As part of my own work in reputation management and influencer analysis, this is often done by comparing how clusters of individuals (people, sites, brands) connect to one another. When examining how online elements affect each other, it is often very important to visualize how data is connected.
“Seeing data” is one of the most difficult things for non-savvy people to do. In order to imagine and visualize a connection, you need to inherently know it is there.
In my mind, this is one of the truest traits of being an expert: the ability to comprehend connective points that no one else can see.
Why is influencer analysis so important?
Social networks have thousands of touch points and connective areas.
Just think about these scenarios:
- One professional in your network may link to your best friend.
- One client may link to five of your employees.
- One competitor may link to hundreds of prospects.
- One news site may link to hundreds of journalists.
All of these scenarios have immediate and actionable business uses.
- If I am a business looking for new clients or people interested in my product, wouldn’t I want to know who the most likely prospects that bought similar products?
- If I was a business looking for news coverage from top journalists, wouldn’t I want to know what press and reports attended or covered industry events?
The Right Tools for the Right Dots
There are hundreds of tools available for visualizing data and performing basic influencer analysis. Linkedin recently launched Inmaps, a beta tool that allow you to see who you are connected to and how they are connected to other people in your network. This is incredibly more useful that having a “short list” of common connections on a profile page.
Using the widget below, you can visit my social network snapshot.
You can immediately see that there are clusters of socially connected people that form natural organizations. When looking at a visualization like this one, you can often see different types of personalities (people who make introductions to other silos, managers who work with tight knit teams, etc.) – this is the core of influencer analysis.
What can you learn for your business?
Regardless of if you have 1 or 100 people on your team, ask your network of family, friends, and professional peers to visit InMaps and print out a screenshot of their network.
Over your next coffee or lunch conversation, sit down and talk about how your can leverage the influencers within your network. Pull out a pen and highlight key people who you have strong relationships with, by doing so you can communicate “people you know who can help them.”