We are mostly humble, or at least within our peer groups. Around the BBQ, and especially online, giving any heed to social media influence scores most often results in snorts of derision. ‘Who cares?’ – we say. ‘A Klout score really means nothing’ – we intone (surreptitiously logging in to check the latest numbers). Our clients don’t worry, so why should we? Speaking as a marketer, online, in social media, clients are beginning to care, so should we.
As Catherine Novak posted on Google+
Meh. I just merged my Klout accounts for @catherinenovak (long, well established reputation) and almost-brand-new @netscribe Cath, and it averaged out and changed me from a Thought Leader to a Socializer. I preferred being a Thought Leader. Oh well. AND the score I try not to care about just dropped 16 points. Trying hard to to care about this…. really.
Here is the problem. The internet has reached a majority of the population in most markets, and social media a majority of those online (in Canada especially), not only in terms of accounts, or profiles, but more importantly the rise in interaction. See a recent blog post on Canadian social media usage. Any company or organization that does not incorporate social media as an integral part of an advertising, and continual engagement, customer service campaign, is missing the majority of the population and most likely throwing good marketing dollars towards a quickly diminishing and inneffective print and TV advertising sector.
There are no Masters of Social Media programs at your local University; and at least in Canada (somebody prove me wrong) there is no credible organization which regulates companies, or individuals, self-declared as ‘social media experts’. Certainly there are for graphic designers, public relations and advertising, but a credible body which provides accreditation for social media marketers, based on an academic program, has yet to be created. Yet, this is the fastest growing area within PR and marketing, and open to both those who are effective due to experience, innovation and continual research, and those simply jumping on the bandwagon. It is the Wild West.
One measure: ‘Social Media Influence Scores’. There are a few, Klout.com taking the field. How do they work?
The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.
True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on those of your followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engaged audience is and is also on a scale from 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.
We believe that influence is the ability to drive people to action — “action” might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click. We perform significant testing to ensure that the average click-through rate on links shared is highly correlated with a person’s Klout Score. The 25+ variables used to generate scores for each of these categories are normalized across the whole data set and run through our analytics engine. After the first pass of analytics, we apply a specific weight to each data point. We then run the factors through our machine-learning analysis and calculate the final Klout Score. The final Klout Score is a representation of how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big of an impact their messages have on people.
That should be the measurement on how any marketer works with a client and the consumer. Especially true with both online (direct website interactions, ecommerce) and social media. The metrics are directly available, yet hiring a company, or consultant to handle social media engagement is often problematic. The issue for any business is understanding that engagement is not advertising – but can be more profitable – and that social media is the contemporary customer service model.
Anyone can create a Facebook page or Twitter account (and we wait for Google+ business profiles) – are they used effectively?. The fact social media profiles are open creates the confluence. A brand, company or organization is seeking influence across a wide ranging profile – so who should they choose to enhance potential? A company who cares about social media influence scores, or not? How many companies are seeking a Klout rating, and are willing to pay for that effort?
In choosing a marketing professional does Klout provide a metric? Yes – if PR and advertising firms do not pay attention to metric scoring then they are doing a disservice to themselves and clients.
I pay attention to Klout scores