Part Two: Sharing the news about SAP SuccessFactors. Top Content and Influencers.

Noise to Signal Cartoon

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the most popular content related to the SAP SuccessFactors acquisition and the list of individuals in the HCM space who were most instrumental in getting the word out about the acquisition. Read it here.

The danger in compiling such lists is that someone always asks, why wasn't [fill in name of influencer] on the list? Or, why wasn't so-and-so's great blog post on the list?

And they did ask.

I concluded yesterday's blog post by saying "tomorrow the lists will change" and indeed they have. Today, Zoli Erdos and Naomi Bloom are in the top of people instrumental in getting the word out about the acquisition - yesterday Naomi wrote and then up-dated a blog post on the subject and that likely helped - and when she publishes her "mega-post about the SAP/SuccessFactors deal" she'll likely rise even further.

Remember, the people who are first or early to report news and who have a widespread following will, naturally, always get the recognition as most "influencing" the initial distribution of the story. Does it matter? Does this make someone more influential? You tell me. I have no idea.

But what happens when I search SocialEars for the phrase "SuccessFactors" over a 6-month period - or beyond?

The list, again, changes.

Now we start to see the people in the HR technology space who regularly discuss topics related to HR Technology and SuccessFactors - and who are widely followed and whose "content" gets widely distributed. Naturally, Bill Kutik, Naomi and other recognized thought leaders dominate this list.

Remember, as I wrote in yesterday's blog post - influence and popularity are relative. Time matters.

One comment on yesterday's blog post said "I don't recognise many of the names on your list. Not sure how well the SocialEars algorithm really works."

I had to laugh. Apparently, the algorithm works beautiful - for what it is supposed to do. SocialEars is NOT an influence ranking tool - we'll leave that to the engineers at Klout and PeerIndex and others - there is a reason why we integrate/partner with these technologies as we have no interest in doing what they do.

SocialEars at its core is a marketing and media relations tool to help people view the trending topics in the HCM marketplace (or, search for topics important to them) and view the "people" participating in and driving those respective topics.

If you are in PR at company ABC and you have some news to distribute about cloud computing technology in the HR/Talent Management marketplace you kind of sort of want to know who the people are that have been talking about that topic online - and from there you can determine if they are worth engaging.

So the fact that we turned someone on to people they did not previously "recognise" is sort of the point!

Today, most of us get our news from the Internet. And we consume this news throughout the day via email, webinars, podcasts, blogs and on sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, where we also share the news we consume. It's a never-ending loop where everyone functions as a news source and few gatekeepers control what news we see. (here is a cool infographic on the subject).

The byproduct of this phenomenon is that we are drowning in information - noise.

And this is the real value of marketing/PR social media analytics software - like SocialEars. These tools allow us to filter through the noise to access what's really important (to us) and better understand what's being discussed and who is participating in those discussions.

How you use this information and assign "influence/popularity" - well, that's entirely up to you. The gentlemen who commented "I don't recognise many of the names on your list" also wrote "I'm not yet convinced that we can analyse influence with mathematics - yet."

And I agree.

Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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