“I want 1,000 Facebook fans by December.”
This is what a potential client said to me a few weeks ago when I was exploring the possibility of a contract there. This statement immediately signaled to me that this company and its founder had no clue about social media. A raw number of fans is completely meaningless. What matters is the information behind the numbers. What matters is engagement because ultimately engagement drives success in every sense of a business, from awareness to sales to partnerships to talent recruitment.
Over the weekend I flipped through the thorough, thoughtful and intelligent new book "Klout Matters: How to Engage Customers, Boost Your Digital Influence – and Raise Your Klout Score for Success" by digital marketing masters Gina Carr and Terry Brock. Klout is the best indicator we have for measuring social media influence and effectiveness. It is a complex algorithm that is well worth the time and effort it takes to understand how it’s calculated. Think of it as the social media equivalent of a FICO score.
In less than 200 pages, Carr and Brock walk readers through the algorithm while providing advice, actionable strategies and complementary tools for evaluating and impacting Klout scores. They also reveal fascinating tidbits about measuring social media influence.
An increasing number of employers check a potential employee’s Klout score to see how effectively they engage, influence and rally their followers – an important skill for business people today, especially marketers. Companies are still focused on ROI, but in the case of social the “I” stands for a specific kind of investment – influence.
It’s not enough to just be in the social media game with an account. It is something that must be managed, just like a budget or a product strategy. It takes time, effort, and thoughtfulness. So what’s the best way to make the most of social media? The same thing that’s best for building your offline network: be genuine, authentic, helpful, active, passionate and unique. Klout is less “look at me” and more “look at what we can do together.”
Two key ways Klout helps brands:
1.) Public measurement, rating and judgment is a way of life and now it's democratic.
One less-than-flattering social media message can ignite a firestorm. Businesses don’t have a choice anymore about whether or not to engage on social media. Customers, employers and competitors are there. They’re already judging you; they always have been. Now, their judgments are public so you need to pay extra attention to what they’re saying about you and about themselves. It’s a phenomenal and inexpensive research tool.
2.) Find your influential pack.
Brock points out that, “Many brands have found their money is much better spent in working with key influencers rather than trying to blast a message to a mass market.” That awful spray and pray mentality – ineffective, expensive, and wasteful – is a thing of the past. You don’t need to reach all of your potential customers. You need to reach all of the people who influence all of your potential customers. It’s similar to the idea that you don’t need to know everyone, but it really helps to know a handful of people really well who know a lot of people. That’s what Klout Influencers can do for your brand.
Klout is not just some additional metric that clutters or burdens your business analytics. When understood and used effectively through careful and thoughtful management, it is a partner in your overall business strategy and execution plans. Carr and Brock are your guides along this path and they help you delve deeply into the meaning behind social media metrics. Information (not just data) is power, and that philosophy holds true in the world of social media, too.
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