#TheStream – Issue 1

Hello and welcome to our very first #TheStream. It’s a weekly round-up of the hot industry topics that have caught our eye here at Headstream in the past week, and some things that made us smile too! We hope that you will find this useful and if you have any suggestions for us, or think we’ve perhaps missed something, feel free to add them to the comments below.

The Rise of Digital Influence – Report from Altimeter Group

Last week the Altimeter Group published a report called “The Rise of Digital Influence” which you can read below. It looks at how brands and agencies are investigating and using individual’s online influence to provide strong word of mouth marketing. It includes some nice case studies from those who have already taken a lead on this and provides a good basis from which to begin thinking about. One conclusion is that you need to think about three key pillars when assessing an individuals influence: Reach, Resonance and Relevance.

The report also takes a thorough look at the different tools that are available and provides a very helpful table from which to best gauge which ones you might want to be using when taking on this activity. However, they also point out that these tools do not measure a true form of influence, something to keep in mind when looking for people who you believe to be influential for the next campaign.

Google Analytics – The Value of Social Media

On Tuesday Google announced some enhancements to their Analytics product that is designed to help marketeers with understanding and reporting the value of social media. The three key areas that the big G have focused on are:

  • Identify the full value of traffic coming from social sites and measure how they lead to direct conversions or assist in future conversions
  • Understand social activities happening both on and off of your site to help you optimize user engagement and increase social key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Make better, more efficient data-driven decisions in your social media marketing programs

Using these new enhancements for your owned outposts will provide a very strong set of metrics that you can work from when looking to implement strategies, campaigns and learnings.

Mad Men – 8 bit Adventure Game

Here is a well made bit of fun, with the new season of Mad Men nearly upon us a very clever and far more in depth than you would expect YouTube 8 bit adventure game has been released. Made by The Fine Bros and harking back to those point and click adventures of old, it puts the player in the shoes of Don Draper. Over 40 videos later and a slew of in jokes you’ll feel the need to suit up and give a carousel presentation.

TweetDeck updated – v1.3 Released bringing important missing features

The guys at what may as well now be called Twitter Pro, TweetDeck, have released a new version of their product bringing back some much needed features that mysteriously disappeared after they were purchased by the Twitter team. As hardcore TweetDeck users here at Headstream to say we are very happy about all of these now “new” features is an understatement. You can now:

  • Create, edit and delete lists direct from the app
  • Add two new columns to allow you to see interactions and activity with your account
  • Get media previews in stream and a media gallery when you click on an image/video link
  • The Quote retweet option has been removed and replaced with Edit & RT
All of these features pretty much bring this back in line with where the app was before the “New Twitter” launch last year and allows for even better management of your profiles for free!

Personal Infographic Generators

You’re waiting for a bus when two come along at once…or rather three in this case. Infographics have become a staple of internet based information sharing over the last 18 months however creating them can be very tricky with lots of time and effort needed. The wait is now over with three different web apps launching to bring this form of data visaulisation to the masses.

First to launch (on the 12/03 granted but we’re including it) was the service from Visual.ly. They have been around for a while now as the YouTube of infographics with plenty of very cool and creative pieces of information being uploaded to and shared from the site. They have always promised a robust automated creation system and now it has arrived. You can create them for both Facebook (pages) and Twitter and there is promise of many more options coming in the near future.

Next to the table is the smaller independently produced GetAbout.me which launched on the 19/03. Focusing solely on Facebook activity it produces three graphics based around “My Last 12 Months”, “About me and my social network” and “More about me”. All three highlight activity that you and your friends have undertaken, drawing in images and various pieces of activity. At this time however due to it’s unsurprising surge in popularity the site is running a bit slow. This is however the most visually pleasing and overal useful of the three we are profiling so we’d recommend taking the time to create your own infographics. Like with Visual.ly the team behind this app are working hard to bring more improvements and stability.

And finally on the 22/03 Intel launched ‘What About Me’, a web app that pulls in your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity to generate an infographic highlighting your activity online. Although not quite as slick as last years Museum of Me it still pretty impressive what information it shows. However there have been questions around what it is actually showing you with some random links being shown.

As with all applications relying on user data if you are a cautious social media user and have restrictions against your profiles switched on, the experience is more limited. That said, they are great fun and a neat way to be able to look at your information, and that of any Facebook pages and Twitter profiles you look after.

Lolcat

And finally for your amusement:

Thanks for reading the first ever #TheStream! We hope you found the short bites of information useful. If there is anything you would like to see more/less of or any other areas you’d like to see in the future just let us know in the comments. We’ll take on board any thoughts and no doubt this will be a continually evolving piece of content as we go from week to week.

Have a great week!

The tricky issue of influence

Influencer ranking tools have been a hot topic of conversation lately. Last week when Klout, the original influencer-ranking tool, changed its ranking algorithm there was a sharp backlash on social media. What emerged was that some individuals had been adapting their online behaviour to try and ‘game’ their Klout score, and now they were angry that the rules had changed. To us this seemed to be a lose-lose situation. For the individuals it showed a huge lack of authenticity, and for Klout it demonstrated how its data can be flawed.

With this in mind Headstream were pleased to be able to listen to Azeem Azhar (@azeem) the founder of Klout competitor, Peerindex, at yesterday’s #dellb2b event in London. He provided his take on just how good the current tools are, and how he thinks influencer rankings can be used.

Headstream’s view is that the current tools (the third competitor in this market is PeopleBrowsr’s Kred) are blunt instruments that should only form one small element when assessing influence. And this appeared to be shared amongst the gathering of social media, technology and business thinkers at #dellb2b.

When Azeem asked the room ‘Who believes influence can be measured in a single number?’ just one hand was raised amongst the sixty people or so present (@bejaminellis you know who you are!). The consensus was that there is a huge problem when applying a single influencer ranking for an individual when influence is such a subjective area. For example one person’s influencer could be another person’s non-entity, or an influencer in a certain subject in one geography could be irrelevant to those in another.

Azeem admitted that ‘There is no single accurate definition of influence at the moment’ but he believed that one could emerge over time, moulded by market forces. “There needs to be a standardized definition of influence. That will emerge from the to-ing and fro-ing of the market, and for that there needs to be competition.”

As luck would have it one of those competitors, Kred, in the shape of PeopleBrowsr’s Andrew Grill @andrewgrill, was in the audience. He agreed that the definitive influencer ranking doesn’t exist, and questioned if it ever would. Andrew said: “We have a really big responsibility. We are scoring humans, can that ever be definitive? I think it’s important that there are three or four companies out there doing this to give healthy competition.”

So is that the future? A ‘basket’ of different influencer rankings that gives an aggregated picture of how the individual scores in terms of online influence? That solution is probably little better than the single rankings.

From our practical experience in mapping influencers for clients the best solution is to use human analysis, rather than automated rankings. By using monitoring tools to gather data about a particular topic, then diving into that data and tracing relationships and information flows between individuals we establish if individuals have reach, relevance and respect around the brand (or issue) we are working with. These insights can then be used to create comprehensive profiles of each influencer, and to map the links between them.

Three elements of influence - reach, relevance, respect

We do use automated influencer ranking tools on occasion to double check named individuals. Most often though we use them to fuel some banter within the team along the lines of ‘my Klout is bigger than yours’ !