With the publication of our 2018 list, some things feel different. Influencer outreach and engagement strategies are of interest to more individual leaders and businesses, and yet, the idea of the influencer list has come under some criticism, largely among the influencers themselves.
We publish this list and update it annually because we believe it can be a valuable part of a digital engagement strategy. With that said, here is the 2018 Fintech Influencers to Follow list.
Below the list, you will find FAQs about influencer lists in general and how this list was compiled.
FAQs about Influencer Lists
If influencer lists are useful, why do some people dislike them?
The idea of the influencer list has come under attack over the past year and there are some reasons that might explain this.
Influencer lists are no longer a novel concept. As more lists have appeared, there has been a decrease in their quality, many published primarily as click bait. There are also more people referencing (and perhaps, in some cases, even overplaying) their ranking on influencer lists as a bona fide credential, while others question the legitimacy of the predominantly quantitative social networking criteria used for most of these lists.
All of this has led to some public criticisms of influencer lists, notably JP Nicols’ infographic and Ron Shevlin’s [Fintech Influencers Lists Have Jumped the Shark], to name but two, as well as many private Twitter DM conversations.
To be fair, neither Nicols nor Shevlin fundamentally disagree with the concept of influencer ranking. Rather, they argue that influence is hard to measure and people tend to make too much of appearing and ranking on lists – with which I generally agree.
However, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss influencer lists because of any of these arguments. I have written a previous defence of influencer lists and argued for why we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Can you do influencer outreach and engagement without a list of influencers?
No. If you want to systematically reach out to influencers, whether it’s to stay current on industry developments, promote your product or service, find a source for your media story or a speaker for your conference, you need a list to start from.
And that’s a critical point: influencer lists are starting points. They are the product of one person’s perspective or one analytic criterion. By listening to and engaging with an initial list of influencers, you can define who is most influential for your purposes and discover other influencers not found on the list.
What is influence and can it be measured quantitatively?
It goes without saying (yet, I’m saying it) that influence is a far more complex and nuanced concept than something that can be reduced to social media follower counts and engagement statistics. Many real-world influencers are not online, or not as active online as others. And to a degree, in some cases a significant one, online visibility is about “gaming the system” successfully.
To this, I say: “so what?” Influence is a highly subjective concept, whether it’s online or offline. Consensus may emerge within communities around the influence of certain individuals, but such consensus is never universal and always subject to change. While influence has a qualitative aspect, it almost always has a quantitative aspect as well, because a “consensus” implies that there are a good number of people in a community whose agreement confers influence on a person.
And this is a key point: Influence cannot be declared but must be conferred upon a person by others.
People who have cultivated good reputations with large online audiences have leveraged the online system to the benefit of their online visibility. They have attracted relatively larger numbers of followers or followers who themselves have large audiences, who read their content and share it with others. Their influence and reach are indeed focused online, and in some cases limited to the online sphere, but it’s still a form of influence.
Is ranking the most important aspect of an influencer list?
No. When influencer lists get published, every person on the list wants to see where they are ranked. While this is a natural, human response, it would be a mistake to conclude that ranking is the most important aspect of any list.
Ranking is highly subjective, taking into consideration a variety of quantitative measures that are weighted according to the author’s or analyst’s algorithm. Who’s really to say whether a person’s total number of Twitter followers is more or less important than who is following and paying attention to what that person says? Is it more valuable to have an audience of 50,000 Twitter users or to have an audience of 500 of the most influential of those Twitter users?
Influencer lists are collections of thought leaders with specific knowledge, a geographic home base and a unique set of interests. Depending on your objectives, some influencers on this (or any) list will be more important to you than others.
Plus, the value of any influencer list should be seen, not only in terms of the first-degree connections (who’s on the list) but the broader second-degree connections (who’s in the networks of the people on the list). Every person on this list is a node connecting you to their own network of connections and influencers.
A good influencer list is a starting point for discovery and engagement. It has the advantage of limiting the universe of possible people to whom you should be paying attention to the hundred or so that may be of greatest value.
How can influencer lists be helpful to you?
Good influencer lists have many benefits for many people. Here are some ways to use this list of Fintech Influencers to Follow in 2018:
- Anyone can follow these people on Twitter to stay on top of developments in fintech.
- Journalists and reporters can find experts for articles and news stories.
- Event planners can find potential speakers for events.
- Business leaders in fintech startups can network with other industry leaders.
- Marketers and public relations professionals can find industry experts that might be interested in knowing about their clients’ products and services.
- Influencers themselves can increase their visibility, reach and influence by being recognized on a list.
Why is influencer outreach and engagement such an important business strategy these days?
Influencer outreach and engagement is, in my opinion, the antidote to declining organic reach in social networks. Try sharing a post or publishing an article on LinkedIn or Facebook and see how many views you get this year – far less than a year or two ago.
Of course, you can do more paid promotion and advertising as a way to attract attention online – that’s precisely what the social networks want you to do. But, as powerful as paid media can be at the right time and in the right place, it is far better at winning clicks and eyeballs than hearts and minds. If you want engagement and influence, you need to work through the gatekeepers to your target audiences – the influencers.
Hence, the growing importance of influencer outreach and engagement as a necessary component of B2B digital strategies in recent years.
Methodology for creating this list
As in previous years, this list was developed using a commercially available social media analytics tool (Little Bird, now part of Sprinklr) which offers a powerful engine for crunching large volumes of social media data. The software compiles a list of online influencers that frequently communicate on topics related to “fintech” and then looks at the inter-relationships among these accounts. The software scores influencers in a variety of ways, however this list is based on the “insider rank” which compiles a large list of people actively engaged in online discussions of fintech and ranks accounts based on the most followed insider. Obviously, using a different scoring criterion would results in a different ranking.