March 16, 2012

Further Clarification of the South African Brandometer

The South African Brandometer is an online ranking of the most influential brands on social media, in South Africa. Since Fuseware released it this week, it has had tremendous media exposure – some good, some bad. I would like to use this post to clarify many of the questions people are asking.

1. “Why is Julius Malema even listed, nobody likes him anyway”?

The Brandometer rankings are not determined by a panel of judges, by voters, or by the opinions of Fuseware or its partners. It is a completely unbiased index of online brands, based on their actual influence on social media. This influence is measured using many different factors, including reach and number of followers, engagement with social network of fans and followers, and how influential the brands’ content is within their network. Each brand is measured exactly the same way, so if Malema happens to come in number 2 in the Politics section, that is because he has been ranked as that influential in the social media space.

2. What do you mean by “social influence”?

Social influence isn’t exactly like real influence, although the two have a strong correlation. For example, the South African president account is less influential than the Malema account on Twitter, according to its social scorecard. This, of course, does not mean the same for actual real-world influence. What social influence means is that if that person posts a tweet on their social account, more people will read, respond to and share that content than less influential brands. This influence isn’t a popularity indicator, nor is it a sentiment indicator – it is merely a brand scorecard on how much weight they have in their social network to spread a message.

3. Why release it for free, or at all for that matter?

There are many free ranking tools out there, but none are backed up by an official social media analytics company. Fuseware has been in the analytics game for over two years – not only do we understand social media metrics and how best to combine them into rankings, but the rankings have a greater level of trust than a random website that pops up a score for you. The Brandometer is and always will be free to use – I feel it is a valuable service that the public can use to discover amazing brands, and that agencies can use to gauge relative influence levels of the brands they work with to assist their campaigns.

4. I don’t like the idea of benchmarking brands.

Every established form of media where brands play in has some form of regulation and ranking – from radio to TV, and more recently the digital space. Rankings are a fact of life and help us disseminate the most valuable brands and content in an easy to read format. When you use Google every day, Google ranks all websites by an “influence” metric that they have crafted together to best serve their customer base. Social media has been very fragmented in this context, and I hope to bring a level of knowledge and categorization in this space through the Brandometer.

5. How can a brand increase its influence ranking in social media?

We currently rank 4 of the largest social networks in the country – MXit, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Each network has its own metrics by which we measure influence, but broadly speaking the following are the major variables taken into account:

  1. Size of your network– this is the number of fans, followers or connections you have. The bigger, the better.
  2. Engagement – this is how often you connect with your network, and how they connect back with you.
  3. Influence of your network – if you are connected to other influencers, you become more influential yourself
  4. Sharing potential – how likely is it that your network will share the content you produce, through retweets, Facebook likes, social shares and the like.

If you have any questions regarding the Brandometer, please shoot me an email at mike [at] fuseware [dot] net.

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