Want to Identify Online Influencers? Try Traackr

June 7th, 2011 | Shonali Burke | 32 Comments

I first came across the folks at Traackr

when PRSA’s 2010 International Conference was held in DC last October. Actually, I didn’t come across them so much as they introduced themselves to me via Twitter and email, and asked to see if we could meet up since they’d be in town. As luck would have it, we weren’t able to meet in person, but we stayed in touch.

Seeing as how hot a topic “influence” is, we’d ping each other every now and again, and I started getting curious about Traackr. Finally, Courtney Vaught, who’s an account manager with them, convinced me to get a demo of the system, with no strings attached. I was so intrigued by what I saw that I asked if she could set up a call for me with Pierre-Loic Assayag, the founder & CEO.

After talking with “PL” (if you think pronouncing “Shonali” is tough, wait until you try pronouncing his name), I came away thinking, “Dang! This thing is hawt!” And to let me play with this system even more, they very kindly gave me a free three-month trial of the system, which I’ve been using to help with the Blue Key campaign.

Much has already been written

about Traackr. If you haven’t read them, I’m pointing you to posts by Valeria Maltoni and Rick Liebling, to mention just a couple. Given how much discussion there is around who an influencer is, how to identify them, influencer scores, yada yada, here is the main reason I’ve become a huge fan of Traackr:

With Traackr, it’s not about numbers, or how much you talk to someone on Twitter all day. It’s about context, relevance and, therefore, potential influence based on that contextual relevance.

In a nutshell, here is how Traackr works.

You identify a particular area, or topic, that you are trying to find online influencers in. For example, for the Blue Key campaign, one of my searches focused on refugees and humanitarian issues, i.e. people who are active online and who post frequently, to any number of online channels, about those issues.

You then start making a list of keywords. You can set up upto 50 keywords per search. As you’re doing so, Traackr will tell you how broad or niche that keyword is. You can also include Twitter hashtags, and prioritize keywords. For example, here are the keywords I’d set up for this particular search (refugee and humanitarian issues):

Once you’re satisfied with your list of keywords (you can test them by seeing what kind of list of people Traackr generates based on who in its database is using those keywords most frequently), you can activate your search. Then, Traackr starts crawling the Web based on your keywords.

When it’s had a few days to do so, it will give you your updated list of influencers, based not simply on how active they are on Twitter or Facebook, but on how much they use those terms in as many of their digital properties as they’ve been able to identify (and you can also edit your influencers if you find that the Traackr database is missing one or more of their digital properties – upon being verified, it will be added to their profile).

It updates this list on a weekly basis, based on how frequently they’ve been using your keywords. So it’s an active search, not a passive one.

This is important: as many of their digital properties as they’ve been able to identify.

So you could, for example, have someone who is not very active on Twitter or Facebook, but has a blog that is devoted to refugee and humanitarian issues. That’s someone I probably want to keep track of… and that’s the kind of thing Traackr lets me do.

Some things to note:

1. Traackr gives you an “A-list” of 25 people who are using your keywords the most. That A-list is what changes on a weekly basis, based on how frequently they are using your keywords.

2. If you want to add more than 25 influencers to your list, you can, but that will cost you. How much, I don’t know, so you should try it out and see if that list of 25 is giving you what you need before you try to extend it (you can delete people if you decide they’re not relevant for you).

3. You can change your keywords as you need to, but I would suggest you spend a lot of time in putting together your initial list (their customer service is terrific and will help you review them). Then activate your search when you think your list of keywords is really solid.

4. Traackr is not cheap (on average, it will cost you around $500 if you’re signing up for a list as a new account, and then the price per list goes down). I asked PL if they would consider alternative pricing especially for indie pros and small businesses, and he said they would … but I don’t know when this will be.

5. Traackr won’t give you an “influencer score.” Derek Skaletsky, who works with the company (and who is also, coincidentally, the creator of Propz), made this very clear in a recent blog post. Yes, it will give you a list of people who use those keywords most frequently, and they will be ranked on your list based on that frequency, but it’s nothing like a Klout score.

6. The list won’t do your work for you. Just like you need to make sure your PR pitches don’t suck, you need to take the list for what it is – a starting point for you to identify people who are active online (and we all know the difference between being active online and offline, right?) in the area you’re interested in, so that you can start to build relationships with them and move your campaign ahead.

7. As of now, you can’t segment influencers by geography. However, if you are focusing on a particular geographic area, look carefully at their “footprint” in Traackr and delete those who aren’t relevant to your search (see example below).

Because of the way Traackr focuses on topics rather than simply activity on Twitter and Facebook, I think it’s a real winner.

I do think that with Klout’s recent introduction of the +K feature, it (Klout) is trying to up its game. But I still think Traackr has an edge, because as Gini Dietrich wrote yesterday, you can still try to game Klout by giving +K to people, getting them to give it to you, and so on.

Is it possible to game Traackr? I suppose there is a way, though I personally wouldn’t have the energy to do it. But that will be one of the questions PL answers when he signs on to today’s #measurePR Twitterchat (12-1 pm ET). Please join us.

In the meantime, have you tried Traackr? What do you think? Are there other influence tools you’ve found useful? Please share, as always the comments are yours.

email
Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Latest posts by Shonali Burke (see all)

Print Friendly
Opt In Image

"A Little Birdie Told Me" could fly into your inbox just once a month. It's Shonali-as-seen-nowhere-else. What're you waiting for?

27 comments
bdorman264
bdorman264

Well, I missed your twitter chat but would like to get in on one of those. Another area I kind of knew something about but didn't pay much attention to.

I just tell people I know you and that has been about the best influencer I can use; I don't even think I can game that.

I don't mean to be silly about this stuff because w/out measurement how in the heck do you know how you are doing, but until something like this becomes second nature to me (if I would even need this) it just sounds like a lot of work. Let me just talk, that I can do w/out a lot of work............:)

Thanks for the link on the link and I will work on an article for #Bluekey. How's that?

Good to see you today.

jspepper
jspepper

+K is a desperate attempt at relevancy as they realize that the Klout Perks aren't doing anything for brands (especially the live, one-time events that use Klout Perks). And it's so open to abuse that it's based on nothing but friends ... and, well, they aren't that helpful but you'll see the quid pro quo crap there. Blargh.Love Traackr. Using them for a very targeted campaign that's also wide, so it's been a challenge (but a good one).

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Sorry I missed the chat, but will definitely check out Traackr! Even if they can't spell it correctly; I won't hold that against them! :)

GautamGhosh
GautamGhosh

I like traackr. I am on 5-6 of their lists from enterprise Social to HR to even PR2.0 ;-)

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I might bag on Klout and Social Influence for the general population because really I don't think we care as much as the VC's, Influence Businesses, and Marketers/PR people think we do. Which is typical for everything they think we all should care about.

BUT based on my experience with PR and my own Social Media Marketing efforts it is important when using strategies to generate awareness and interest in a Brand, Product or Service going the non-traditional route.

Love the write up @Shonali and it seems this to me is much more valuable than what Klout or Peer Index or even the Quora's have going on.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@bdorman264 "I just tell people I know you and that has been about the best influencer I can use" - LOL. You gotta have something better than that, Bill! Now, if you say you know @ginidietrich that's another story...

The Twitter chats are really easy. You just sign on during that time and follow the hashtag, and use it in your tweets so that they get indexed. I use Tweetgrid, since you can have multiple columns open, and it also has a box for the hashtag, so every time I type a tweet, I don't have to type the hashtag over and over again.

I'm looking forward to your #bluekey article - thank you for that!

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

@jspepper Traackr does seem to be well thought out. I can't afford to give it a try, but it is good to learn about what is out there, in case, I am in the position someday.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@jspepper So interesting re: your campaign - I'd love to know more whenever you can share?

And I totally agree with you on the +K. I gotta hand it to Klout's marketing team, though - it will be interesting to see how the next #measurePR chat (Megan from Klout is coming on) goes. I suspect @HowieG will clear his calendar for that... and I wouldn't be surprised if @hackmanj did as well!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@GautamGhosh Heh, do you like Traackr because you're on their lists, or because you're on the right lists? :p I think they're really good - and love the customer service too.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@HowieG I really haven't figured out Quora at all. And yes, I really like Traackr's approach to this which is why, like I said in my post, I was quite blown away by it.

Phew, Howie, I'm glad you approve. :p

jspepper
jspepper

@Shonali It's a project for GenXYZ / Millennials and reaching who they are influenced by / what they read. It's tricky bc that's so wide and I needed to go narrow, but it was hard to figure out a way to go narrow. The team helped me out, doing the outreach now. They rock.

Funny on Megan - it's who I interviewed for my blog post. The more amusing part is that it was part of the crowd snarking on Klout that it doesn't work and Joe went out and responded ... except on mine. I guess that's what happens when you take their answers and use it for your arguments on why Klout doesn't equal influence.

hackmanj
hackmanj

@Shonali @jspepper @HowieG oh oh oh.. Klout? :)

I honestly appreciate what Klout is trying to do but I can't help but feel their future will definitely depend on some creative evolution of how they are measuring influence.

When is the measurePR chat with Megan? I like Megan, and other people who work at Klout, my opinions are not intended to dis anyone there, you're smart and cool and all that!

jspepper
jspepper

@Shonali Well ... after how acrimonious it got last night at #PR20Chat on Klout, I think I'll skip it. Interesting that when you discuss Klout and bring in logic and critical thinking and questioning, you get attacked as a hater. Oh well. @hackmanj @HowieG

hackmanj
hackmanj

@HowieG @Shonali @jspepper DUUUUUUDE! :)

Miss ya too buddy. Squeezing a little more time in so hope to exchange more. That has always impressed me about Klout.

Going to reach out to Shonali about possibly hooking up a lively panel on this. You in?

jspepper
jspepper

@HowieG @hackmanj @Shonali It's not an issue of liking or disliking people. It's disliking that they promote certain people as having Klout - internally and externally - and there being little value for those brands. One of those is a person in LA, and 90% of the account is just RTs of other people and he follows more than follow him. How is that influential? Are they measuring NOISE as that is all it is. Having gone to 2 Klout events in LA, they were both empty with tons of tickets that were to be claimed by Klouters. How is that helping companies? It isn't - it's a way that they are taking advantage of companies to get them to pay into their system.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@hackmanj @Shonali @jspepper JOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! Miss ya buddy. None of us hate the Klout people. In fact we all really like them and give them credit because they jump in the fire faster than you can yell Fire in a Movie Theater or something like that.

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@GautamGhosh Heh, I remember you telling me that a while back. I'm guessing that you use keywords and/or hashtags that match with the search parameters...

Trackbacks

  1. […] people who can help you reach the masses isn’t easy, but technology can help. Traackr helps you locate top influencers in specific niches based on their reach, resonance, and relevance to your specific […]

  2. […] people who can help you reach the masses isn’t easy, but technology can help. Traackr helps you locate top influencers in specific niches based on their reach, resonance, and relevance to your specific […]

  3. […] people who can help you reach the masses isn’t easy, but technology can help. Traackr helps you locate top influencers in specific niches based on their reach, resonance, and relevance to your specific […]

  4. […] people who can help you reach the masses isn’t easy, but technology can help. Traackr helps you locate top influencers in specific niches based on their reach, resonance, and relevance to your specific […]

  5. [...] if you remember, we chatted with Pierre-Loic Assayag, the head honcho of Traackr (which service I absolutely love), on what influence is, how bloggers and PR pros can determine who the right influencers are when [...]

map