I continue to read articles (well, see headlines – as I don’t bother to read them) about the “Top 50” or “Top 100” power Twitter users or online influencers. This concept is ridiculous. Especially when they show up in public relations or advocacy publications. Unless your industry happens to be the entertainment of sports – and even then I question their influence – the top 50, 100 or 1,000,000 mean nothing. Let’s be honest, here are the so-called top influncers:
Hell, even Ryan Seacrest
Identifying valuable influencers to target your audience has nothing to do with quantity. That’s the problem with all of the “influence measurement tools” such as Klout. The metrics of these tools are limited – there is no human analysis. There is only an algorithm which measures quantity. I suspect that the owners of these influence measurement tools would argue otherwise, making a case that the quantity is tied to like-minded social groups.
Want to raise your Klout score? Do this: Tweet constantly and tweet about whatever the hottest topic of the day is, regardless if you give a damn about it or not. Tweet about the latest trending topic, scandal, and celebrities to see your score rise.
Determining the quality of a network is not a task for computerized algorithms. It requires human intelligence. It requires a discriminating approach to whom your audience is, and who the most valuable surrogates in that audience may be.
Let’s consider the legal community. If you have a massive network of Twitter followers filled with spammers, product promoters and porn stars, your reach is limited. If your network consists of legitimate individuals that have a limited to non-existent interest in legal theory or practice, but who are trying to build their own networks through use of automated tools, you’re not building an influential network. You might be building a broad network, but one that is untargeted and unhelpful.
Be selective. Know your audience. Weed out anyone in your network that does not advance your purpose for being online. Think of it as compound interest. If you build a small group of in-the-know followers – no matter your industry – then you will be reaching the holy grail of what PR folks refer to as target audience. Each of these finely selected individuals will, in all likelihood, have their own networks of various sizes, with a significant degree of others who follow your issue and care about the topic you’re promoting. They can, in turn, then share that information with their networks of similarly minded individuals. With each circle outward that you go, the value of the network diminishes of course. However, that is the very nature of social networks.
Do the unthinkable: Make your network small. You will be far better off with a smaller network of people whom only you can know fit the profile of infuencers within your target audience. In the old days, these folks were called surrogates. So shrink. Klout will frown on you. All the social media mavens will frown on you. But your audience will smile. As the content you’ll be providing, and the content you’ll be receiving will be relevant.
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