4 Influencer Tools To Measure Your Social Media Capital

Assessing your online influence is a science beyond metrics. These tools offer deeper insight into your social impact.
Forbes Contributor: Makers, Inventors, Small Business, Forbes
August 01, 2011

Influence. Almost everyone has some—most of us want to have more. How do you know if you have it? People follow what you say, they take your advice, ask for your insights or thoughts. More relevant today, influence is when others retweet what you say, “like” your content on Facebook or click the new +1 symbol from Google.

There are tools to measure this new form of influence. But the measurement is only a number. True influence is measured by what you give and how you serve others. These tools provide a snapshot of your social stream and that can be helpful in looking at your own activity, as a way to see what’s working and to understand those in your networks. My intent in sharing these tools is not to encourage you to pay attention to your score but to provide some insights into your social activity. Here are four tools you can try out:

1. PeerIndex

PeerIndex uses Twitter as its base of social data, and then combines profile data from Facebook, LinkedIn and a few others like Quora so you get a deep view of your social activity. It is perhaps less well known, but it has a solid approach, which tells you if the links you are sharing are helpful and useful.

What can you get out of PeerIndex? 

You can get a good look at your audience, your activity and your authority, as well as your topics and sources. I appreciate the group option so I can put friends into specific groups, but I’d like to be able to take it one step further and see the actual streams in the same dashboard. Groups are like Twitter lists. I also like that mashups are possible. For example, they have a FourSquare and PeerIndex mashup called woos.at (as in Who is at—this place?).

2. Klout

Klout is one of the “800-pound gorillas” in the influence measurement space. They’ve built a toolset that looks at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. YouTube, Google+ and Facebook Fan pages are in the works. A Klout score can turn up in search results and on websites.

What can you get out of Klout?

You can get an idea of what content is proving more valuable and what topics you are best known for. My favorite part of it is the “amplification probability” to show how likely your content will be acted upon by your followers. I also like that they have summaries of what has occurred, answering questions like: Was my content retweeted? How many times? How many Facebook comments did I receive?

3. Twitalyzer

Twitalyzer focuses on Twitter only. It offers a comprehensive suite of reports and summaries to help you understand your own tweets. Like the other tools, they categorize your social sharing style with catchy names: Everyday Users, Reporters, Social Butterflies, Trendsetters and Thought Leaders.

What can you get out of Twitalyzer?

I love that they evaluate your audience and summarize the demographics using Rapleaf (another cool analytics tool). For example, my “network skews male and is composed primarily of 35-44 year olds (45 percent) followed by 45-54 year olds (36 percent).” If I somehow thought I was writing for 20-25 year females, I would be in trouble!

4. Backtweets

Backtweets gives you a simple look at your Twitter following, shares your score, and tells you which sites you share the most. It was acquired by Twitter, so some of the functionality has changed and appears to be moving into a Twitter analytics offering.

What can you get out of Backtweets?

You can still use the basic function by entering a username in its search field and you’ll get a glimpse into your own or other Twitter profiles.

Although the idea of measuring a person’s influence online has come under fire, it can still be helpful to look at these scores and some of what they tell you. If you want to enter the debate, you should read Chris Brogan’s recent post, or Ron Shevlin’s humorous post here. Finally, Adriian Pelzer did his own testing of Klout and PeerIndex and reports the results on his blog.

Current wisdom says that you should not strive to build your “influence score” but do the right thing: Serve others, be helpful, be a resource and on the path to those lofty goals, you’ll become influential. I wholeheartedly agree. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments, on Twitter, and on Facebook.