Learn How to Discover Influence

Heidi Sullivan and I hosted a webinar last week titled Discovering Influence: Identifying Top Contacts in your Community. During the 30-minute discussion, we focused on the power of niche communities, tribe identification, finding the right influencers, looking across metrics, and dedication to relationship building and trust.

We have expanded our knowledge on this subject through building  custom Influencer Reports for clients, and we are constantly adapting and bettering our processes.

Our webinar session had a very active audience asking thoughtful, detailed questions, and since we ran out of time, we are following-up in this post.

Question from @KayWestPR: I heard sentiment as measured by computer programs are unreliable. What do you trust? What works for you?


A: For the Influencer Reports we build in-house at Cision, very little is done by computer automation. For these reports, we have a team of researchers that review content and decide sentiment.

Through partner Radian6, our social media monitoring tool has insight through Clarabridge that linguistically parses every sentence of every post to identify the individual and aggregate sentimentality of each, with in-language analysis for: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Russian and Chinese. The cumulative score determines post sentiment. Clarabridge applies a Universal Category and Classification model to analyze trends, detect emerging issues, and reveal a deeper understanding of what is being talked about.  In other words, it’s much more accurate than just using key word triggers, such as good, great, bad, poor, etc.

We have tested a number of products for other research projects and also recommend Alchemy API if you’re looking specifically for automated sentiment and don’t need an entire monitoring and analysis suite.

Question from @LouHoffman: It sounds like you’re identifying a given “tribe” by hand (manual research). Is there a tool that automates the process?

A: If you subscribe to CisionPoint, you will have access to our Influencer Ranking and also our Influencer Lists, which use our unique algorithm to identify top contacts by topic. These tools can help you quickly identify experts in your space.

When we are hired to identify influencers for a client, everything is reviewed and processed by humans. We do work with our good friends at PeopleBrowsr and get their help in identifying what they call Top Champions (or part of a tribe, as we discussed) but even with that, we collect metrics and compare the entire group our researchers and PeopleBrowsr have found to determine who is worthy of influencer status. 

Working with PeopleBrowsr helps us shave off hours of time when building our Influencer Reports and their methodologies and the people behind their product are superb. They can provide a report which identifies Top Champions, which is essentially one’s tribe. Keep in mind that their reports only pull back Champions on Twitter.

As for free products, we have tried and tested a number of them and find that we spend too much time weeding out “false positives.” Time is money, right?!

If you have further questions, please connect with us in the comments, at @cision, on Facebook or Google+.