Part of the challenge in determining what your platform really is involves numbers. It’s not just the Twitter or Facebook numbers you have but the way you use social networking. Someone with 3,000 Twitter followers can actually have more influence than someone with ten times that amount simply because they know how to engage properly.
Social influence is important because without it you’ll have a shaky platform. That means that you might have the “numbers” that make it look like you’ve got the platform, but as soon as that platform is used it will “fall apart” (meaning: you won’t sell books, there will be no engagement, no one will respond or care.)
Here are some ways to help determine your social influence. It should be noted that even these are things you need to take with a grain of salt. It’s best to use a combination of sources and information to really determine the answer to how far your “social reach” really goes. Never rely on just one thing.
Klout tries to determine your social influence by a combination of things including Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc., and even things like Wikipedia. (Seriously.) It measures not just followers but how many times there is engagement (someone responds to you, retweets you, etc.)
The scores go from 1-100, the higher your score the more “influential” you are. Average Klout scores are about 40, and anyone with a 63 or above is in the top 5% of all users.
They also show you where your influence (or engagement lies). For me, you can tell I like to spend a lot of time on Twitter.
Kred seems to build on the concept of influence by adding “outreach.” So with Kred, you have two different scores.
The first score relates to your influence. This works similar to the Klout score: when people like your content, share it, respond to it, your score goes up. Anything about 700 is considered a good Kred influence score.
The second part of the score is outreach, which determines how likely someone is to share, retweet, or comment on your stuff. The score goes from 1-12, with seven or higher being “an impressive score.” I also like that they break out the "communities" where your influence is strong. (For me it's bloggers, publishing, and artists. This is where they see the biggest interaction.)
Twitter is very misleading because people think it’s all about numbers, which it isn’t. They also think you sit there and look at the Tweets that come in and that’s how you connect on there. It isn’t that either.
It’s a microblogging platform that allows you to search for keywords, make lists of people (even if you don’t follow them) and easily see what’s trending. Someone with a million users may tweet out something once a day that is never seen by their users while someone else with 2,000 users will have had good conversations with people and really made their influence known.
To see if someone is “influential” on Twitter, check out the number of people that respond to them, the variety in the tweets they share (comments, links, random thoughts) and how often they use the site. Someone that tweets out an automatic link once a day isn’t very influential.
Blogging is still a great way to determine your influence. How many people come to your site? How many stay? How many are new users and how many are return visitors (this will tell you if they are “one and done” visitors or loyal)?
Also, check your Alexa Rank and Google Page Rank. Both are important for their own reasons. If Alexa, for example, says they don’t have enough data to look at your site, you’ve got some beefing up to do.
Feedback From Readers
Hearing from readers involves more than just blog comments or tweets. If readers seek you out, send you emails, and inspire loyalty in some way, this is huge. People are busy and don’t have time to just seek someone out and read their articles or books. If they do, that’s a great thing and a good indicator or your influence.
Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com.