Is Klout Inversely Related to Real Influence?

Getting serious about social media

A few months ago, PropelGrowth got more serious about how we were using Twitter. We committed to tweeting daily, we set up a strategy for what to tweet, how often, and how to engage. As we worked on it, we found our Klout scores slowly rising.

Klout became my virtual report card

While I’ve never been convinced that Klout is actually worth watching, I found myself checking it daily, as if it were a report card on my social efforts. During the month of August and the first week of September, my score gradually rose to a 47. Not much compared to some of you influencers out there, but a nice jump from where I started.

As live interactions and influence increased, Klout decreased

But then I started getting really busy. I traveled to speak at a conference in Chicago and to meet with clients in Connecticut, I’m involved in planning several capital markets industry events, which is taking a lot of phone and meeting time. We’ve got quite a bit of new business demand, requiring me to spend more time working with clients to devise their strategy, prepare proposals, develop thought leadership programs, refine messaging, plan events, and oversee content development.

So as my in-person influence increased, my Twitter activity naturally took a hit. The week I went to Chicago, where I was having a lot of real influence, my Klout score fell 12 points.

A social media mistake

Then I read an interesting blog post on the {Grow} blog about a big social media mistake. As I considered the points Stanford made in his blog post, I thought about the fact that most of my Twitter following is made up of social media, marketing, and sales training people. Not my target market. No offense intended to these wonderful people, but my business depends upon my influence with a Capital Markets audience.

Is Klout inversely related to real influence?

My goal is to communicate with the thought leaders in financial technology companies, broker-dealers, exchanges, asset managers and the like. These people are connected to me on LinkedIn and through professional organizations and client relationships, but most of them are not following me on Twitter. So I ask you, could Klout actually be a scorecard of how much I’m NOT influencing my target market? If my Klout score is going up, is it because I’m interacting a great deal on Twitter, but not spending enough time on the phone or in meetings with clients and prospects where I have the greatest influence? So as my Klout score goes up, is my real influence declining?

What say you?

Are you a big believer in Klout? Do you agree or disagree with my premise?

Knowledge Communities and How to Use Them

On Thursday, August 18 at 4:00 ET, join PropelGrowth as we host Greg Crawford of the TabbFORUM, Scott Albro of Focus.com, and Dan Hubscher of Progress Software to talk about online knowledge communities and how firms can take advantage of these professional social media communities to establish team members as trusted advisers, stay abreast of technologies and trends, learn, connect with industry peers, and drive awareness and demand.

Industry-specific knowledge communities are a great place to share thought leadership, engage with other capital markets industry participants, establish your team as trusted advisers, and build awareness in your target market. At PropelGrowth, we use TabbFORUM extensively, and both PropelGrowth and our clients have benefited. So I’ve asked Greg Crawford to join us and talk about the purpose of TabbFORUM and how companies are using it. I’ve also asked Dan Hubscher from Progress Software to join us. Dan is the industry marketing manager for Capital Markets at Progress, and he’ll talk about how he uses communities like this to promote Progress.

Focus.com is a non-industry-specific expert community that has grown very quickly. They now have over 750,000 members and 5,000 experts covering a variety of topics. They have a very interesting business model of helping experts gain visibility by sharing their expertise for free for the benefit of the Focus membership. Scott Albro, the CEO and founder of Focus will join our panel to talk about how Focus was started and use cases for how firms use this channel. I’ve been participating in this social network for a while, and am listed as a Focus Expert on inbound marketing and content marketing.

In this 45 minute round-table discussion, we will talk about the purpose for these knowledge communities, how companies and individuals engage to share knowledge and expertise, and how marketers can take advantage of these specialized social networks to promote thought leadership. The discussion will cover the following areas:

  1. How the communities build membership
  2. The types of content, members, and engagement each community attracts
  3. Use cases for how companies have benefited from the communities
  4. The types of content that attracts the most readership and engagement
  5. How Dan and Candyce use the communities to promote their businesses

As a member of the audience, you’ll have a chance to listen into an unscripted conversation amongst the four participants and come away with ideas for how you can use these communities.

Click here for the dial-in information. No registration is necessary.  http://landing.propelgrowth.com/KnowledgeCommunities.html

We’ll record the event and post a link to the recording a few days after the live event. So bookmark the address to come back and get the recording if you want to listen later.

Using Social Media to Find New Clients

I recently came across a series of posts at the InvestmentPal Blog that have some compelling statistics.

InvestmentPal cites a HubSpot survey which found that financial services companies using social media were most likely to acquire customers through LinkedIn and their blog, with Twitter placing third and Facebook a distant fourth. Other interesting stats from that HubSpot survey include:

Companies who have acquired customers from their blog:

  • 47% of all companies blogging
  • 72% of companies that blog at least once a week

Financial services companies who have acquired customers through social media channels:

  • LinkedIn: 61%
  • Twitter: 40%
  • Facebook: 35%

The results are compelling. But what they don’t discuss is the strategies and techniques that these companies employ. Remember, social media is merely a communication vehicle, not a strategy in itself. Giving social media the credit for winning business is sort of like giving the telephone credit. It’s not the technology, it’s the content that wins business.

I’d love to see a survey that drills into the content strategies of these firms to determine what works and what does not. For example, we often see companies use Twitter, LinkedIn or their blogs to broadcast general company information like press releases without providing any educational content. Then, when their broadcast strategy doesn’t deliver results, they claim that social media doesn’t work. Companies who strictly deliver promotional material on their blog will see much poorer results than companies who share helpful educational content targeted to their specific audience.