A personal brand is truly an aggregated representation of online activity. Can you build a personal brand by interacting on only one social service? You can, but it’s incomplete. It’s impossible to gain a true picture of who you are simply by looking at your photos on Flickr, or just reading your blog.

In terms of measuring online influence, the stronger your personal brand, the more influence you have online. The most important component of online influence is trust. Trust is defined as creating a consistent expectation that a person will always act in your best interest when given information.

Expertise is another core component of influence. You can gain knowledge on a specific topic, but expertise is a title that can only be given by your loyal trusted followers. This does not happen overnight, you need to start building your network, listen and engage. It’s all about building your network.

Measuring influence
The most basic measurements in social media are:

  • Number of friends on Facebook
  • Your followers on Twitter
  • Your connections on LinkedIn

But you can “influence” these numbers if you want. You can invite everyone and follow everyone… but to my opinion it’s not the quanitity, but the quality that counts.

There are lots of tools out there for social media measurement. I will elaborate on a few free tools that I use.

Most famous is Klout
This tool uses its own algorithm to determine your influence. It’s not about he basic numbers. But rather about how you use the following you’ve amassed. And, more importantly, what your followers do or don’t do with your thoughts and ideas.

The second one you should sign up for is PeerIndex.
Similar to Klout, PeerIndex uses a proprietary method to determine what they call your social capital. Suggesting, of course, that all your hard work online actually is building value for you. Value that you can “spend” someday.

TweepsKey visualizes the importance of your Tweeps (followers in Twitter)
Still a Beta version, but it gives you a nice graph with coloured dots in which you can see who is important and who is just another follower. Look for the dots that are BIG and Green and on the rigth side! The bigger the circle, the more followers the tweep has. The more green the color, the better is the ratio followers/following.

TweetReach provides detailed metrics on the impact of Twitter conversations
It’s a dead simple way to measure how many accounts received your tweets, how far your message has traveled, and who is influencing the conversation about your brand or product.