This is a republished article from my Friday column at iStrategy where I answer questions from twitter users. Enjoy!
What, in your opinion, is a better indication of influence: total of lists you’re on, retweets, followers or other? from @rslaats.
Here is an example:
I believe that all three of the Twitter users listed above are influential in their own areas of music, entertainment and technology. Justin Bieber dominates the list with the highest numbers throughout the four sections. We can see that he’s got the highest Klout score, follows the most people, has the most followers and is listed the most. Mashable and Ashton Kutcher have nearly the same Klout scores, as well as being listed the same number of times, despite Ashton Kutcher having four million more followers than Mashable.
If I were to indicate someone’s influence, I would like to start off with their Klout score because I feel that Klout scores give a rough idea of how “busy” their Twitter stream is. Justin Bieber’s Klout score indicates that he is definitely the busiest, and it makes sense because he has got an overwhelming amount of fans.
Mashable would be the second busiest due to the popularity of their blog and the amount of retweets that they receive. This comparison is especially important because, although Ashton Kutcher has a much greater number of followers, the Klout scores indicate that Mashable is more influential. Therefore, Klout would definitely be my first choice because Klout calculates the overall outlay of the user’s Twitter activity.
Secondly, I look at the number of times listed. I feel that Twitter users who have been listed more than 1,000 times have clearly shown that they have developed a reputation. Therefore, being listed a large number of times indicates a high amount of influence in one’s niche. I’ve seen Twitter users that have more than 50,000 followers but have been listed less than 200 times. This could indicate that although the respective user has a high amount of followers, he/she has not been very influential in their respective fields.
Third, I would look at the number of followers a person has. I feel that if a twitter user is influential, he or she would have a decent amount of followers. People who are new to social media will look at these criteria more than others. For me, this would be the third. A lot of influential people usually stay under the radar; it’s tough to judge someone based on their followers completely.
Finally, as for the amount a twitter user is following, I don’t really judge this number in its entirety because people like Chris Brogan and I usually follow back those who follow me, and allow people to connect with me directly via private messages. So it is only natural that I follow a high number of people. This metric, alone, does not mean that I am influential. It simply means that I am sociable. The number of people one follows, is therefore an indicator of how social they are on Twitter.
Other indicators of influence would be blogs: if the person in question has one and if so look at the amount of blog traffic, influential users usually have a decent amount of blog traffic. Blog traffic and comments, in addition to looking at the number of tweets they post, is a measure of their level of engagement with their community.
Despite all of these analytics, I feel that judging influence is more than just looking at numbers. However, if I were asked to quantify influence, I would definitely start from the indicators I’ve mentioned. If you would like to understand more about influence, one blog I recommend you to watch Tom’s online influence video.
What are your thoughts?
photo credits: holah.karoo