Target Your Social Capital

What Is Social Capital?

Social Capital is an important metric to measure these days, but as a business, the question you should be asking is “What is my social capital in my niche.”MarketMeSuite has teamed up with PeerIndex to bring an integration to our community of users, allowing users to track their score and the score of everyone they follow in the dashboard.

Why Is Targeted Social Capital Important?

Now, for example, imagine you were a hair dresser in your local town. To be successful in that business you need to engage with your audience very specifically and show yourself to be aware of all things related to the hair dressing industry. You would need to tweet about your salon, your location, the latest trends and fashions, you would even tweet about your competitive prices. PeerIndex would take these updates and apply their unique algorithms to them to supply you with your online statistics and data. It shows you how well you are doing under the topics such as, “Authority”, “Activity” and “Audience”. It even shows your statistics in comparison with other similar accounts so you can see how they differ from you. Most importantly, you can see how they compete with your business! If you have a small but relevant topic, PeerIndex helps you establish how influential you are in just that area, regardless of how small and particular it is.

This is a great way of seeing your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to online marketing. With a clear structure laid out for you, you can adjust your marketing to make it most effective for you and understand the changes you may have to make to your online market campaign.

It’s useful to think of the old philosophy, “an inch wide but a mile deep” when it comes to your business, knowledge and expertise. The smaller your niche area, the smaller your target audience, but that does not mean it’s any less important. You can be at the top of your game by achieving high authority ratings in that area. You may never have an overall score as high as Ashton Kutcher’s but you can achieve a very high authority in your desired topics, and that’s what counts. Kutcher may tweet a lot but he sure doesn’t know as much as you do! This is what shows the public and other people that you are professional, reliable and that you know your stuff!

Tracking Success

By showing the PeerIndex score next to each profile picture in MarketMeSuite, all users can continually track their influence on a daily and even hourly basis. And by engaging with clients and leads in their niche, a user can watch the actions they perform in MarketMeSuite increase their social capital, and have this key metric handy when deciding who is a top priority for engaging.

About the Author

Marketmesuite_tammy1

Tammy Kahn Fennell is CEO and Co-founder of MarketMeSuite. MarketMeSuite is a Social Media Marketing Dashboard and has thousands of users and a fast-growing global customer base of businesses and consultants.

How Journalism.co.uk created a buzz with PeerIndex

This guest blog post was written by Sarah Marshall, technology correspondent, Journalism.co.uk

Back in May, we decided to try creating a list of the The UK’s 100 most influential journalists online.

As a website for journalism news and jobs, with a strong online community of journalists, we thought curating a list would create a buzz. And it did.

We used PeerIndex, which ranks social capital by algorithmically mapping social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Journalism.co.uk added the first 50 names and then crowdsourced our 40,000 Twitter followers asking people to nominate another 50 journalists using the #J100 hashtag.

It soon became apparent we needed to refine our parameters: Do we include UK journalists abroad? Overseas journalists based in the UK but working for foreign bureaus? Do we allow journalism students? And journalism lecturers? 

As is part of the crowdsourcing process, as well as nominations we were also told when names had been included that others didn’t agree should be on the list, or that had low PeerIndex scores, which was useful to give us a balanced view of our work-in-progress list.

What was quite amusing was the enthusiasm from those on Twitter and the lengths people went to in order to get noticed. We received emails, direct messages and appeals when the final list was released.

The exercise had several benefits. We attracted several prominent Twitter followers, including people not on the list but who were picking up on the buzz; the post which included the embedded PeerIndex list received thousands of web hits; and we attracted a large number of new visitors to our site.

We continued the theme by tweeting the post with the embedded list as a ‘follow friday’ #ff. We then tried adding our most influential journalists to Klout, which also ranks social capital, finding that we could only add 10 names to a list but it was interesting to see how scores varied.

Our next step was to create a master PeerIndex list of all UK journalists. We are up to about 2,000 names and growing. And the scores change week-on-week as the list changes

We next looked at how the five journalists with the greatest online influence use social media. This post generated significant web hits, presumably from journalists wanting tips on how to use social media more effectively.

What has been most rewarding from the whole process is to see how many journalists care about their online score and influence and are passionate enough to encourage their peers to nominate them.

As we announced our #J100 list we received several tweets saying things like “shame I missed out, maybe next year”. So it seems #J100 will become an annual tradition for Journalism.co.uk.

A full list of Journalism.co.uk‘s posts on PeerIndex can be found here.

PeerIndex, influence algorithms and the future of PR

Can influence be determined algorithmically?

Clearly the arrival of services such as PeerIndex suggest that it can.

But why is this of importance to PR and communications?

A key part of PR is managing reputation – that is, determining who (or what) may have an influence on audience behaviour – whether that audience be customers, employees, shareholders or the general public.

One of the key distinguishing features of PeerIndex is the notion of influence relative to a particular topic or issue. I may have an influence on certain people on certain subjects – on others, I may have no influence at all. This move away from a concept of absolute to relative influence is important. Not least for those working in PR.

Until recently, PR and communications professionals often made some basic assumptions about influence. For example, there was an implicit assumption that “the media” were influential – in an absolute sense. However, PR professionals who continue to see press relations as the sole raison d’etre for their existence are in for a rude awakening.

PeerIndex is a first step towards helping PR and communications professionals identify which individuals may have greater influence or authority with regard to a specific subject – irrespective of whether they are a journalist or not.  It will have major implications for how PR and communications professionals determine who to target and what the most appropriate methods of interaction might be.

On a practical level, there are already ways for PR professionals to utilise existing PeerIndex functionality to help improve the effectiveness of PR activity.

Peerindex’s group building function – introduced in March 2011 – is a good example.

Back then, I decided to conduct a small experiment by creating a list of UK PR Social Media Power Players, based on an original list published in PR Week, with a few more people added by me for good measure. I made use of the group function in PeerIndex to curate it. 48 hours after first building  it, the list had been viewed nearly 4,000 times, and saw people queuing up to be on it.

Some four months later, the list has been viewed over 22,000 times – and there are now some 337 PR people on this list.

All I can definitively say is that there is no doubt that PRs love a good list – and the people who were most skeptical about PeerIndex tended to be people whose ranking in the list was low or non-existent. 

On a more serious point, you can easily see how a tool like PeerIndex could become a key tool in the PR toolbox

You can use PeerIndex to find individuals who appear to have high scores relative to a particular topic.  If these individuals aren’t already figuring in your audience influence assessment, maybe you should review that.

You can also instantly create Twitter lists based on your top PeerIndex influencers. This is an easy way to keep your finger on the pulse of a particular influence group. For example, it took seconds to create a Twitter list based upon my PR Week Power Book list (this in turn was based upon PR Week’s own assessment of who the most powerful and influential people are in the UK PR industry) – anyone subscribing to this list has a real time view of the thoughts and opinions of the UK’s leading PR figures. It shouldn’t take much imagination to extrapolate how this could be applied to your own sector or industry.

In summary, I do think there is role for algorithmically determined influence – and for tools such as PeerIndex to help identify that influence. I’m well aware that there are many that are skeptical – or dismiss it out of hand. Then again, people had a similar attitude towards statistics based language translation in the 1990s.  And later, Google.  I’m willing to bet that we will see the same story repeating itself in the realm of influence.

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About the author

andrew bruce smith

 

Andrew Bruce Smith of escherman has spent 25 years in PR, marketing communications and journalism – always aiming to be at the forefront of communications innovation.

He is an Approved Trainer in social media, analytics and SEO for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA). He also holds the Google Analytics Individual Qualification – currently the only PR professional in the UK to do so.

According to journalist Jack Schofield at The Guardian, Andrew was the second PR person in the UK to begin sending press releases via e-mail in 1991.

Technology and business journalist Sally Whittle has described Andrew as the “de facto godfather of PR blogging” in the UK (http://blog.escherman.com).