If you haven’t heard of digital influence, then you’re late to the party. Vendors such as Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex are tools that are used to measure your influence on the internet using certain algorithms to do so.
Brian Solis, Principle Analyst of the Altimeter Group released a report The Rise of Digital Influence which analyzes the technology that measures digital influence, and serves as a “How-To” guide for businesses when creating a digital influence strategy.
Do you believe it?
I believe that a leader’s (influencer) worth is not measured by the amount of followers that he or she has, but his or her ability to influence them. Hence: popularity ≠ influence.
Take my Klout score, a modest 55. For the last 30 days, my score has been on a steady decline (check out this trend line to prove it).
This is funny to me because, within the last 30 days, I thought that I was at my peak of interactivity within my networks. I engaged with thought leaders, curated content, and created connections between my followers.
Now, is this score indicative of my influence? Maybe, or maybe not. How can we trust it?
Now if we take a look at Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, are their scores indicative of their influence or rather their popularity?
A year ago, Matthew Creamer of AdAge wrote a post Your Followers are No Measure of Your Influence in which he took a look at Justin Bieber’s Klout score of 100 (at the time) and challenged its relevance.
At the end of the day, influence isn’t measured by how many followers you have (albeit he has 19.8 million followers), but by driving action that is measurable (retweets, likes, follows, etc.) which eventually leads to sales.
With that being said, it’s safe to agree on two things: 1) It is imperative for businesses to take a look at digital influence, although 2) It is hard to give digital influence a “score”.
What does this mean for businesses?
Solis recommends to not focus on the score, but rather, focus on engagement goals instead. It is the responsibility of the brand to pay attention to the relationships they create with their engagement efforts.
Now, should you believe in your score 100%?
Probably not, but Solis explains why it is useful.
At a minimum, these scores indicate the stature someone possesses within social networks and, in many cases, provides insight into the interests or topics that contribute to that standing. This stature is referred to as social capital, the networks of relationships among people in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.
Still, take notice of digital influence scores
Although I just argued that digital influence scores may not be truly indicative of one’s influence, Solis did explain that it does reveal ones stature when it comes to social networks.
This may be important to any employers who are looking to hire anyone whose duties may involve engaging in the space of social media.
As I mentioned above, and which has been said by many, true influence is measured by the ability to deliver change and drive a change in behavior, not by the amount of followers or fans one has.
Use this idea to connect with influencers to obtain business goals such as building brand awareness, shifting sentiment about your brand, or the holy grail, generating sales and leads.
Don’t focus on the score, rather, focus on engagement goals.
What are your thoughts on influence?