Free Twitter Analytics: How to Find Influencers

Quality interaction is the key to social media success.

In the highly-cluttered Twitter environment, having influencers can make a difference on whether or not your message will go the distance.

We’ve seen a number of social media influence analytics come and go in the past few years. While the likes of Klout, Kred and PeerIndex may help you to measure the influence of an individual, identifying these individuals from a pool of 500+ million Twitter users is another gargantuan task altogether.

Here’s how you can find your social influencers…

First, set up an account at Followerwonk. It operates under freemium model, but the free basic tools are pretty darn good. Here are a couple of ways you can find social influencers on Twitter:

Method A. The simplest and quickest way is to use the “Search Twitter bios” function. For instance, if I want to identify Twitter users who are influential in the Asia marketing landscape, I can key in “marketing asia” and the following will pop out:

How to Find Influencers via Search Twitter Bios Function

The result can then be sorted based on a few factors. ‘Social Authority’ is probably the most relevant in terms of measuring influence, i.e. Followerwonk gives a strong weigh on recent retweets, which is actually a very good indication that the influencer’s audience is well-engaged with the influencer’s tweets.

Nonetheless, it’s still important to look at the ‘Followers’ field as it represents the influencer’s audience reach. We also need to bear in mind that quite a sizable number of Twitter users are more of a spectator than a conversationalist, so they may not necessarily share it to their network. In this example, we can conclude that Marketing Magazine is the top Twitter influencer in marketing-related topics.

The downside of Method A: Unfortunately, not all influencers are SEO experts. This is especially true for influencers coming from neither marketing nor IT background. Even if they are good with SEO, Twitter’s 160-character rule can seriously affect the choice of keywords used on the bio. In our example, the keyword “Asia” could’ve been expressed in variants such as APAC, AsiaPac or Asia-Pacific:

How to Find Influencers by Diversifying Keyword Search

If we relied strictly on Method A without diversifying the search terms, we could’ve missed Campaign Asia—an important influencer of comparable social authority with Marketing Magazine, but with twice the follower counts.

Method B. Influencers usually keep up with the latest trends and developments in their area of expertise. In our example, more likely than not, marketing influencers are already following key information sources and industry experts, such as the aforementioned Marketing Magazine.

To find these influencers, select the “Analyze followers” function and input the username of the Twitter user whom you’d like to analyze. There are many analytics that are offered, but similar to method A, ‘Social Authority’ is the most valuable data so let’s zoom in on that:

How to Find Influencers via Analyze Followers Function

Marketing Magazine’s followers are further segmented based on the selected variable, which in this case is ‘Social Authority’. Usually, influencers around 71-100 are mostly branded organisation accounts, celebrities or global-level experts. To find influencers whose authority resonates best locally, somewhere around 41-60 would be ideal (down to around 31 if you’d like to engage a larger pool of influencers).

To ensure that you are looking at the right influencer, you can hover your mouse at the username to read the bio and location of the influencer. As Followerwonk also offers geographical segmentation, you can even conduct a separate analysis on the specific influencer (e.g. Christel Quek) to ensure that the influencer actually reaches out to the intended target audience. Keep in mind that there’s a limit on the number of accounts you can analyze per day, though.

How to Find Influencers via Segmented Data

The downside of Method B: There are many sources of information, and influencers may not necessarily be a follower of the account you’re analyzing. Hence, it’s good to check 2-3 leading information sources to capture all the important influencers.

Personally, I find that both methods complement each other. Integrating both methods yield the best result, e.g. Christel Quek’s social authority of 61 indicates that she’s actually a stronger influencer than Marketing Magazine’s 56, but I probably wouldn’t have arrived at Christel without having a quick categorical glance through Method A first.

Other social influencers marketing strategy

Interestingly, Method B is also a great way to identify key influencers who are already following you! There are a few other interesting features that Followerwonk offers, and I’ll discuss further on how these features can be used to optimise your interaction with your key followers in one of my upcoming posts.

What are the best strategies to identify influencers? Are there any other Twitter analytical tools that you’d like to recommend?

Find me on Twitter: @ADarwitan

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