Posted by @petebray
You read that right. Social Authority now has an API. And it’s free. And you can grab a ton of data (i.e. you can query for data on up to 500,000 Twitter users per day). That’s a whole lot to be excited about!
What is Social Authority?
Social Authority is our transparent, business-focused metric that measures influential activity on Twitter. We introduced it a few weeks ago, and we love how it’s adding real value for our Followerwonk customers.
One of the biggest benefits of Social Authority is that it helps drive engagement tactics; namely, who is best going to ricochet your message around their network when you @mention them. Our score helps find those standout prospects to engage by analyzing your social graph, comparing your relationships with others, and tracking your new (and lost) followers.
Social Authority also augments content strategy. We’re upfront that our metric is based on retweets. At core, we’re measuring a person’s activity on Twitter (that is, the content they produce), rather than the person herself. This means that those with high Social Authority are producing content that gets noticed and retweeted. As such, finding those with high Social Authority in your industry (and looking carefully at their tweets) offers insight into what content works well for your audience.
Mashing it up
At Moz, we’re all about giving our customers data that they can use in creative ways for their specific purposes. And with Social Authority, it’s no different. We think that our score can be useful in all sorts of unique ways, and as a foundation for new metrics, too.
As I’ve mentioned before, the key in social often comes down to this little puzzle. Here’s a quick little example.
Namely, we need to find influential people who are likely to listen!
Finding these people is often tough. Folks who are influential, pretty obviously, have a lot of folks trying to get their attention. This means that it’s hard for you to break through with your message to them.
We’ve helped this situation in Followerwonk by computing an overall “engagement rate” for a lot of the top Twitter influencers. Quite simply, on mouse over of many users, we’ll tell you that user’s @mention rate (what percent of his timeline consists of leading @mentions of others), RT rate, and URLs in tweets rate. Those folks with 0% @mention rate… well, you’re not likely to get through to them.
How do you get around this issue? Well, here’s what I do.
I create a useful comparison between competitors. I bring up the list of followers shared by all three (because these folks are likely to be super attuned to my message). I download the data into Excel.
This download will include the Social Authority for all users, as well as the other engagement metrics for many users. What I like to do is the following:
Namely, I create a new column that is simply the sum of Social Authority and percentage @contact rate. This produces a score between 1 and 200. I like to do this because it’s a simple way to find users who have both high engagement and influence.
Of course, this is a simple example of how we use Social Authority. We’re eager to see what you come up!
But that means you need access to the data beyond just Followerwonk. Here’s where the API comes in.
Cue the API…
One of the early struggles we had at Followerwonk was the need for a large amount of influence data. We needed influence metrics on pretty much every user on Twitter! That data wasn’t easily available, and it’s one of the reasons why we developed our own metric.
With that in mind, we want to make this data available to all. For free. And generously.
Here’s how to get started with our API:
- Get your access credentials by clicking on the link in the top section of our Social Authority page.
- Read the docs on how to use the API.
- Do a simple test to get someone’s Social Authority. You can learn how here.
After that, you’re all set! You can do 20,000 calls per day day, requesting up to 25 users per call. That works out to a daily limit of 500,000 users. Hopefully that’s enough for all your needs (and if not, contact us and we can see what we can do).
Here are some areas you might consider as you start thinking how you’d use Social Authority:
- As a low-cost alternative (or complement) for any current use of other 1 to 100 scores like Klout or PeerIndex.
- As the foundation for other metrics that might use Social Authority as an input.
- As a supplement to any software that you develop that surfaces Twitter users in any capacity.
- As an Excel add-on with the ability to quickly grab scores for your own spreadsheets.
A quick example
I’ve written a little Chrome extension to give an example of how to use the API. You can download it and play around with our API. (As I said, it’s really rough!)
Once installed, you can mouse-over any Twitter name on any other Web page. Once you do, you’ll see a small hovercard that reveals their Social Authority. In the example below, I’m browsing the SEOmoz team page for our Help Team Leader, Aaron Wheeler:
Notice the little blue hovercard? It reveals Aaron’s Social Authority by making an API call behind-the-scenes.
This has immediate value. As you start to browse the Web, you can quickly get the Social Authority of any Twitter user mentioned on blogs, news articles, and so on. It’s a great way to opportunistically judge the value of any referenced Twitter user.
Of course, this is a very basic example. (And we invite you to fork that quick code to come up with something even better.)
We’re eager to see how you’ll use Social Authority, and we’d love to help you develop even more robust applications that make use of it. To share your feedback, please feel free to comment or to contact me directly (tweeting me @petebray is a good way) if you’d like any help or advice.
Please let us know where you integrate, and any other changes you’d like to see in the comments below. Cheers!
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