What is influence in an age of social media? Is it follower number? Is it having lots of heavy-hitter followers (even if the absolute numbers are small)? The answers to these questions are important to digital marketers.
Recently, there was a article declaring Ashton Kutcher, the former self declared “King of Social Media” had little influence. Ashton Kutcher, known to his fans as @aplusk, has 5.9 million fans. Can someone with 5.9 million fans have little influence? The Northwestern University researchers said that a celebrity is taken more seriously when speaking about an area of expertise. That’s true in all spheres of life. Would you take Tiger Woods’ opinion on astrophysics seriously?
Moreover, in the age of twitter spam, and various sites offering ways to instantly grow your twitter following, one is not quite sure who or what is following you. Most Twitter users are listeners and are not actively using Twitter. A true user is defined as someone following at minimum 10 people, has tweeted at least 10 times and has at least 10 followers (10-10-10). Only 21% of Twitters users meet these criteria. People who are active twitter users are likely to actively spread your content – through retweeting; through giving their opinions; and generally engaging others in discussion – very valuable when one wants to get a message out there! Retweet rate is one measure (not to exclusion!) used to determine a person’s influence and ‘interesting-ness’. However, 3% of retweets are about Justin Bieber – is he influential? Is interesting the same as influential? How does influence contend with sheer popularity/celebrity?
Clout, according to is dictionary definition, is driving people to action. Retweeting is an action. Klout declares itself the standard for influence. Klout scores influence out of a 100 and is based on three areas – True Reach, Amplification, and Network Score. However, Klout scores @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) at 97.He has badges for over 10,000 retweets; over 500 messages retweeted and the list goes on.
Klout does not only use Twitter, but has started looking at the person’s influence across other platforms, notably Facebook; unlike, say, twittergrader.com. This is key in a region like the Caribbean. More than half of Twitter’s users use twitter through smart phones. Smart phones – Blackberrys, iPhones and the like – are at a premium in the Caribbean. In fact, Digicel Jamaica’s CEO declared that only 5% of Digicel’s 2 million subscribers are blackberry users.
The question of who has social media influence and how to measure it is far from settled. So again I ask, do you have influence?