Twitter Influence Tools: Are They Useful?

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a massive surge in the availability / prominence of Twitter influence tools of late.

Now, while I don’t doubt that some people have more ‘influence’ than others on Twitter (in the space I’m interested in, people like Mari Smith, Steve Farnsworth, Sarah Evans and Kim Sherrell are great and are influential because they serve up great stuff consistently, are engaging and generous) but I think it’s good to have a balanced view of the way we use these tools and the resulting data.

(In fact, I think the most entertaining use of these tools is too embarrass your freinds who specialise in similar fields to you…sorry, again, for yesterday @HarrietCrosse!).

But there are some practical uses to these tools, which I think are getting lost.

So, I’ve compiled a mini-list of some of the more prominent Twitter influence / analytics tools, and highlighted what they are useful for:

Twibes.com

This one has surged to prominence in the last few weeks due to it’s clever (almost spam-like) use of Twitter lists, automatically adding names by specialism when new lists are created by users (and perhaps devaluing the usefulness of lists…but that is the subject of another post).

Practical uses: Finding Twitter users who share a common interest (and following them, either directly or via the list function), or making it easier for you to find and follow topics / conversations (which, theoretically, is what you should be doing anyway).

Twitalyzer

These guys just released an updated version of this tool yesterday, which includes some really useful functionality…amongst the ‘rankings heavy’ interface.

Practical uses: Amongst other things, it allows you to add subject tags to your profile (again assisting in connecting you with people who share a common interest) and gives you feedback on your ‘engagement’ with other users (an often overlooked, but essential, element of Twitter / social media).

Interestingly it also provides an analysis on your use of ‘hashtags are seemingly being used less frequently (perhaps due to Twitter’s trending reports which simply highlight popular topics / phrases…with or without a hashtag).

Klout

My favourite (the most fun, and possibly the most accurate) this tool attempts to categorise you by Twitter type: connector, persona, climber or casual. This also contains many of the analytics categories you’ll find in Twitalyzer (under the ‘stats’ tab).

Practical uses: Not sure if it’s that practical, but it does give you an idea of who has possibly influenced your Twitter style (which for me is scarily accurate) and who has ‘carried’ your re-tweets (although this can take a while to update, see below).

The actual homepage is probably the most useful part of the site, identifying topics that are being discussed (and by whom), enabling you, again, to find people who share similar passions / interests.

The main downside to this one is that it only updates your stats / scores a couple times a month so when you log in your ‘profile’ may not be up to date…awww!!

TweetLevel

Now this one received a lot of publicity in the UK when it was launched a couple months ago…which is surprising as a PR agency developed the tool and launched it 😉

If anything it goes to show how important PR is in communicating social media services…nice job guys!

Practical uses: Now, apart from the almost comical introductory copy which says TweetLevel ‘measures and individuals importance on Twitter’ (not making fun of the tool, more the ‘over emphasis’ of the importance of Twitter…which will balance out soon enough as it become a more needs-based part of our social media existence, as opposed to an all-consuming one), this does have some practical uses.

The main one being the ‘engagement’ rating which gently reminds you to give as much as you get on Twitter (and in social media in general), underpinning its community feel.

What else is out there?

There are a bunch of other Twitter analytics tools out there (including this handy list via Social Media Today outlining 8 of the better and more useful tools available).

I don’t particularly like giving direct advice via the Blog on subjects like this because the science behind the calculation of these rankings / scores is still relatively unproven.

The only tip I will give is this:

While it’s fun (and a little helpful…and totally distracting!) to analyse your Tweeting ‘talents’ with these tools, you’re probably better off analysing the impact your brand / clients are having via this medium…as that’s where the real insight / value lies…no pun intended.

Do you have a Twitter analytics tool you like / prefer? Drop your thoughts into the box below.

AV

3 Comments

  • Reply January 5, 2010

    Geek Girl

    Nice summary of the tools available Adam, and thanks for reminding me of Twitanalyser. I’ll have to look into it more carefully when I have a spare minute or two.

    I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of these Twitter influence tools for the following reasons:

    a) I’d like to know in more detail how the influence is measured (is based on the bumber of followers, tweets?RT ratio, number of lists you belong to etc)

    b) There are sometimes some discrepencies within the tool (I am talking more specifically about Klout here)

    You’ve just inspired me to write a blog post about Twitter Lists and influence – will do so when I have a spare minute or two (you can tell I am kinda busy, can’t you?)

  • Reply January 5, 2010

    Rich Baker Social Media

    Great post and it was my pleasure to help 'oil the cogs of creativity'! My favourite is Klout for the reasons you mention.

  • Reply January 7, 2010

    Jeff Katz

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for mentioning Twitalyzer.

    Regarding hashtags. We do use hashtags for various reports and segmentation in addition to our new tagging functionality. Personally, I have witnessed more use of hashtags on Twitter lately than less, especially from government or quasi-government agencies as part of their communication process.

    With our 2.0 release

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