We are increasingly under social media influence. But who really has influence? How can we measure it?
Influence is often confused with mere audience. The main reason is that audience is straightforward to measure on social medias: all social networks provide a direct counts of followers or likes. What does audience really stand for? Audience is at best a measure of number of fans. In fact, relying on audience to measure influence has several drawbacks and biases.
- Audience can be bought. In fact there are many sites that offer you ways to increase your number of followers so that you can appear bigger than you really are.
- Audience leaders are unfocused. Audience leaders are good to engage a general public but are not focused on a very specific topic. They are generalists who cover a bit of everything and are followed by a diverse public.
- Audience leaders rely on experts to make their minds on specific topics and often relay the views of the experts. In the influence chain, the audience leader is often the last link.
Topicality and Authority
How can we move upstream in the influence chain and find the experts? The key is topicality and community: the experts share their passion with their peers in small communities centered on their topics of interest. To get a better handle on social influence we need a community specific measure of influence.
We call it Authority. Authority is by construction community specific and measures the online authority mindshare of a topic leader within the community.
Measuring topic authority is both simple and hard. It’s simple as it’s focused on two transparent and objective criteria: 1) is the source regularly sharing content on the topic of the community? 2) is the source recognized by its peers amongst the community?
The challenging part is to compute the authority, it’s an AI challenge: Authority is a unique combination of semantics and social. Topicality challenge calls for powerful semantic engines. The social challenge is that authority leaders are not as visible than audience leaders, and hide in the long tails of sources with limited audience. Agilience computes authority rank relying on its patented A3S Artificial Intelligence engine.
Agilience reveals topic-centered communities and measures members authority, pointing out the top authorities in your field, the top stories that matter to your community and the most valuable way to engage the community.