2 New Ways To Find Influencers Quickly And Affordably

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Earlier this year, I was charged with helping several clients find the “influencers” in their respective categories. It turned out to be harder than I expected. Searches on Google, Technorati, Twitter and many other sites led to a lot of dead ends and the whole exercise took more time than it should have. Not only that, but I was never fully satisfied in the end that I had developed the best list possible. How could I be certain? I kept hoping for the day when this process would be easier and more effective. And, apparently, so have many others. Smart brands understand the power trusted people have with their audience. An endorsement or recommendation by an influencer can result in highly targeted, meaningful brand exposure and feedback. Companies are anxious to tap into the social graph to identify—and hopefully develop relationships with—the people who are most influential in certain industries, topic areas and locations. It’s Getting Easier Fortunately, things are changing. New tools are emerging to make the process of identifying and connecting with top influencers much more efficient and affordable. Today, we’ll look at two that are making it easier to connect with the people who matter most to your organization or cause.

PostRank Connect

Website: http://connect.postrank.com

PostRank Connect home page What Is It? PostRank is in the process of introducing a new service, PostRank Connect, that will help brands and their agencies identify and connect with key online influencers in their product categories. PostRank’s real-time collection of social engagement data, including articles and stories, forms the basis for a robust and transparent measure of an author’s influence on the social web. “It’s significant, because 80% of the engagement with a publisher’s content happens away from their site,” said PostRank CEO Carol Leaman. How It Works PostRank Connect is being introduced in a multi-phased approach. First, PostRank is asking influencers to register in Connect and claim their site. Influencers range from bloggers all the way up to mainstream media authors who identify the sites they write for. Through the registration process, PostRank allows each author to confirm his or her identity and site(s), which “verifies authors” in their system. In just three months, they have had over 10,000  influencers verify their profiles in Connect. PostRank also launched a Facebook app in early November and lets influencers publish content to their Facebook Pages and integrate those audience metrics with the PostRank Analytics product, which is free for enrolling in Connect. For other “unverified” authors, PostRank will use a proprietary social graph aggregator to identify influential bloggers. The next phase of Connect is under development and expected to launch by early December. It is a public profile page that will be visible to the authors/influencers and anyone looking for them. PostRank Connect Profile Coming in February 2011, PostRank Connect will give PR firms and brands to ability to use Connect to build lists of influencers they’re most interested in. PostRank is working with agencies and corporate marketers to define exactly what the feature set will look like. Potential features include:
  • A list of authors and their sites, filtered and ranked by their influence score and the social engagement the authors and sites have received with their content over a specified period of time (e.g. one month, 3 months, 6 months)
  • For influencers who have claimed their profiles in PostRank, there will be a process through which you can automatically connect with them and pitch your campaign
  • For influencers who have not claimed their profiles but for whom PostRank has verified profile data, they will provide you that aggregated profile data
  • Ongoing measurement of the influence and engagement of each person on the list for a time period you specify, and identification of new entrants to the list
What It Costs Pricing for PostRank Connect has not been released publicly, but the service will be a subscription and campaign based model that makes it substantially more cost effective than the more manual methods currently available to PR agencies and brands to find the right influencers in every topic area. Future enhancements to PostRank Connect will include the ability to “drill down” into a person’s activities and connections, as well as contact them via a “LinkedIn InMail” type form.

A-List by TRAACKR

Website: www.traackr.com

Traackr A-List What Is It? TRAACKR launched their A-List model for identifying influencers (short for Authority List) in September 2009 as a full service aimed primarily at larger PR firms like Weber and Porter Novelli. However, they opened up a self service platform in October, which now gives small to mid-sized agencies access at affordable price points. How It Works A-List is based on the idea that people are influential—not URLs or specific social media platforms. The site tracks and scores influencers or “Authorities,” based on their complete digital footprint. Currently, TRAACKR doesn’t have a “freemium” model for public use, but has plans to launch one in Q1 of 2011.  In order to demo the system, you can simply contact the TRAACKR team through their website.  If you like what you see, you can sign-up for an account, username and password and get started. Creating a list is as easy (or difficult) as entering in keyword phrases (see pricing below). You can do this all yourself, or request a review from one of TRAACKR’s account managers. They recommend doing this for your first few campaigns to get the best results and they include three months of reviews as part of your subscription. Once you enter your terms, A-List will start to locate, qualify and track online influencers within any market, conversation or topic area. You’ll see immediate results. However, this is when the “real” work of TRAACKR begins. Using their proprietary search software, they will comb the web and update the initial list within 24-48 hours. After that, results are updated on a weekly basis. Lists can include up to 50 keywords and 25 top influencers in the results. Traackr Profile Authorities are ranked on three primary criteria:

Reach — Based on the size of the influencer’s audience

Resonance — Based on the amount of activity the influencer creates when publishing (e.g., link-backs, retweets, comments, etc).

Relevance — This measures how relevant each influencer is to a particular online conversation based on how frequently they use specific keywords

The TRAACKR process weeds out spammers, content aggregators and general duds to insure that the influencers who make any lists in the system are real, legitimate individuals. With each A-List, you can view details on influencers that include biographical information as well as links to their website, blog, Twitter account and more. You can “star” people on the list to make sure they stay ranked, along with adding notes, tags or tasks for each person. While A-List brings back a lot of quantitative data, you still have to review and “qualify” each person by reviewing their posts, tweets, etc. It does not assign sentiment scores. However, much of the heavy lifting is done by A-List. Traackr influencers What It Costs Pricing forTRAACKR is based on the the number of “active” lists running at any given time.  They charge an initial fee of $2,500 to set up an account—which includes training and hands-on support of your list development—and then a monthly fee based on the size of your account. The $2,500 fee is one-time per account and is not charged per project, new client, etc. Monthly fees range from $399 for one active list to $1,499 for 10 active lists.

Photo credit (dominoes): Manicomi

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