I know some of you are probably trying to figure out what social influence means. Others may be wondering why it should be measured. And there may even be some of you wondering why anyone should care. I’ll try to give you a brief overview along with information on services that measure social influence. For more details, you may want to read Return on Influence that I featured in a blog post last February.
When you are trying to decide what movie to see, you might ask your friends who see a lot of movies. You might also consult a movie review in the newspaper or on a Web site. Whoever helps you decide on a movie would be an influence to your decision. Nowadays there are a number of people on social media who are influencing others in every category imaginable. Someone could tell you they are an expert on a subject and how would you truly know? And if you are an expert in a subject area, what proof can you show to others?
This is where social influence scoring comes into play. Where your credit score can tell lenders if you are trustworthy for a loan, a social influence score can tell others if you have influence. First and foremost, none of the scoring services is perfect. Each of them measures a limited subset of areas where you may be influential. And just like every other kind of scoring, there are people who will try to game the system. Each of the services I’ll list are free, though one of them does have a paid option if you choose.
The four main services are Klout, Kred, Peerindex and Proskore (Proskore is free but has paid options for more features). Each of the services will ask to link to your profiles on various social media platforms so that they can see what you are posting and the interaction with others. You can choose what services to link, though linking to the platforms where you are most active is the key to earning a better score. Of course you can also look at the scores of others to see if they are truly influential.
How are the scores calculated? Each service has different algorithms and three of the services keep the details private. Kred is very open about how various activities are scored and how the raw data converts into an overall influence and outreach score. With each service, your activity level on Facebook and Twitter is very important. By looking at the content of your posts and the interaction received on those posts, they determine your areas of expertise.
In addition to providing a score that shows your influence, most of the service also offer a way for advertises to put products and services in the hands of the most influential users in related topics. If you are given something by an advertiser, you are under no obligation to say anything at all about it. They obviously hope you’ll like it and tell your social friends all about it.
This whole category is relatively new and the services make changes quite often. But if you want to know the areas where you are influential, they are quite valuable. Should someone reach out to you claiming they are an expert on a specific subject, these services can also give you a tool to find out their level of influence. Again, none of these scores is perfect, but they can be a great help. Feel free to check out my score if you like. Also, please follow me on Twitter using the button above right and ask me questions about social influence, graphics or whatever else you like.