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Under the Influence Webinar Q&A

Last week I presented Under the Influence, a free Cision Webinar, with Vice President of Media Research for North America, Heidi Sullivan. The webinar explored how to define who is truly influential in the social media universe and effectively target this new generation of influencers. We received a lot of great questions, some of which we didn’t get a chance to answer during the presentation. We’ve tackled a couple of them here instead.

Joanna: What should we use to gather these analytics? Google Analytics?

Heidi: When identifying digital influencers, we need to look across social metrics and social platforms to get the full picture since different influencers engage in different ways. Many of these metrics are available for blogs in CisionPoint, but there are also free tools you can use to compile some of these Web metrics and social metrics. Unfortunately, you will only be able to use Google Analytics for your own site. Here are three of my favorite free tools to measure particular metrics:

  • Unique Visitors Per Month: Cision uses Compete.com for accurate UVMs.
  • Inbound Links: I prefer AllTheWeb.com, but you can also use Google BlogSearch or Technorati. Just type in “link:thesiteiwant.com” to identify the number of inbound links.
  • Twitter Influence: I find both Klout and Edelman’s TweetLevel easy-to-use and consistent.

Mark: Do you think URLS in Tweets should link back to a company’s Web site or directly to the source information.  In other words, should you draw them to your Web site and then reroute to the source information, such as a media article?

Andrea:  You’re right to be very thoughtful when choosing links to include on the social Web. Establishing you and/or your company as a thought leader in a particular industry involves sharing links to other relevant sites. If you’re always directing users back to your own site, people might become suspicious and you could be veering dangerously close to the “oily car salesman” habit. When linking to original content, it’s absolutely appropriate to send users to a company site. However, it’s never a bad idea to “share the wealth” on the social Web and link to other thought leaders. It’s much more likely they’ll repay you the favor down the road, building that social capital that is the holy grail of building relationships.

Gina: When you comment on a blog, do you identify yourself as a PR person? Do you impersonate the client?

Heidi: It’s paramount to your success on the social Web to remain honest and transparent in your engagement. I would actually recommend identifying yourself with your real name, and then it is a decision for you and your client or brand as to whether you say “I’m a PR person” or just “I’m with Company X.” For example, when I comment on blogs, I don’t always say that I’m from Media Research or PR, but that I’m from Cision. Regardless of how you handle the situation, my best advice is to stay transparent about your involvement; it will help you build more credibility with the community.

Sal: How do you ensure compliance with fair disclosure regulations when one uses social networks to make material news announcements?

Andrea: I had to do a little homework to make sure I fully understood fair disclosure and came across this brief, but helpful, explanation from the SEC. Here’s an excerpt:

“Regulation FD provides that when an issuer discloses material nonpublic information to certain individuals or entities—generally, securities market professionals, such as stock analysts, or holders of the issuer’s securities who may well trade on the basis of the information—the issuer must make public disclosure of that information. In this way, the new rule aims to promote the full and fair disclosure.”

With all things related to social media, the lines in this issue are a bit blurry. Having a presence on the social Web means the people operating those company accounts must have a clear understanding of the types of information and material that is appropriate to share – and what is off limits. If you’d like more information, this article does a fantastic job of laying out what companies should consider before posting information online or sharing it in social media.

Want to hear more about engaging with influencers and what specific metrics can be used to find them? Register here for part two of our influencer series, Measuring Who Matters: Using Engagement Metrics to Identify the Most Relevant Social Media Influencers. CisionBlog regular Jay Krall will present with Marshall Sponder on Tuesday, November 16 at 1pm CST.

About Cision Staff

Cision's research staff makes over 20,000 media updates to Cision's Media Database each day! For more updates and other thought leadership in the industry, follow @Media_Moves.

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