Marshall Manson: We apply the variables I outlined to each platform and try to provide a quantitative picture of influence within a given community or topic. We employ a range of tools and pair them with discerning human analysis.
Most of the metrics are platform-specific, so the way that we quantify influence currently varies from one platform to another. We are working on changing that, but, for the moment, comparing influence across platforms is like trying to compare apples and puppies.
Michael Darragh: It is not enough just to rate influence according to tangible data such as Google page rank or page traffic. I am looking for another layer that considers authority and experience. I want to know who the influencers are in real life and what they do away from their computer that gives them authority.
Depending on my client's objective, the right strategy might be a niche blog or community where everyone is an influencer in his or her own right, as opposed to a prolific Twitterer with a large following. The best solution is having a team of social media specialists who read blogs, tweet and participate in online communities for work and pleasure.
Rob Blackie: Automated measures of influence such as Klout have no way to measure who is being influenced, so their scores are essentially meaningless.
Klout scores the 10 Downing Street Twitter feed as less influential than WiredUK, and Justin Bieber as being as influential as Barack Obama, which is clearly wrong for many business objectives and audiences. The key to effective measurement is to find quantifiable metrics that are tightly linked to your objectives.
Question 1: How do you define influence?