First off, this report is not just a popularity report, e.g., who has the most followers or who gets the most retweets; instead, it is a report on who has the most influence on SEM professionals on Twitter. In other words, it’s sort of an “inside baseball” report: Who do search nerds follow and retweet on Twitter?
The results are mostly what you would expect, which is good, because if the list of influential tweeters were way off-base, I’d question the legitimacy of the research. For example, the top three most retweeted people are Larry Kim (@larrykim), Melissa Mackey (@Mel66), and Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro). All of these folks are recognized SEM experts and avid Twitter users.
My first reaction to seeing the list of most retweeted folks was to ask “Where’s Brad Geddes (@bgtheory)?” Brad is a guy whom most everyone in the SEM world recognize as one of the most knowledgeable and influential SEMs out there, I think. Brad’s ranking provides interesting perspective on the intersection of Twitter use and Twitter influence: Brad has the 15th-most retweeted handle, but the 3rd-most mentioned handle. This makes sense when you realize that Brad has “only” sent out around 5,000 tweets, a small number when compared to a prolific poster like Larry Kim, for example, who has passed 27,000 tweets! The lesson here: to have the most influence on the SEM community, combine quality and quantity, like Larry.
The LeadTail report also provides insight into which publications are most influential on Twitter. Again, the top three seem reasonable to me: Search Engine Land (@sengineland), AdWords (@adwords), and Search Engine Watch (@sewatch). The big surprise to me here was the relative absence of MediaPost (@MediaPost) from the rankings, coming in at only the 46th-most-mentioned publication, ranked lower than non-SEM publications like BuzzFeed (@buzzfeed, #44), TechCrunch (@techcrunch, #24), and YouTube (@youtube, #11), among others.
In addition to Search Insider (which you are currently reading!), MediaPost also runs Search Insider Summit and publishes Search Marketing Daily, so its low rank was at first surprising. However, I think I have figured this out. My guess is that you are currently reading this post in your email inbox. My guess is that users are far less likely to retweet an entire article from their inbox. To maximize retweets, make users read the article on the Web. It should be noted, of course, that getting retweets is not the be-all, end-all, so this is not a critique of MediaPost (which I believe is focused on building its email list).
There’s a lot more in the report that I can’t cover here – things like geography, how SEMs describe themselves on Twitter, and what non-SEM publications we like to read. Hopefully, this report becomes a recurring publication – it would be interesting to see how influence changes over time.