Introducing PeerIndex: A New Companion to Klout for Social Media Influence Measurement

One thing that every social media consulting client asks me about is how to find out who the “Influencers” are in their particular industry.  My answer, of course, is that every consumer who is active on social media could potentially be an influencer, and thus truly “accurate” measurement is impossible.  Think about it: Someone with 10 followers could tweet something out that gets ReTweeted by someone with 100 followers, and 1 of those 100 followers is someone who works for an industry publication, who then breaks the story to the public, and so on.  I think you get the picture.

That being said, while the debate goes on as to who an “Influencer” really is, there is no doubt that some people in social media really do seem to have influence on different topics more than other people.  Some have built a following, or even a community, by blogging, sharing, talking about, or engaging others in discussions on various topics.  And if they often talk about your industry and are seemingly able to influence others into some action on or off social media, there you have someone that may be considered an influencer.

Because it is apparent that some are more seemingly influential than others on any given subject depending on a number of factors, I have my own unique algorithm for determining influencers based on looking at a number of different metrics and factors.  There is no one singular definitive way to calculate “influence,” but there are some metrics that we can use to help in our determination of influence.  Up until now, the most famous of these measurement tools has undoubtedly been Klout, who you may remember from that free trip I won to Toronto as part of the Virgin America #VXToronto campaign.  For those looking for other sources of social media metrics measurement, you’ll be happy to know that there is now a similar metric that can be studied that also offers analysis similar to but different from Klout: PeerIndex.

PeerIndex has apparently been around since 2009 and have already been partnering with the likes of SuperFeedr and Topsy (my 2nd favorite Twitter search engine after Chirrps ;-).  Perhaps I haven’t heard of them because I am based in California while PeerIndex is apparently based in the United Kingdom.  By the way, credit to introducing me to PeerIndex goes out to yet someone else I met in Twitterville, Gail Gardner (@GrowMap).

If you’re reading this far into this blog post, you owe it to yourself to go to PeerIndex and claim your profile.  When you do so, the process is similar to what you do with Klout by giving it the keys to the kingdom to both your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Interesting thing is that PeerIndex already integrates LinkedIn into their score as well, which I haven’t seen yet from Klout.

Once your account is ready to go, here is what the screen looks like, and below that a comparable one from Klout:

  • Is This Twitter Profile Real or a Bot? PeerIndex provides a “realness” number, 100 being real, 0 being a bot.
  • How Does This Person Use Social Media? Klout provides a classification that labels each person as “Networker,” “Thought Leader,” and so on that may shed some clues as to how this person uses social media.
  • What Topics Does This Person Talk About? Both Klout and PeerIndex provide you with a list of top 5 topics that a profile is talking about.  PeerIndex, though, allows each user to decide which 5 topics of maybe 10 or 15 topics that they often speak about to be listed on their public profile.
  • How Influential is This Person in a Top Topic? Klout used to be able to allow you to search for influencers by topic.  PeerIndex will not only show a metric of influence for each of the top 5 topics of conversation, but you can also select the “LIST” link and see the top influencers by the PeerIndex metric for that category, or any category for that matter.  Pretty cool.
  • What Categories of Content Does This Person Talk a Lot, or a Little About? While Klout gives you little more information than those Top 5 Topics, PeerIndex has created a framework of content divided into 8 categories which they call a “Topic Fingerprint.”  These categories are: Arts/Media/Entertainment, Technology/Internet, Science/Environment, Health/Medical, Leisure/Lifestyle, Sports, News/Politics/Society, and Finance/Business/Economics.  This is particularly useful information in scenarios where your company is looking for those who have an interest in various combinations of these categories.
  • What are This Person’s Top Sources of Information? PeerIndex actually looks at your shared links and list the top 5 websites from who you are sharing information.  This metric in itself can give way to fascinating research if you are trying to determine influential sources of content in your industry.
  • Who Influenced, and is Influenced by, This Person? This is where Klout shines by helping create a Social Influence Graph for each profile.  While PeerIndex listed friends, I didn’t see it as authoritative information as the Klout data is here.

You will see a definite trend here in that PeerIndex seems to be doing more analysis of the content of conversation while Klout is looking more at the context surrounding the conversation.  Both provide invaluable data to us in different ways.

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Experts Connection - Facebook

Comments

  1. says

    Hey Neal

    Thanks for the write up – and product suggestions. We’ll, of course, show who your strongest connections are (and in both directions) in due course.

    I should add that we build authority scores for users in (typically) several dozen different topics.
    So – we have an overall score (PeerIndex)
    We also have resonance/authority scores for every user across the 8 benchmark topics (sports, etc)
    We then also have resonance scores on the specific topics you talk about (for example, I can tell that people not only do you talk frequently about SocialCRM but people seem to trust what you say on SocialCRM, by contrast while you talk about iPhone relatively frequently, people don’t value your opinion on the iPhone as much).

    Please keep the suggestions coming!

    best wishes

    Azeem

    • says

      It’s an honor to receive your comment, Azeem! Also appreciate your offering additional information for my readers. I realize that PeerIndex, similar to Klout, probably has a lot more data that you haven’t built into the UI yet are able to provide to brands and agencies for campaigns. The decision of how much of that to expose for free to users will be a strategic decision for your company to make, but I think there are a lot of different ways and business models to monetize that information.

      Looking forward to seeing how you progress in the market!

      Best,
      Neal

  2. Anonymous says

    Thanks Neal for an excellent article. The funny thing? I went to claim my PeerIndex profile and realized that I had done so quite some time ago.

    While it’s important, I believe, to measure our online influence, I continue to be baffled by my relatively high score, compared to some individuals who I look up to, and who definitely have a MUCH larger audience than I do.

    As for giving “preferred” status to potential customers or clients based on these measurement tools, let’s just say – the jury is out. There is the potential for backlash perhaps from an existing base of loyal, long-term customers.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Louise, and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog.

      Weird about PeerIndex…if you compare your profile to someone, that may trigger them to create a profile for you, I dunno…

      The high score you get is probably because of the amount, and relevance of, your conversations on Twitter. To me it makes perfect sense.

      As for the “preferred” status, yes, it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point there is backlash…all depends on how companies engage with “Influencers” in the future. Let’s hope for the best ;-)

      • Anonymous says

        Regarding PeerIndex, I’m sure I created the profile – it’s just that I forgot about it.

        And yes, it makes sense to me too!

        Always good to connect.

        Janis

  3. says

    Neal:

    Gail is wonderful so I am glad she pointed you to this site. Now you have given me a fantastic tool to check out as I just became involved with Klout! Thank you!
    Lisa

Trackbacks

Please Leave a Comment!