I’ve consulted with dozens of small business owners and, without fail, they’ve all had the same frustration when it came to social media: “How do I know if it’s working?”

The answer is equally frustrating for marketers because we appreciate that social media is a delicacy that needs cultivating. But we also know better than to jump off a cliff in blind hope. There has to be a better way. And there is.

To match the rise of social media and to meet the growing needs of business, more and more companies are forming to offer a platform where we can gather some intelligence on the effectiveness of our social media campaigns. Our top two contenders are Klout and PeerIndex.<


Still in beta testing, Klout measures your social media return on investment by gauging (a) your reach (how many people you influence); (b) your amplification (how much you influence them); and (c) your network ranking/score (how influential your pool is). In this way, Klout not only tests quantity, but also finely tunes into quality as well. After all, what difference does it make if you have a million hits, thousands of followers and tens of thousands of likes if most of that pool is made up of “junk” contacts?

From these three quotients, Klout configures an “influence” score based on a 1 – 100 system, with 100 being most influential.

A low Klout score means you’re not using social media to your advantage. If, on the other hand, you do have a competitive score, it’s a major selling point! People would rather do business with the most high ranking professionals, and Klout can help either bring you back to reality and show you that there’s still a lot of work to do, or without question hail you as the cream of the crop. Note that the average score is 20, and anything below that should send you back to the marketing drawing board.

Whether you sign in with Twitter or Facebook, Klout computes your score within seconds. It also tells you what key words you’re most influential for. The wow factor includes a revealing insight into how many followers you have versus a data tracking graph that relays your true reach and how many movers and shakers are tuning into you. The downside is that it doesn’t really rate you clearly for terms. It offered me two keywords I was supposedly influential for, which I knew were incorrect. Perhaps those were computed more precisely, or they were most popular – nonetheless, I should not have had to guess on this.<


PeerIndex is similar to Klout in that it also measures your social influence. However, it’s not as user-friendly. PeerIndex doesn’t readily explain what you’re looking at and why, or what your ranking means. The system is also less than appealing to the eye. After signing in with Twitter, a quick ranking pops up (31), followed by spam-like attempts to have me sign up to keep updated with their company. No thanks.

I had to go back and click on my public profile to get at the ranking breakdown. Rather than a bar graph, PeerIndex offers a color coded Venn Diagram, which I actually preferred. If you’re visually inclined, you’ll prefer this system. PeerIndex also gives you a shooting target type graph encircled by topics, and lets you know in which category you have the most influence over a select span of time, like four months.

Whereas Klout popped up two keywords that I showed influence for, PeerIndex gave me subcategories in a very neatly engaged graph. The graph also further breaks down your influence here, showing how well you’re doing in terms of topic resonance. Despite PeerIndex’s atrocious site design, the analytics continue to exceed expectations when compared to Klout. PeerIndex sums up the report with a display of what news sources you’re more frequently mentioned in – which is great for any marketing department that has wisely teamed up with PR.

PeerIndex really gains ground though when it comes to keeping tabs on your competition. You should be using their search bar to see who’s got leverage on major key terms, and also run an analysis on your competition to see how they’re stacking up against you. The same can be done with a host of other queries, including sources, locations, topics, etc.

However, if you’re looking for more targeted accountability on whether your online marketing efforts are performing, you should be religiously using and tracking results on Google Analytics.<