Sorting the wheat from the social chaff - TechCentral

Sorting the wheat from the social chaff

Mike Sharman

Mike Sharman

Who really has clout in social media in South Africa? Digital communications agency Retroviral has developed a new tool, called Webfluential, that it hopes will help companies answer this question.

Retroviral and Webfluential co-founder Mike Sharman says people who claim to have influence — for example, bloggers — are not always truthful about their reach. They sometimes buy followers on social networks, or lie about the traffic to their websites, to exaggerate their influence.

Sharman says “influencer engagement is a grey area and there needs to be regulation”. Until now, many companies have simply had to use guesswork to determine the effectiveness of their use of so-called “influencers” to drive their social media campaigns.

“Measuring the success of a PR campaign using traditional media has been a point of discussion for years,” Sharman says. With social media, an “entirely new system of measurement is required”.

Webfluential wants to make the process “transparent” by getting those that claim to have influence to sign up and fill in their social profiles. It is an opt-in service with no monthly fee, provided users meet the minimum requirement of a thousand legitimate Twitter followers.

The idea is these influencers can make money from companies wishing to use them to promote their brands and products.

Webfluential then makes its money as a tool for advertisers, media buyers and PR agencies, which pay for access to the database, with influencers grouped by location, audience and platform across various sectors, including fashion, food, motoring, sport and entertainment.

The platform, which has been live for three weeks, has attracted 300 sign-ups.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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