With the rise of social media, “influencers,” and buzz marketing, “social scoring” has become an industry unto itself. Klout, for one, has emerged as a star in the space, thanks to good press and a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Yet research is emerging to suggest that marketers remain skeptical about the value of social scoring platforms.
Asked whether they found such services useful for finding “influencers,” a majority of marketers (55%) said “No,” according to a survey of about 1,300 marketing professionals conducted by Sensei Marketing and the consultants at ArCompany. "The problem is that the results provided by these platforms are too varied," ArCompany found, adding that the results do not convince most marketers that the "influencers" are in fact influential.
“The majority of marketers surveyed … stated they either distrust the metrics reported by social scoring platforms or that they’ve had little success using them,” said Sam Fiorella, partner at Sensei Inc., a Toronto-based consulting firm.
“Clearly, social influence scoring platforms must evolve their methodologies to better integrate with sales campaigns and report the impact they have on purchases and not just brand amplification,” Fiorella added. “Alternatively, they must integrate with more social CRM platforms, which would allow for the merging of their influence campaigns with transactional data.”
An even greater percentage of respondents (68%) said they have little faith in social influence scores, although they said such lists are helpful as a starting point for filtering out potential influencers -- but not as a stand-alone measurement.
Some 94% of the marketers surveyed did not fully trust the metrics of social influence scoring platforms.
As a result, 64% of respondents said they do not use influence scores as part of their marketing strategy. Rather, respondents said they are more likely to manually sift through lists of so-called influencers, and vet each one individually.
Over the next 12 months, more than 62% of respondents said it was unlikely they would be using a social scoring platform, because they just aren’t sold on the model as a valid form of measurement.
Conducted online this past February, ArCompany said it surveyed more than 1,300 professionals. The majority of those surveyed (60%) said they are based in North America.
Of the surveyed respondents, about 63% identified themselves as marketing professionals, while 20% said they were in public relations, and nearly 17% identified themselves as business executives.