Lost in Online Influence

13 Oct

Online InfluenceHow influential are you? Do you know your Klout score? The standard measurement of your overall online influence.

Klout score is a social media tool that measures your influence across the Web by tracking over 35 variables on your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Influence is defined as the ability to drive people to action. This action might be defined as a reply, a retweet or clicking on a link.

Is this a valuable metric? Does it mean anything?

Many people use their score to measure their personal progress, to confirm if they are reaching at the right audience with their business account. We even heard about HR managers and recruiters who evaluate candidates according to this metric. Others brag about it and get obsessed by becoming the next social celebrity. On the other side, companies are looking for influencers to make them ambassadors of their brand. At the end, it all comes down to: better the score, better are your chances of being found, being followed, having readers and being rewarded in the search rankings.

I confess, after Social Media Camp Victoria, many campers including me become obsessed with the Klout score. I refreshed my score 4 times this afternoon even if I know I can only do it once a week. What I am trying to accomplish? I know the data processing is solid. Is it a popularity contest? No. I think I am just having a hard time limiting the relevance of my opinions and the extent of my online engagement to a number from 1 to 100! Influence to me goes beyond an online action from Facebook or Twitter, it is the ability to change someone else’s attitude, opinion or behavior online and offline.

Ok, confession number 2, I want to be able to create, define and control my own digital profile. We live in a new context where we can be fairly or unfairly judged by what is online about us. I want to be able to mirror my “public me” with my “digital me” or at least be solely responsible of my own online reputation and influence. This score evaluates my influence in two social networks while I am part of many others and what about blogging that helps me share my opinions about different topics and let me respond, advice or influence my network.

Klout score is an interesting metric to be used as a conversation starter and to be added to the overall goal to build a stronger online influence. But as a marketer, I will need to look at other variables to capture and understand the context.

The true measure of our influence goes beyond a score or a badge, it is a combination of trust, experience, authenticity and offline happenings.

What is your klout score? How are you planning to use this information?


5 Responses to “Lost in Online Influence”

  1. Janis La Couvée October 13, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Good points. If I have a high Klout score but don’t use my influence to better my offline community, what have I accomplished?

    There are many measures of influence – even in a social media world.

    I wonder about the nascent trend towards rewarding people with high Klout scores with special “deals” or offers. Is it true that they will more adequately reflect a company’s brand than the many loyal existing customers?

  2. janicemansfield October 13, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Good post Asmaa! As someone who has been irked by the Klout metrics and the (sometimes) mania surrounding Klout scores, I’ve been looking around for alternative metrics that more fully capture the scope of all the places I interact with people online, including my blogs.

    Of course no one score is perfect, and my other source of skepticim is that some of the metrics that are easier to understand, are also easier to “game” i.e. you can achieve a higher klout score through actions that don’t necessarily reflect the authentic you.

    I’ll just leave you with a recent example of how Klout may not be the be-all and end-all. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to ShesConnected next week — due in part to my activity on Twitter, BUT also due in large part to the fact that I have a blog.

  3. JUHLi SELBy October 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Great post! It’s a fascinating subject. I agree with your conclusion that Klout is an imperfect metric, a good conversation starter, and one small part of a person’s overall online presence/contribution.

    I loved a quote from Julien Smith from his presentation at SM Camp regarding companies offering perks to those with high Klout scores:

    “[Preferential treatment] has always been happening. It’s just measurable now. People are just uneasy with it.”

  4. asmaamethqal October 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    >> Janis: You are right. Even if it is an interesting metric, I believe that with “great score comes great responsibility”. If you are considered an influencer from Klout or any social media metrics marketplace, you should use this “power” for social good and influence your community online and offline.

    In the other side, companies can access this amazing pool of influencers through these websites to ask them to become ambassadors of their brand since studies shows that they can drive a great deal of traffic and interest to their brand, but they definitely shouldn’t forget about the listeners who represent a great part of their customers.

    >> Janice: It is true that a simple “action” such as a reply or retweet could be achieved easily depending on which topic you are tweeting about. We should encourage conversation around consistently valuable topics for us. Be and stay authentic.

    Congratulations on ShesConnected at Toronto! You’ve just shown that blogging, as part of your social media strategy in different networks, made you build a stronger online influence. Way to go Janice!

    >> Juhli: Who said it would be easy to be a Star? :o) Preferential treatment always existed, it is just more obvious now and any celebrity or influencer could access it.

    I do agree with Megan Berry when she said that it’s not because companies offer preferential treatment to influencers that they will automatically start saying good things about the service. The influencers, for their sake, have the “great responsibility” to stay authentic to what they believe in.

  5. sproutsocialdon October 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Hi Asmaa!

    I noticed that there was a buzz around Klout at/after Social Media camp too.

    In fact, I refreshed my Klout after smcv10 too.

    There used to be a term called the digital divide that referred to those who did not have access to technology being at a disadvantage economically to those who have access…

    With the ubiquity of computers and broadband Internet, it seems like connectivity is no longer the dividing point – it’s INFLUENCE.

    And just like popularity in high school, oddly enough, it seems the more you seek it, the less you’re likely to get it…

    For thousands of years of human evolution, we had only to be concerned about meeting our basic needs. Now “influence” seems to have trumped all of those needs – at least in the West.

    At times like these, an old Chinese saying always seems to come to mind

    “May you live in interesting times…”

    – Don

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