Is Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing?

According to a new study sponsored by ArCompany and Sensei Marketing, social scoring isn’t the future of influencer marketing – far from it!

Sam Fiorella (@samfiorella) and Danny Brown (@dannybrown) have been heavily invested in Influence Marketing lately (with the launch of their new book soon), and they strongly believe that social scores are not the answer to determining true social media influence. According to their latest study, neither do marketing and PR professionals.

The study was conducted across all continents, with 1,300 marketing and PR professionals with different seniority levels participating in the survey. Here’s a bit of a summary of their findings:

  • 68% of respondents see influencer marketing as a lead-gen and sales tactic, not a branding exercise.
  • Marketers see the clear difference between influencer marketing and social scoring.
  • Marketers are increasing budget for influencer marketing, but not social scoring.
  • 55% of respondents say social scoring is ineffective, while the majority of respondents still use it.
  • 94% of respondents don’t fully trust social scoring platforms (WOW!!!).
  • The majority of marketers will do influencer marketing within the next 12 months.

It seems that the topic of “what is social media influence” and “why use influence marketing campaigns” is still something that’s unclear with marketing and PR professionals. This is not a surprise, because the definition changes for everyone – we’ve wrote our opinions on what is influence (here, here, here, and here), as did several other people, like Mark Schaefer, Jure Klepic, Danny Brown, and Sam Fiorella. It’s a hot topic, but something that’s still difficult to define.

Is Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing? image Screen Shot 2013 04 17 at 8.13.53 AMIs Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing?

What marketing and PR professionals seemed to agree on was that influence marketing is taking a larger role in their online marketing initiatives, which is great!

Is Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing? image Screen Shot 2013 04 17 at 8.15.16 AMIs Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing?

Another thing that marketers and PR professionals are agreeing on, is that they don’t trust social scoring as an accurate measure of social influence – what a surprise!

Is Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing? image Screen Shot 2013 04 17 at 8.21.04 AMIs Social Scoring The Future Of Influence Marketing?

We’ve written about different scores before, but much like others would say, social scoring might be a starting point on narrowing down a list, but it’s not the only measure you should look at.

The consensus in this study reflects strongly what we’ve been finding while talking to PR agencies:

  1. Influencer Outreach is gaining grounds! PR agencies are doing it more and more, as they see results.
  2. Social scoring doesn’t play a big part in influencer selection. Agencies tend to use tools like Radian6 to generate a list of various influencers, then investigates a bit deeper.
  3. Audience size doesn’t always matter. Agencies are starting to pay more attention to long-tail influencers, that have smaller online communities. Social scoring won’t help with long-tail influencers, as they tend to have lower social scores, but still have great influence over their communities.

It’s really not a surprise that social scoring isn’t hitting the mark with agencies. From what we’ve learned, social scoring platforms aren’t fixing any of the pain-points that agencies have, like workflow issues, targeting audiences, verifying influencer data (such as blog visits, followers, friends, etc.), determining quality, collaboration with influencers, documentation, etc. Social scoring platforms try to rank as many datapoints as they can, and focus on the individual, not the audience. Also, agencies don’t need, or don’t have the time to sift through tens of thousands of influencers. They can barely sift through a few hundred. We were told by an agency that they would need our recommendation with a list of 180 influencers in a specific category, because it was too much information for them to go through. All of this data can get overwhelming, and is really not helping out with some of the issues that agencies face in influencer outreach today.

It’s nice to see the results form these studies, and confirm what we’ve been hearing from marketing and PR professionals :)

You can download Danny and Sam’s full report here. And don’t forget to pre-order their book, Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing.

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