Measuring influence: Klout, Kred and PeerIndex

As the use of social networks increases, so to do the methods of measuring influence. Three platforms which evaluate your social activity and influence are Klout, Kred and PeerIndex.

Social tools give individuals a mass-broadcast platform, which is more networked and therefore offers a potentially broader audience than any soapbox, pulpit, microphone, newspaper or television broadcast. As an opportunity for presenting an opinion, it is unprecedented.

However, social media is not a broadcast medium with a passive audience. It is the global village marketplace, where individuals (and brands) can connect and engage in lively conversation.

There will always be those with the most strident voices and most powerful backing, but now the people have the opportunity to choose who they listen to, engage with and trust. The voice of authority has been replaced by voices with authority, and the social network enables influence to grow rapidly by connecting, mentioning, resharing commenting, re-tweeting, posting, liking, favouriting, recommending, endorsing and blogging.

Klout aims to measure influence through the content that you create or share, which inspires these actions. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Klout uses information from activity on Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Wikipedia, to generate a Klout Score which reflects influence.

Kred (powered by PeopleBrowsr), claims to analyse 5,000 posts a second, monitor a billion conversations, and retain 1200 days of social data.

PeerIndex tracks profiles on social networks to formulate your levels of Activity, Audience and Authority.

None of these social influence metrics have been immune from criticism, primarily because of an apparent dependence on a limited number of sources and the difficulty in evaluating an intrinsically ‘organic’ social environment. Only Kred has made its’ algorithm transparent.

Klout, Kred and PeerIndex all tap into Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, and a combination of others, but an absence, lack of inactivity or non-inclusion of just one of these major platforms may reduce accuracy dramatically. Naturally, not everyone uses all social platforms and some individuals use branded rather than personal profiles to communicate. While references to a name will clearly increase a ranking, an absence of a direct account could potentially impair it.

In Kred, specific interest ‘communities’ include motorbikes, but no motor racing. Selecting the ‘sailing’ community delivers a page full of content without a single image or video of a yacht, and not a single mention of the recent Olympic sailing or current America’s Cup competition!

The statistics in PeerIndex can be wildly out-of-date, with one LinkedIn profile displaying a figure 25% below current status, and imprecise, when those you follow on Twitter are termed ‘friends’.

However all these social metrics tools are attempting a herculean task, to gauge influence from a monumental volume of data which is constantly growing, and at an ever increasing rate. The value of even an approximation of influence, will make engagement with the community easier for brands.

Commercial enterprises are increasingly utilising LinkedIn and Facebook company pages, the Vimeo and YouTube video sharing platforms, along with Pinterest, Twitter, FourSquare and many more.

Whatever your current corporate approach, the one thing which is absolutely certain, is that you need an informed understanding of social media and an considered strategy for engaging with your community.

Eventually it alls come back to the same thing. The best way to measure real influence .. is by sales!

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