Revisiting the question of online influence
|02/01/2013||Posted by Chris Lee under Social media marketing|
I have acute déjà vu. I have just read about a firm targeting solely social media users with Klout scores of 60 and above as potential investors. This raises the whole question of social media and online influence once again, so I think it’s time I revisited it on this blog.
I last ranted posted about Klout, PeerIndex et al in early 2011 after meeting social media writer Brian Solis and articulated my scepticism of online influence scores as reflecting reality, especially given the credence that many employers were putting on such markers at interview. I was immediately shot down in a post by a keen advocate of PeerIndex (citing a tweet of mine) that people only seem to oppose social media influence scores if theirs is not particularly high – i.e. sour grapes. This is not the case and I’ll give you a case in point as to why.
Social media influence in perspective
When I went back agency-side for a year to co-lead the worldwide roll-out of a global blue chip electronics company’s social media engagement platform my Klout score was more than 50 in the old algorithm, which was then a good score. Now 60 is apparently the equivalent benchmark.
After a year of extremely busy work not just working on agency clients and new business worldwide but also the UK side, I did not tweet as often as previously and my personal blogging dried up. My Klout score was just 33 by the time I returned to freelance content marketing in May 2012. In one metric’s eyes I was therefore not ‘influential’ online.
But wait! During that busy time when my Klout score was falling and I was working agency-side – in the real world beyond my personal Twittersphere – thousands of people worldwide were watching the videos the team had created, were liking the Facebook page, reading our posts, enjoying the apps. I was a cog in this content machine but was part of creating genuine online influence on perception and behaviour, not just gaining a number according to an algorithm because I tweeted a lot about football or something similarly irrelevant to my day job. These elements cannot be factored into online influence metrics, which rely on a user’s personal Twitter or Facebook activity.
Social media influence metrics do have some value
I’m not totally dissing social media influence metrics, they do have some value as part of the wider perspective and context, but employers should not look at a score and dismiss that individual out of hand. Had I applied for an agency job (rather than return to freelancing) with a Klout score of 33 and come across someone who deemed that a major factor in the selection process, another candidate with potentially less experience could have got the job based purely on an algorithm made by a machine, which itself can be influenced, of course.
In short, as with everything, look at the bigger picture when gauging online influence. Here’s another related post on how to measure online influence.
What do you think about online influence measurement? What should we be looking out for in 2013?