We all like to think that the more we have blog entries, Twitter followers and activity in the Net, the better we are as influencers. This is not the case and in fact, the noise that you are creating might have a negative impact on your brand, your reputation and turn people away from you. I have run into people that have found automated scripts that automatically put their Twitter accounts to follow them with the wish that the other party would turn a favor. However, this type of activity will not lead to rational end results; you might have lots of followers that have nothing to do with you or your business. Is that really what you want? How can we make sense of all this and how can we rank people (influencers) in the cyberspace that tells us how important they are from an influencing perspective? There are tools that try to do this and new tools that are becoming better and better.
I recently run into an interesting company where the famous Scobleizer did a videotaping recently. We have been doing Influencer Intelligence (with an influencer map as a result) for almost two years and the issue is that there are no standardized metrics to measure what type of influence one has in the cyberspace. There are measures and tools that use proprietary methods to measure for example blog authority (Technorati) and some other ranking engines that have their own way of doing things. Other tools/sites such as PageRank, FeedBurner, Alexa are also have their own way of analyzing influence such as number of comments on a blog entry etc.
The recent success of Twitter has also caused a tremendous misconception among people with automated robots creating followers and this is complete nonsense in my mind. There are people that just push crap into the Twitter assuming that somebody is reading it, and I am afraid that they are missing the point completely. Analyzing Twitter traffic and impact is nothing new and there are many tools that have been developed such as Twitter Grader, Twinfluence, TwitterAnalyzer, Twitaholic, Twitalyzer, TweetLevel and now the new that I want to talk about today which is Klout which to me is pretty fascinating new service and you can learn more about it by checking out following YouTube presentation.
The idea of this solution is to aim to create better metrics on how strong somebody is as an influencer in the cyberspace from Twitter perspective. Based on the experience we have of our influencer intelligence and mapping, these types of tools are crucial to achieve better results in rankings of influence.
I have been surprised how little people know about the importance of influencers and their impact on the communities, sub-communities and other multipliers such as forums and blogs. Some companies, specifically in the technology sector, are still driving with its outbound marketing initiatives, while they could be more intelligent about it and really first identify whom they should target, why they should target them and create much better focus this way.
A good comparison to be is as follows: enter a huge store (like Walmart). Try to find something that you do not know what you are looking for. The task is overwhelming and you will give up. This is exactly what I have seen also in the social media space. It becomes overwhelming very quickly and you just give up as you do not see results. I am very selective in whom I follow and drop off the ones that are just causing noise in my life and do not bring any value to me as person, to my company.
What is interesting in this new company Klout is that they have already 450 companies using their APIs (application programming interface) and they have innovated some interesting ways to make money on this as well. I think this is an awesome way to build platforms that enables other applications to consume functionality and charge for this consumption. What could be more interesting and fascinating?
The overall approach of consuming functionality through the cloud is on the rise and you can see this by having third-party developers building solutions on top of applications such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics Online. I expect the whole software ecosystem to change going forward with information providers creating useful information and information consumers taking advantage of this information in different types of applications. You can see good example of this in the service from Microsoft with the codename “Dallas” that enables organizations to provide information that others can consume and pay for. These types of information marketplaces will grow in the future and creates new innovations for us to be excited about.