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Measuring Influence: It's All Relative
Today’s extra-social world is redefining the way brands decide who might be considered a “VIP.” Prominent airlines are offering free flights and movie companies are opening advanced screenings to more than just celebrities. The reason? High social influence scores.
People care more about how their social network views products and services than how they’re ranked by Google or portrayed in an advertisement – according to the Neilsen Company, 90 percent of consumers say they trust peer recommendations over anything else. As peer influence becomes more important, a handful of companies are trying to come up with a formula which would accurately measure the social reach and influence of users.
Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Research recently took a deeper look at Klout – arguably the most-heavily used for obtaining social media influence metrics. Klout looks at a user’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages and, using a specific algorithm, comes up with a score from 1-100 that explains how effective a user is in his or her network. Many brands are using these companies to “prioritize the elite,” as Owyang explains, but warns that relying on a single metric is dangerous.
For example, following the Kenneth Cole debacle, the company’s Klout Score increased nearly 30 points. This indicates that the Klout score takes into consideration reactions such as @ replies and the overall growth of a network, rather than measuring sentiment of the tweets being generated. This makes it relatively simple for users to cheat the system by posting an excessive number of tweets to raise their
While Klout and other influence measurement tools can be useful, brands should keep in mind that influence is all relative. A well-known technology journalist may have a high Klout score and seem influential, but may not be relevant for a brand focused on fashion or food, for example. Consider the end audience for your client’s product or service – are the “influencers” you’re working with reaching those communities – or something else? Brands should not rely on one single measure of influence, but instead come up with their own algorithm for determining influence in their markets.
Foursquare: Seven Million Users and Counting
If you haven’t checked in on Foursquare lately, you may be part of the minority. Foursquare recently announced that there are now more than 7 million Foursquare user IDs and the number of users accessing the location-based service is growing rapidly.
Although the viability of location-based services like Foursquare has been questioned since the launch of Facebook Places, the number of Foursquare users has continued to grow, and the number of times a user checks-in each day has also increased. Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley announced in December that there are 2 million Foursquare check-ins per day and 25 thousand new users are signing up daily.
Other fun Foursquare facts:
In advance of the quickly approaching South by Southwest festival, Foursquare has tweeted a teaser of what users can expect from the company at this year’s show. Given the success Foursquare has achieved at SXSW over the past two years, the company will likely announce elements that will attempt to increase its edge over Facebook Places during the show. Follow Foursquare on Twitter or visit the company’s blog for updates on SXSW announcements.
The average Foursquare user checks in 3-4 times per day
Sixty percent of users are located in the United States, 40 percent are international users
One million photos were shared within three weeks of Foursquare adding a photo upload feature
In early 2010, Text 100 social media experts predicted that location-based platforms would explode, and after the launch of Facebook Places and the increased adoption of Foursquare, it looks like they were right. With adoption still going strong, 2011 will likely be another banner year with location-based services continuing to evolve and offer even more personalized features for users.
With location-based services continuing to gain momentum, more and more companies are implementing related tactics into their communications plans. For companies considering a campaign that includes a location-based services platform, here is a helpful step-by-step guide that shows you how to get started.