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Little Bird has released the next generation of its social discovery platform, complete with features aimed at helping you better find and engage influencers. The goal of the updated app is to encourage users to seek out industry experts and thought leaders and establish long-term relationships, rather than simply targeting them right before a product launch.

Founded by former ReadWriteWeb coeditor Marshall Kirkpatrick, Little Bird was started four years ago as a way to uncover true influencers — no, not social-media celebrities — those who are really smart in their respective fields. Today, the company has over 200 customers, mainly across agencies and the enterprise.

One of the issues that Kirkpatrick and his team discovered was that not everyone uses the service the same way. Most just want to know who they should be following, while a smaller percentage are looking to become power users. Little Bird’s latest version should address these various needs, thanks to the introduction of several new features.

Deeper insights

Version 2.0 offers deeper insights, meaning you can now explore connections between two different lists of people or sets of criteria. The overlapping points are called network intersections, and Little Bird can refine a list of names based on multiple characteristics, like displaying those marketers that are influential in the wearables space, or tech journalists who are knowledgeable about virtual reality.

More ways to find people who matter

Little Bird has also improved its social listening capabilities, meaning that you’re no longer limited to typing in a general topic to generate searches. The new system enables queries to be made based on the last 2,000 people (the limit set by Twitter’s API) who have mentioned a specific hashtag, username, and/or keyword. You can then filter results further based on the individuals’ sub-community and content they’ve shared.

You can also search inside people’s bios, as well as looking across multiple social networks to see who is active on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and more. If you have a list of Twitter usernames in a CSV file, that can be uploaded into Little Bird. Kirkpatrick said that social listening data from platforms like Sysomos, Radian6, and Brandwatch are also officially supported. “Combining keyword listening and social graph analysis is uniquely powerful for the discovery of people with true contextual influence,” he said.

Search speed has also been greatly improved, and results are now provided in response to near real-time data. Most of Little Bird’s competitors still experience a 24-hour delay when surfacing results, but searches on Little Bird are practically instantaneous.

Introducing daily emails

As for the non-power users, or those who may not know where to begin, Little Bird offers an email digest sent every morning with links to the most important people and conversations you should be engaging with. Think of it as something akin to Nuzzel, but featuring people who are experts around a specific topic.

“The influencer marketing world is maturing, and this new version of Little Bird is the most powerful, most easy to use, smartest startup in the market,” claims Kirkpatrick. “We learned what to build by working with some of the biggest, smartest companies in the world, and now we’re excited to make these new capabilities available to all our customers.”

In the company’s first four years, it has been about helping businesses understand the role of influencer marketing, which more are probably starting to pay attention to, following the acquisition of Klout by Lithium Technologies and Brandwatch’s purchase of PeerIndex. The next phase of Little Bird’s journey is to provide its customers with the insights to easily form relationships with the right people.

As for what the future holds, Kirkpatrick said that the company is open to chatting with third-parties, such as social listening services, sales and CRM platforms, and others. He also suggested that a partnership API could go live next quarter, at which point we’ll begin seeing the first integrations.

Little Bird 2.0 comes just over a month after the company closed its latest round of funding, which brought in $2 million from the Launch Fund and existing investors. Since then, Kirkpatrick has taken on a different role in the company, stepping down as CEO to focus on his role as an evangelist.

The latest version of Little Bird is available now.

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