Jinfo BlogWho is influencing the social web?

Monday, 19th September 2011 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Click for printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added Tweet about this item on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

By Joanna Ptolomey

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Social media metrics is one of those topics we get asked to write and comment on all the time on the LiveWire, and Tim Buckley Owen has commented very recently. In FUMSI we have commissioned specifically with this in mind. Being social is not about the numbers of followers, it is about what is being said and by whom – your measure of influence.

So move over Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry, it is no longer about the number of followers you have on Twitter or FaceBook or LinkedIn according to the Economist. Being social is about your measure of influence according to the New York Times. But what does that exactly mean in the real world as we work in our organisations and run our businesses. And, at a very basic level, who do we trust for reliable opinions?

So, with great timing, a report from a FUMSI contributor, Andrew Spong, brings a bang up-to-date case study from the pharmaceutical sector - Pharma influence: tactics and metrics for Klout and PeerIndex. It makes interesting reading and reminds us that platforms such as PeerIndex and Klout are rating the influence of companies they choose to create, and importantly maintains accounts with them or not.

Andrew asks the questions we all have no matter what industry vertical we work in. What are influence metrics measuring? What potential and impact do ratings have for all stakeholders – public, industry professionals and investors too? Are these metrics persuasive or prejudice tools for investors?

A Guardian article provides some further insight into influence. It is the power of reaching not just numbers of people, but rather the right type of people. So who is it you and your brand are trying to influence - healthcare consumers or patients, lovers of Disney animation (kids and parents) or media savvy party folks clubbing it up in weekend Las Vegas?  When Virgin America announced new routes they used Klout to identify social media influencers and gave them free flights – reputational economics where companies and people can get the best deal.

It is clear that we are still at the beginning of understanding what really drives influence – nuances and perceptions can be difficult to assess with mathematical algorithms. But people want reliable opinions and these tools (perhaps in their infancy), I believe, will continue to mature.

Andrew will be sharing some further insights into online influence metrics and his report for the FUMSI Use practice area soon.  

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