9 Indicators Of A Social Web Influencer

Over the past three years, the measure of influence on social media has evolved considerably.   Since the inception of Twitter followers, “engagement” has become a new buzzword of marketers, who have finally realized that social networks are being used to listen to an audience before speaking to the same individuals. In 2012, their next challenge will be to convert “engagement” into a concrete tacit.

Influence Marketing: A Matter Of Algorithms

Based on the trends in social media influence market, there has been an emergence of a multitude of young startup companies offering their own measurement algorithms.  Tools such as Klout and PeerIndex have quickly excelled, constantly improving on how they measure influence. Today, users can select from more than thirty free applications to find a tool to meet their needs.
There are new social platforms like Empire Avenue, Kred and XeeMe which suggest an approach more oriented towards corporate or professional objectives. They permit a better level of engagement amongst individuals, while providing new measurement metrics.

To better understand the true value of an influencer, several external factors to social media, such as portfolio of achievements and expertise must also be considered. The new science of measurement of influence should not be limited only to the analysis of a social web presence, it should extend to the “real world”.

This is where the main current tools, geared towards mostly to marketing objectives, are not unanimous. In their analysis, they believe a combination of metrics measured through activity on social networks, such as number of followers, “likes” or “retweets”.  In the age of “egocasting” and socialization on the web, the concept of influence and leadership must consider a social web presence in a professional context.

From this perspective, to understand the value of the influencer in 2012, here is a list of nine major indicators  based on articles written by David Armano (Senior EVP – Edelman Digital): Pillars of the New Influence and Dorie Clark : How To Become A Thought Leader in Six Steps, published in the Harvard Business Review.

Nine Indicators Of A Social Web Influencer

A strategic and effective social presence

Avoiding unnecessary dispersal on all social platforms, the social media influencer is strategically positioned on key targeted networks, where he or she received broad exposure. He or she is generous when knowledge is shared and relies on the quality of content to build commitment. The amplification of his or her network of followers is multiplied through distribution channels, thus resulting in a favorable score of influence.  Fame is reflected both in a presence on social networks based on the quality of his or her accomplishments and achievements in real life.
Here are the top five indicators that measurement tools utilize to determine the score of an influencer. (Please Note: Some individuals may refer to these indicators using different terms.)

1 – Scope (reach / amplification)

Scope on social networks is mainly defined by the size and weight of followers in the influencer’s network.  What is important is the quantity (i.e., number of followers or contacts) and quality (i.e., number of followers of the followers) and the potential amplification.  From a marketing perspective, the scope and amplification are the two main data points that still predominate in most measurement tools.

2 – E-reputation

Reputation for an influencer on social media is in his or her digital DNA.  Generosity in sharing knowledge and the closeness he or she develops with an earned entourage based on recommendations. On social networks, this recognition is also reflected in the number and frequency of mentions. On some platforms, the number of followers, importance of lists and circles to which the influencer appear are important metrics.

3 – Credibility

The credibility of an influencer on social media is directly linked to online reputation, as well as the relevance of shared content and level of engagement. Initially, this recognition is based on the achievements and accomplishments in his or her industry and it is reflected in the positive feedback that is given online.  On social networks like in real life, the credibility of a leader is reflected in the quality and relevance to networks, partners and colleagues.

4 – Broadcasting

The new influencer is active and diligent on the major social networks with the support of regular activity on his or her personal blog.   All social platforms are utilized to increase the dissemination of content and a key message. Those who obtain exposure in traditional media outlets, will automatically obtain a wider reach.  As a result, the influencer will have an increase of their score.

5 – Social Score

The promotion of the social media influencer is the end result of four previous indicators and is expressed mainly by the score he or she obtains with measurement tools. With the scope and amplification of the network, the score remains the social metric favoured by marketers and businesses because it is the best indicator of ROI for them.

Social Impact Is Reflected In Reality

Leadership is confirmed first and foremost by actions and achievements. The social impact of an influencer is based on recognized expertise and the relevance of his or her words and actions on social media. There are two key metrics that can used in the measurement:

6 – Expertise

The expertise of an influencer is measured primarily by his or her professional track record and the importance of achievements. In their respective fields, leaders are often asked to share their knowledge.  They are invited to speak at conferences, lead training workshops and author books.  As a result, these are important indicators of a true leader.

7 – Relevancy

Leaders demonstrate their relevance in their field of expertise when they can provide answers to questions.  This is accomplished by validating the quality of content they publish regularly on social networks.  The indicator reflects the number of impressions (views) and comments made on their online publications.

Going Beyond The Score: Confidence and Commitment

Going beyond the social score, which is calculated using algorithms, the critical values of a leader are more dependent on confidence and the real commitment he or she inspires in those around him or her. On social networks, these two values are fundamental to successfully position the individual amongst the influencers in the industry. They represent in some ways the new measures of ROI: return on the action (ROA).

8 – Trust

Reporting directly to the relevance of content and recognized expertise, the earned trust that he or she possesses remains the cornerstone of successful influencers on social networks. Since it involves feelings, this indicator still remains difficult to measure. It remains a crucial element in the concept of influence on social media, especially as this aspect is often developed without the two parties never meeting in person.

9 – Commitment

In the present context, where the scope and influence on social media are not sufficient to determine the true value of an influencer, concrete commitment by community members (i.e., virtually or in real life) remains the most significant indicator.  On social networks, this commitment is calculated based on the number of retweets, shares and obtained favorable comments left on blogs and other published content.

The Measure of Influence On Social Media: An Evolving Science

Based on the insights by Mark W. Schaefer, the science of measuring influence on social media is still in its infancy, much like silent films during the 1920′s. Early attempts to establish metrics for measuring influence on social media has uncovered huge potential for tools, both for marketing communications and collaboration needs.  The best is yet to come for this opportunity.

Despite their highly commendable efforts, none of these metrics has yet to fully meet the requirements for key influencers. Even today, users do not always agree on the metric of choice and no platform is unanimous.  The tool that comes to setting the standard of measurement will be the one that meets users’ expectations.

What do you think? What do you think are most important indicator of a good web influencer? Which measurement tools are you using? Share your comments!!!

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Source: Paul Labelle, Photographer


Author of the books, “Culture Web à la portée des PME” and “Comment entreprendre le virage 2.0” Raymond Morin has written for several magazines over the past 10 years. Very active on social media, he has contributed to several online publications as guest blogger, including Trinity College School, Locita, and Intelegia. Raymond is a corporate trainer and is regularly invited to give lectures and training workshops to companies and organizations. In collaboration with Intelegia, and Ian Smith, Raymond is preparing for the release of a new book, “Comment devenir un influenceur dans les médias sociaux”