputation, PR programs and more. So it’s refreshing to see this Twitter discovery and ranking tool out in the public domain offered free of charge.
The total “importance” score is based on measurements in 4 areas: influence, popularity, engagement and trust. The underlying data comes from a combination of respected 3rd party influence/activity ranking sources, such as TwInfluence, and original Edelman calculations.
TweetLevel saves you time and gives you repeatable results, which we all need. From there, it’s up to you. It can’t tell you who the influencer is engaged with or whether the Twitter exchanges are positive, negative or neutral.
How would you use it today? A couple of ways to consider even now, during beta:
Human relationships tend to be complicated, and relationships with influencers are no exception. Yet, you need to know where you stand with an influencer and to share that insight with others in your organization. That’s why so many of us strive to describe influencer relationships in terms that are simple, meaningful and broadly applicable.
There are many different systems for scoring relationship strength and, if you’re like me, you’re likely to develop a custom system rather than adopt something off-the-shelf.
Some systems are based on the old media mentions scoring. These score influencer relationships the same way that one scores media mentions: positive, negative, neutral or unknown. Usually there’s an “inactive” choice thrown into the mix.
Other systems go to into greater depth, all the way up to using 10-point scales for various attributes that average out to an overall “strength”. Typical attributes include knowledge, information exchange, willingness to engage, willingness to recommend, frequency of contact and more.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. What matters is that you capture useful information in a professional, consistent and repeatable way and that you act on it.
Whatever method you use, consider adopting these 3 tenets:
1. Keep it as simple as possible.
2. Apply it as honestly as possible.
3. Respect the time and privacy of your influencers as much as possible.
Influence made The Harvard Business Review 2009 List of breakthrough business ideas.
As you know, I’m a fan of the idea that social media may expand traditional spheres of influence by eroding reliance on physical “nearness” (propinquity), to decision-makers.
The HBR study by James Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis tightens the noose the other way:
“New research shows that personal influence is a short-range phenomenon, dissipating entirely at three degrees of remove from the person who exercises it. This has implications for business, where the success of campaigns to foster, say, creativity or worker safety may hinge on enlisting employees to influence colleaguesâ€šÃ„Ã´ behavior.”
That means we influence only a very small sphere of people in our personal lives.
On the up side, it does support our Influencer50 ethos: conduct quality research into bona fide influencers, understand their networks, and work with them directly.
Hat tip to Leili McKinley.
Scott Brinker blogged about propinquity and Twitter last week. I’d never heard the word propinquity before. However, propinquity seems to be a label for a familiar concept — the notion that physical promixity promotes relationships. My parents harped about that while I was a teen. Happily, Scott takes a different tack. He suggests that social media applications such as Twitter may wear down the effects of physical promixity in relationship dynamics. I wonder what kind of effect they will have on relationships with influencers. And how we will measure it.
Today, we use several criteria for measuring influence for our Influencer50 clients. Our metrics include factors such as an influencer’s
- market reach
- frequency of impact
- quality of impact
- closeness to decision
“Closeness to decision” is where propinquity comes into play. We include physical proximity and timing in this metric. So, we already think of closeness to a decision as a measure of more than physical distance.
It’s not hard to envision extending “closeness to decision” with new metrics focused on social media, mobile communications, or both.
Several companies already use Twitter as a way to engage with influencers and customer conversations online. Duncan has written about this development in The Influencer, our free newsletter.
One thing is clear. We haven’t gotten our collective heads around the implications of social media in terms of influence. We’re still caught up in early adopter personalities and tactics.
Sometime soon, we’ll need to stop counting social media links and echoes. We need to start agreeing on what counts as distance and what counts as closeness and what counts as influence.
Update, Jan. 19: this event has been canceled.
My colleague Duncan Brown will give the opening presentation at the Influencer Marketing Summit next month in London. His presentation, “Capitalise on influencer marketing to accelerate brand performance and drive sales”, will focus on how to:
- Determine the effectiveness of your influencer marketing by knowing what to measure and when to measure it
- Align influencer marketing with business objectives to drive brand performance, increase business growth, validate marketing cost and optimise return
Marketing Week has put together an impressive speaker line-up for this summit. Brand managers hail from the likes of Cheapflights, BT, Nokia, T-Mobile, and LEGO. Plus, several experts will share insights specific to core disciplines of influencer marketing applied to brand management.
Check it out, and if you are attending, give Duncan a shout.
Charlene Li predicts that ‘Personal CPM’ innovations will figure in the social media/marketing front in 2009. Personal CPM is one of the more interesting outcomes of joining up social media with consumer marketing. The idea is to analyze social behavior to more accurately target consumers. In Charlene’s words,
“Each person’s profile will command a different, personal CPM based on a trilogy of their behavior, influence, and market demand.”
It’s easy to see how this type of metric would have so much appeal in consumer marketing. It could enhance our thinking about upstream segmentation, downstream personalization, and everything in between. Where we have “personas” today, we could be back to addressable “people” tomorrow.
Personal CPM, as Charlene describes it, could also innovate accepted metrics for identifying and comparing influence among consumers.
Don’t pigeonhole personal CPM as just another advertising model.
Personal CPM has implications for influencer identification and engagement as well.
Forrester Research’s Kevin Lucas raises a good question: what core corporate business value can your analyst relations program deliver? His point is that AR programs shouldn’t commit to delivering sales value unless there’s good reason to do so. As logical as that advice may sound, I don’t agree with it.
Analyst relations programs can be designed to deliver on a wide range of business objectives. There’s no reason to shy away from aligning AR with the customer purchase decision process. In fact, that has been the basis of the analyst business — and analyst relations — since the late 80s.
What you can’t do, is bolt sales performance expectations onto an existing AR program. Objectives are fundamental to how you design, staff, fund and measure an AR program.
A legacy AR program — perhaps focused primarily on what’s said during a conference, or improving where your dot is placed on quadrants — is not going to shorten sales cycles tomorrow because somebody issues an edict today.
The magic wand scenario just doesn’t fly.
That doesn’t mean that an AR program can’t deliver sales value. It means that delivering sales value will take time. It will take intention. It will take planning.
Kevin asks a good question. It’s up to each of us to come up with a good answer.
One of the top 10 questions we’re asked by new clients is, “what’s the best way to measure our influencer program?” Today, there’s no single “right” answer to that question. The answer varies according to the state and direction of the organization, its business objectives, and the market it’s addressing.
Each organization undertakes an influencer program for its own unique set of reasons. Even head-to-head competitors — targeting similar influencers in the same market — often declare different objectives and apply different measures.
That’s not to say there’s a lack of valid techniques for measuring the impact of influencer programs. Quite the contrary. It’s just that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is one of the industry groups recognizing the need for a selection of valid measurement approaches. Their measurement research committee suggests that at least 4 measurement models deserve serious attention:
- Customer Value Matrix
- NetPromoter(TM) Economics
- Social Value of Opinion Leaders
- Conversation Value(TM) Model
Thought leaders like Ogilvy’s John Bell are paying attention, just as we are. These models will evolve rapidly. We can all help shape the thinking. We all have a hand in the rate of adoption.
Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to adopt a measurement model that makes sense for your organization.
Many analyst relations departments survey their internal users and their analysts in the spirit of measuring satisfaction with AR programs, tools and processes. All too often, the results are too positive or too negative. In other words, the results are stilted to serve near-term budgeting, review or political agendas. This week’s CRMBuyer.com column by Louis Columbus, “Measuring Customer Satisfaction Like You Mean It”, provides a helpful reminder of top do’s and don’ts when designing a customer satisfaction measurement project, from constructing the sample to using results beyond a stand-up presentation.
Mr. Columbus is an expert on CRM and the author of “Getting Results from Your Analyst Relations Stratgies”, available on Amazon.
Reprinted from Tekrati