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August 4th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Influence metrics for B2C brands

As the prevalence and influence of social media on consumer behaviour grows, it has become vital for brands to track conversations online and derive meaningful insights that will aid the decision making process. Other than numbers and figures for ROI purposes, monitoring can also provide brands with data on influencers. Influencers can range from ‘blue chip’ sites like the New York Times, which is relied on for information on media, politics and news, to individuals such as Perez Hilton, whose gossip blog is considered an authority on celebrities and entertainment.Increasingly, consumers are looking for product reviews online and listening to what users recommend. Therefore, it is important for brands to identify among these users, those who are potent influencers.

There are numerous influence metrics systems popping up everyday some becoming popular with your everyday social savvy individual as well. One such example is Klout, which takes into account the numer of twitter followers you have, the number of times you are retweeted as well as your facebook network to give you a Klout Score ranging from 1 to 100.

Take the Dalai Lama for instance. According to Klout , he has a score of 86 with an influence on 758,000 people. In terms of the topics he is influential about, it ranges from celebrities (suprisingly) to more expectedly, religion and spirituality. Klout also allows users to specifically identify who the Dalai Lama most influences, ranging from organizations to individuals.


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These metrics prove useful for various reasons. First, identifying influential people in your brand’s sphere and getting them to say positive things about you gives you invaluable positive buzz. Secondly, you can target a particular segment of users effectively if you can identify who is influencing them. However, companies should refrain from relying singly on such metrics as they do not take into account other factors such as sentiment. The influence score fluctuates up and down based on how much you are talked about on the twitter sphere, so it could be dangerous to label someone as highly influential as the score is based on data that is constantly changing and could be affected by misleading jolts. For example, negative posts about a person could drive up their influence score because they are creating buzz. However this does not equal influence in terms of being able to cause positive action . In conjunction with other metrics such as sentiment analysis and analysing actual data that the metric tool records, companies can get a better picture of who is truly influential.

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