As social media networks grow in size, popularity and influence on a global scale, there is a corresponding increase in interest about how social influence on the Internet can be both measured and harnessed, not only in the business arena but also in politics, entertainment and dissemination of information.
But just what is social influence and how can it be measured? Most of us have heard about how the Arab Spring revolutions were in part organized and led by young people who used Facebook and Twitter to send their “followers” messages of support and call for protests in the streets. On a less dramatic fashion, the cultural and technical impact of using social networks has revolutionized the way in which businesses and individuals can market their messages, products and brand names to millions of people on a global scale.
Although the concept of social influence sounds like it’s made up of abstractions, it is actually easy to measure. Information technology staffers and website operators have a diverse array of tools that helps them figure out if their online strategies are working or if their content is having any impact. Many of these tools are easily available and free to use.
Founded by Jon Cianciullo, Social Mention is a true analysis platform in which you can find out if your product is trending, or what others happen to be saying about you, your company , products or basically just about anything you type into its search-box. The fact that Social Mention keeps track of over 100 hundred social networking websites, of course including the Internet giants such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, makes this social influence tool worth looking into.
With the use of third-party API and daily social media alerts, Social Mention allows users the option to create their own alerts to be sent to their email address, and a stream of search data gathered from social networking sites in real-time, which can then be incorporated into other applications.
Similar to Social Mention, Twentyfeet offers aggregated statistics of several major social networking sites. However, Twentyfeet offers what the creators refer to as an “egotracking” service, in which you can basically stalk yourself by tracking down your own social media actions and figure out which of your activities are the most valuable to you. Twentyfeet offers a free service for one Twitter and one Facebook account, and/or the option of a 30-day free trial. After the trial period ends, members can choose to upgrade their service for small fee to include Facebook pages and groups, YouTube, Google Analytics, MySpace and bit.ly.
WhoSay is a unique social influence tool in that it’s specifically geared towards entertainers, artists, athletes and other celebrities who want to engage with their fans. WhoSay is an invite-only service, which in a nutshell, turns people off. However, the significance in an invite-only service is that you’ll be assured that any photos, videos, updates and messages are coming straight from the source, and not from a third-party fan club or impersonator. Fans can reach out to their favorite celebrity’s WhoSay profile by visiting external social media sites where celebrities may have an existing page.