The Best Social Media Marketing Influencers for 2016?
Social Media Examiner (SME) has named the “Top 10 Best Social Media blogs for 2016”. In this article, we take a detailed look at the influencer's metrics and ways to help business owners find the right blogs to follow.
Choosing a top 10 of anything is very subjective. And choosing the top social media blogs that will work for everyone is not possible.
Even the best informed social media site cannot accurately pick the best blogs for you to follow. This is something you must learn how to do yourself. Unless your business is exactly like their business. Then the influencers that you need/want in your life may not be the same as those chosen by a wide group of their followers.
It is a very prestigious award for the winners. Just to be voted in by a community, and then acknowledged by your peers is a great honor. But what does it mean for you the small business owner trying to find the right influencers to follow?
The process used by Social Media Examiner.
Every year Social Media Examiner publishes a list of the best Social Media Blogs. The blogs reviewed are first nominated by their subscribers. A whopping 430,000 people subscribe to the Social Media Examiner blog. Each subscriber can nominate someone for this award. But each subscriber can only nominate one blog. Those blogs that receive two or more nominations are then sent on to the judges.
The judges are successful bloggers in social media themselves, and they change every year. The 2016 judges are:
- Ann Handley Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs; Columnist for Entrepreneur magazine; Author of the book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of Content Rules.
- Darren Rowse founder of ProBlogger.net and author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
- Neal Schaffer Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business; Author of three books including Maximize Your Social; and social media marketing teacher at Rutgers University.
According to Social Media Examiner, “Winners will be selected based on the quality of their content, frequency of their posts, reader involvement and their blog’s ranking (in that order).”
However, the methods used are rather subjective.
- There are no specific details on how the judges make their decisions.
- Quality of content. How does one judge the quality of content? Social shares, Engagement, Average number of comments? The page does not detail how they make these assessments.
- Frequency of posts. There are conflicting opinions on what frequency is best. For this contest, SME did not define the “frequency requirements.” But for some other thoughts on the subject check out:
- Reader involvement. I can only assume they are interested in comments on the blogs, but that is not made clear either.
- Blog Ranking. What blog ranking are they using? Is it an independent measurement or something of their own? It could be Alexa Ranking, or Moz ranking, or some other method. But what they used is not shared with the readers either.
Social Media Examiner is a great organization. I am sure they are using the highest standards to select the winners. But what I am not clear about is whether their choices are the best for ALL of their readers. The winners vary considerably and the data below will explain what I mean.
Because I like data, I have put together some examples of metrics I use to determine great blogs to follow.
My criteria are:
- Number of followers in each social media channel.
- Klout score. Though not everyone has one, it is an easily checked measure of engagement.
- Alexa ranking, page rank, time on site, and bounce rate
- Moz Ranking, showing Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA)
- All data had to come from FREE tools. There are a great number of free tools available to get you basic data. Spend money on tools that can grow your authority, status, lists, etc. But for basic research use those tools that make it easy and fit into your budget.
Here are the results:
Social Media Examiners Top 10 Best Social Media Blogs: The 2016 Winners!
- Buffer Social
- Jenn’s Trends
- Peg Fitzpatrick
- Rebekah Radice
- Simply Measured
- Socially Sorted
- Sprout Social
- The Social Media Hat
Followers are generally considered a vanity metric. A valid statement. But would you really want to take advice on how to grow your Facebook following from someone that doesn’t actually have one? So vanity or not there is some value to checking out the follower numbers of the winners.
As you can see there is a huge difference between these winners. The winners all have at some presence on the major platforms. And some have a large following on a specific platform. But none of them are rocking it out on every social media platform.
What does that mean for you? It means that you don’t have to be everywhere to connect with the right people. It is important is to know where your ideal clients hang out and look for someone that is an expert on that platform. For example, Twitter and Facebook have a wide range of followers. Within those platforms, you could easily find some of your prospects and customers. But if your products are more Business-to-Business, LinkedIn may be a better fit. And there are experts on each of these platforms.
The trick is to know where your prospects and customers are, then focus on one social media platform to gain traction. Look for an expert with a great blog about the social media platform you want to learn about. That is who you want to follow!
“Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user's social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.” according to Wikipedia.
The value of KLOUT scores have been widely disputed. There are similar products available, but all of them have limitations. For this review, we will focus on Klout as it is a well-established tool for measuring influence. For details on how scores are achieved, click here. But the basics are the higher the score the more influence.
According to Klout “The average Klout Score is 40. Users with a score of 63 are in the top 5% of all users”. So all the 2016 winners are in the top 5% of Social Media Influencer scores according to Klout. If you are looking for experts, it pays to make sure that they are also in this range.
Once you start working on your Klout score you will find that anything over 60 is really hard to get and to keep. It takes a ton of work. If the expert is really at the top of their game, they will be in the top 5% and will be staying there month after month. So check this out a couple of times a year if you want to know for sure.
Why Alexa rankings?
“Alexa’s Traffic Ranks are based on the traffic data provided by users in Alexa’s global data panel over a rolling 3 month period. Traffic Ranks are updated daily. A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews. Unique Visitors are determined by the number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day. Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site. However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single Pageview. The site with the highest combination of unique visitors and pageviews is ranked #1. Additionally, we employ data normalization to correct for biases that may occur in our data.” Alexa.com
Basically, you get free information about the amount of traffic and the success of the blogs that you want to follow.
If you aren’t familiar with Alexa rankings, the numbers shown are inverse. Meaning the closer to zero you are the higher the ranking of the website.
Along with Traffic, Alexa provides daily page views per visitor. This ties into the time on site below and is a good indicator of how engaging the information is. If someone lands on one blog article, how likely are they to look up other articles? If the material is interesting then they check out other articles or spend more Time on Site.
ALEXA time on site is self-explanatory. The longer people stay on the site the more interested they are in the content. So look for sites that keep people reading, searching or engaging on that site.
Bounce Rate from ALEXA:
Many things can cause high Bounce Rates, but our 2016 winners seem to be in the ranges of 26-79%.
That may seem like a big range, but bounce rate is a variable that will change daily.
Bounce rate can be positively or adversely affected by any marketing activity. So any campaign, landing page, etc. can affect this number. So like most things on the internet, it is best to look for trends. Alexa.com provides you with 3 months history on each site and allows for comparisons of sites historically. So spend some time comparing your site and the experts’ site. Know how they are over a period of time and check back often. Alexa also allows you to download these results so keeping track is really simple.
Moz Ranking refers to the Page Authority and Domain Authority calculated by Moz SEO software. If you are not aware of Moz software, then you are missing out. As one of the best educators in SEO, and one of the highest ranking SEO tool providers MOZ collects a lot of data. They also have some great free tools that allow you to have easy access to great information.
In this graph the higher the ranking the better the site.
In these rankings, the clear winner is Buffer Social media, both for Domain and Page Authority. However, these winners are a small selection of the great social media influencers online.
In the 7 year run of this contest, there have been some great winners shown that I may not have found otherwise. For a previous review, you can check out the 2013/2014 results here.
I hope this has helped to explain how to find the right social media experts for you to follow. There are also specific things you can do to learn about the influencers that are in your niche. But that is for another post.
These types of articles are a great way to become aware of a new influencer that you may not have heard of. It is also a good reminder to review those that you have been following and update the data about them.
Over the years, I have collected a few consistently valuable influencers that I like to follow. Each of them has different areas of specialty in Social Media or blogging. I have listed the data below for comparison.
As for my favorites they have been consistent for a while now and consist of:
- Social Media Examiner
- Amy Porterfield
- Mari Smith
- Melonie Dodaro
- Boom Social with Kim Garst
- Social Fresh
- Maximize Social Business
- Social Media Today
- Pam Moore
So how do you determine the best influencers or bloggers to follow? Comment below and share your tips to finding the right influencers to follow.
Related links of interest to this article:
influencer marketing klout vs kred vs peerindex
what is the average klout score
For results in previous years you can check out the 2013/2014 results here and the updated stats for those blogs below.