Last week, Forbes published an article entitled Who Are the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013? by Haydn Shaughnessy. It followed similar posts by Shaughnessy on The Top 20 Women Social Media Influencers, also on Forbes, and a similar Top 50 list 12 months earlier.
The article soon came under fire from certain areas of the web, including Mark Schaefer’s Grow blog and Jure Klepic of the Huffington Post. Additionally, there were numerous conversations across Facebook on the Forbes article, with the majority of people discounting its validation.
So why did a publication like Forbes receive such criticism, and what does the discounting of influencer results like the one on Forbes mean for influence marketing in general?
Popularity is Not Influence
This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but popularity does not equal influence. While having 100,000 followers on Twitter might be a nice statement of your social proof (hint: it’s not really), does that make you influential (another hint: no)?
This is where the majority of the criticism of the Forbes article comes into play.
In his preamble to the list, Shaughnessy shares the “algorithm” behind identifying the influencers, and that he uses Twitter measurement platform Peek Analytics. That should raise the first red flag – Shaughnessy is only defining influence from a single platform.
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