Tip: How Do You Find An Influencer?

I assume, you know,  why you want to find an influencer. I actually don’t like that term “influencer” and would like to  use some synonyms like evangelist, thought leader, expert, expert blogger/columnist, curator.  So let us say we want to find some one who is well known in a certain space.

There are several ways to find influencers. There are different types of influencers too. Industry influencers are people from research companies with large following and executive team of big companies in a certain industry/space. In this post we will look at well known people active in Social Media.

Here is reasonably good starting point – Klout. Klout is a social ranking/rating system. It looks at people’s social media activity including their following and activity and other social media signals, to rank influencers. It is not perfect, but it is a good starting point.

Let us take a simple example. Let us say I want to learn about the topic of Technology.  Here is what Klout shows you:

A few additional notes:

  • You may also want to look at the top +K recepients (which may overlap somewhat with the influencer list).
  • Notice that this list is the influencers for the past 90 days. So this list may change.
  • Not every one likes Klout and topics is one area where Klout just started. They don’t even have a good topic discovery mechanism (search).  They don’t have a hierarchy of topics either.
  • Here are some featured topics – http://klout.com/#/topics The topics you may be looking for may not be there (for example, I was looking for inbound marketing).

As  I mentioned earlier, this is just one starting point. One technique,  is to use someone you know as an influencer as a starting point and see whom they follow on Twitter. For example. you would start with Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) if you are interested in “Inbound Marketing” which overlaps with “Social Media Marketing”.

There are lots of others ways and we will cover some of them in future posts. Here are some I can think of:

  • Researchers in a particular space
  • Speakers at conferences related to your topics
  • Authors of books on your favorite industry or topic
  • CXOs of big companies in a specific industry
  • Popular columnists in a specific industry segment
  • Popular bloggers on specific topics

Let me know, if I missed out any.


The chapter on Influence: Finding it and Measuring it, in the book Social Media Analytics has some very good coverage. A few snippets from that chapter:

Influence is so deep a subject that it is impossible to express everything there is to say about it in a single chapter.

Internet newspaper Huffington Post uses Klout Scores and the Adaptive Semantics platform to define the influence of its readers

There are several ideas about what creates the influence we are trying to measure and how far back in time one should go to determine it.

  • Authority Score (Sysomos),
  • Peek Score (PeekYou),
  • Page rank,
  • Compete visits (when available),
  • Alexa rank,
  • Back links, and
  • Updates (posting frequency)
  • Being listed in Web Directories
Related topics:
Influencing the influencers, Authority, Credibility, Expertise, Influence maps, Social Media Monitoring, Topic Relevancy