A new influencer identification tool has emerged that has quite a bit of promise. Socmetrics, a one-year-old company out of Boston, is similar to mBlast in that it looks at influencers through a topical filter. While Tom Webster may very well be influential in the worlds of social media marketing and market research, he is also an influential voice on wine. And mining his conversations and those around him shows that if you’re looking for it. Tools like Klout, which look at influence in more of a reach-based formula, don’t make topical distinctions very well. Socmetrics does.

Added to the topical focus is the fact that Socmetrics also offers pre-curated lists over over 100 categories. So you don’t have to start with a broad, keyword search that tends to push back a lot of junk data. Instead, major categories have been culled for accuracy and many broad topics (social media, automotive, moms, etc.) have already been cleaned to ensure the data is good.

Using Socmetrics you can still do a keyword-based search, like that I recently did for “banking.”

Banking influencers - from Socmetrics

I like the fact the search returned not just news media and bank brands, but also bloggers and other influencers that talked about the topic. It also didn’t just give me a list of those with the top number of Twitter followers and call it a day. Socmetrics takes into account multiple channels and reach including YouTube, Twitter, blog readership and the like.

When I drilled down to a singular person on the list, Anna O’Brien, you might think the tool is flawed. O’Brien is the director of social media at Greenlight, a London-based marketing firm. What does she have to do with banking? Well, she was formerly the Vice President for Social Media at Citibank, North America. So she carries some weight of influence in the banking world.

Anna O'Brien - Socmetrics influencer screen

This indicates to me Socmetrics’s algorithm credits a bit more stickiness to influence than tools like mBlast do. Unless O’Brien writes about banking regularly, the short-attention span of an mBlast tends to leave someone like her off a list. While public relations professionals certainly want to reach influencers who are most influential now, there’s an argument that even someone who hasn’t taking to writing about a certain topic in a few weeks is still an influential person to that audience.

Socmetrics topical influencer platform looks at three primary factors in determining its rankings:

  • Peer Validation – Does this person interact with other influencers in the topic and are they followed, retweeted, etc., by their peers.
  • Topicality – Is their content on-topic or close to it consistently versus diffused and scattered around other subjects. Are their followers interested in the topic in question, too? This would account for an influencer who blogs strictly about one topic versus someone who mixes personal and other topics in that might attract an audience perhaps not as interested in the core topic.
  • Ability to Drive Action – Does this person get shared? What is their engagement rate relative to each platform, then overall. Does their audience respond with comments, shares, likes, votes, etc.?

While each are interesting data points in an overall influencer identification program, there will always be debate as to which is most important or if other factors belong. This is primarily why I’ve always said that each service out there — Traackr, Klout, mBlast, etc. — is just one way of looking at the data. None are necessarily better than another and all are valid points of consideration. Socmetrics is yet another. I like the way they score and rank and the ease of use of their tool. But it won’t ever be the only way to organize or find influencers. If it is, you’re not looking at enough information.

Socmetrics is primarily focused on agencies and brands. It’s pricing starts at $400 per month for total access to its database. For that price you can track a list of up to 25 people. Tracking more scales your price upward. You can do scans and export data without tracking, though, so with some manual labor, you can get lots of use out of the system without having to pay more. Socmetrics doesn’t limit your ability to search the database or the number of seat licenses that can use your account. But if they have to store more data, they charge for that.

You can save multiple lists as well, though your 25 person tracking limitation will kick in at some point. When you find an influencer in your searching, a hand “Add to List” button is there to easily sort and track the individuals in question. The system pulls in their latest content, Compete.com data on web traffic and more. There’s a lightweight CRM system on top of the tool as well, so you can keep notes about outreach or preferences in each influencer’s profile.

Perhaps adding the icing on the cake value to the tool is its monitoring and ROI reporting. With your lists of influencers, the system will monitor and index all of their content and flag any that mentions your product or brand. So PR firms doing blogger outreach to a targeted list can produce a report that says, “Reached out to 25 influencers and landed placement with 22 of them.” Plus, with the monitoring function, you can easily see what they’re talking about now, which aides in your ability to reach out with relevant information that’s top-of-mind with them.

Socmetrics is online at socmetrics.com.

What do you think about this approach? Are they missing something? Do other tools like Traackr, mBlast or even Klout have something they don’t? The comments are yours.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://how2startup.com/ Roy Rodenstein

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the detailed review and the feedback. It’s a noisy space but I think you really understood the approach we’re taking -focused on vertical influence, ease of use, and accuracy- that is our own unique take.

    I look forward to feedback from your readers.

    Roy Rodenstein,
    Co-founder and CEO, SocMetrics

  • http://how2startup.com/ Roy Rodenstein

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the detailed review and the feedback. It’s a noisy space but I think you really understood the approach we’re taking -focused on vertical influence, ease of use, and accuracy- that is our own unique take.

    I look forward to feedback from your readers.

    Roy Rodenstein,
    Co-founder and CEO, SocMetrics

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  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Jason…not sure why there aren’t a huge string of comments below on this highly indepth and helpful post. Thanks for this insight and doing all the hard work to review and present it. I wrote a review of mBlast in spring when they were still working out the kinks, but haven’t been back to check in…in fact, PR will play a role in both of these featured tools in getting peeps on board.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, J! mBlast is certainly another influencer identification tool I like. In an ideal world, we could afford to use them all and cross check data with the others. But if you have to pick one, one of these two is pretty good.

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Jason…not sure why there aren’t a huge string of comments below on this highly indepth and helpful post. Thanks for this insight and doing all the hard work to review and present it. I wrote a review of mBlast in spring when they were still working out the kinks, but haven’t been back to check in…in fact, PR will play a role in both of these featured tools in getting peeps on board.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, J! mBlast is certainly another influencer identification tool I like. In an ideal world, we could afford to use them all and cross check data with the others. But if you have to pick one, one of these two is pretty good.

  • http://superlativelady.com/ Superlative

    Ok, so I’ve been wondering this for a long time. What do people do with influencers once they find them? And whatever they do, how do they measure the effect of engagement? Thank you! Always good stuff, Jason :)

  • http://superlativelady.com/ Superlative

    Ok, so I’ve been wondering this for a long time. What do people do with influencers once they find them? And whatever they do, how do they measure the effect of engagement? Thank you! Always good stuff, Jason :)

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  • MediaCred

    I’d love to know more about their sourcing and scoring of influencers and how it compares to Appinions, which also allows user defined topics, does not cap the number of influencers, and also brings in real-time data in their topics of influence.

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