SOCIAL MEDIA MOVERS AND SHAKERS, IDENTIFIED


The Top-100 Social Media Power Influencers, 2015 Edition

This marks the third year that StatSocial and Haydn Shaughnessy publish a list of Twitter users most influential in the realm of social media—that is, social media experts with a great following among people also interested in social media. Excluded from this list of the top-hundred influencers are journalists and actual employees of social media companies. We’ve published this annual list on Forbes.com for two years. Take a look below for this year’s list of movers and shakers. As you go through it, you will notice many similarities to the lists of previous years, but also some striking differences. Thanks to some remarkable recent advances in StatSocial’s technology, this year’s list features a very granular analysis of follower communities cultivated by these social-media leaders.

In the past, some people questioned the usefulness of an influencers’ power list. Why bother compiling lists? Are they just click-bait? What should the criteria for inclusion be? If the primary criterion for ranking is the sheer number of followers, won’t the list omit influential authors of relatively small but choice followings, and who should make the list nonetheless, thanks to the quality, rather than the number, of their followers?

When we published the first list in 2012 there was still room for debate as to whether influencers were a permanent fixture in marketing rather than just a fad. Now there are platforms, like Raynforest, designed specifically to link marketing campaigns to the right influencers. The existence and growing popularity of such platforms goes to show that companies’ reliance on social media influencers for their marketing campaigns has become a mainstream practice. Debate still lingers as to how to properly measure influence with quantifiable metrics, but the value of influence measurement is gradually becoming accepted.

This Social Media Power list is a good showcase of StatSocial’s measurement and insights technology. Now we are able to determine the makeup and depth of a follower group (StatSocial counts the real people among someone’s followers, but also how many people are following those followers in turn). We are also able identify the affinities and interests of these followers down to a surprising level of detail.

This year’s list has been compiled by looking at the number of followers who are interested in important aspects of social media and social marketing. Specifically, the influencers were ranked according to how much interest their followers have in 1) social media 2) marketing 3) advertising 4) technology 5) business leaders.

To recap, the primary metric of comparison is the number of second-degree followers—that is, how many followers, on aggregate, are following the influencer’s followers—and how that number compares with how many people are following an average Twitter user’s followers. That’s what we call Twitter Pull, which is expressed as a quotient: e.g., a Twitter Pull of 2x means someone’s followers, on the aggregate, are followed by twice as many people as an average Twitter user’s are. For the purpose of this list, we modified the Twitter Pull quotient by a weighting. The weighting is the average of the five follower characteristics above. For every influencer we measured the proportion of people who were interested in any one of several hundred topics, way down to such things as which TV programs they mentioned on social media, or which individuals they followed, or which brands they showed an affinity for.

From all this data we isolated interests that fell under social media, marketing, advertising, technology, and business celebrities. In other words, we isolated those in a follower group who had a very strong interest in social as a business activity. That’s what determines the ranking in this list. By the way, if you sign up for a free account with StatSocial, you can see a complete breakdown of your own Twitter followers, by both demographics and affinities. It will give you huge insight into your follower community.