When we talk about social media marketing, we want to know what available tools and standards can aid influence measurement. Ideally we want to be able to measure outbound activity as well as reach, influence, perhaps even brand authority.
Our activity can demonstrate some measure of participation in the social space. Our following may provide some measurement of brand awareness, reputation and authority. However, it has long been criticized that many people on Twitter artificially inflate their social network using 3rd party software, and auto-follow-back to systematically add a large number of social connections thereby creating an appearance of legitimacy for subsequent new connections.
A better proxy for authority than the absolute number of followers we have on Twitter may be how many times our profile gets @mentioned, detail, depth and quality of conversations and CTR (click through rate). Mentioning occurs when someone initiates a conversation, or replies to a tweet.
We may extract other valuable information from the numbers of “likes”, numbers of “shares”, numbers of unique visits to our site/homepage, numbers of tweets of relevant content, numbers of mentions in independent blogs and sites, or numbers of RSS feeds. Nevertheless, when we attempt to measure our influence as a brand in purchase decision-making it gets complicated.
Recent research into the “adoption and usage of social media in America showed that while 24% of social networking users named Facebook as the “most influential” to their purchase decisions, no other site or service broke 1%, including Twitter”.
“Most of Facebook’s user data is not exposed to sites and services that measure reach, sentiment, buzz and influence”. However, both free and subscription based services like Peer Index, “Klout, Crimson, Hexagon, Radian6 etc rely heavily on Twitter, as their most easily accessible source of social media measurement data.”
Consider this: “If 1% of social media users claim that Twitter is the social site that most influences their buying decisions, and services like Klout measure social media influence predominately through algorithms based upon Twitter”, just how effective and realistic are current measurements of influence and reach? Scary?