Content marketing and social selling are all the rage lately. But in order to actually take those terms to heart and do them takes a lot of diligence and powerful tools. This review is for a new service, Little Bird, that is a search engine to find influencers. They start with the content and tie into the social graph (the stream of one individual as well as others in that topic area) to determine who you should listen to.
Little Bird  is the best tool I have found for finding experts on a particular topic. Sure, I can do a Twitter search, but that’s pretty limited and just brings up people who put the term in their bio or a recent tweet. But what if you want to find people with real expertise, with real influence? You could look at their Klout score, but that’s still slightly suspect, frankly. The only way I have found is Little Bird. You start by running reports on particular topics, as you see in the screenshot below, then you can drill down further.
This blog post by one of the Founders, Marshall Kirkpatrick, is an excellent overview of why you’d want to try it out: I Found the Leaders in My Field, Now What? 
In a nutshell, Little Bird can help you:
- Find new leaders to follow.
- Create an influencer engagement game plan.
- Discover your freshest connections.
- Find top people to reach out to by Twitter Direct Message.
- Research someone else’s connections.
You can see below some of the topic experts Little Bird found for me on Customer Satisfaction. These are a few of the people who are Most Followed:
What I Really Like:
- You can discover influencer connections on multiple social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and more.)
- Cool visualizations to explore topical communities (I couldn’t do this on my own, with my trial plan, but Marshall walked me through a detailed demo).
- See how you compare with a topic of interest. For example, I wanted to see how well I am engaging in the customer satisfaction space for my new site: Satisfaction Scale . I found that I still have a long way to go as you can see below.
Then I asked Little Bird to compare me to this topic of Customer Satisfaction with its 72 experts. It found that I was not following as many as I would have hoped. But, the great thing is — it helps me to engage with those people. Not in this case, but some of them might be prospects or good people to blog about or whatever reason you have for finding experts.
What I Would Like to See:
- When you do the compare function and it brings up the experts you are following and not following, it would be great to hover over the profile photo and simply add the person to your Twitter following. As it works right now, nothing happens on hover, but it does take you to the Twitter site which is a slow way to follow new people. You can see the people in other function areas by hovering, but still it takes you offsite.
Overall, if you are in the marketing, sales or communication space, Little Bird is an invaluable tool. There’s a 7-day free trial, after you get into the private beta, then it is $50/month for an individual plan and $250/month for a small business plan.