In 2012 you’ve likely heard me talk about thought leadership and digital eminence, both of which are components of influence. You’ve also heard me talk about Klout before, and how I didn’t think it was up to the job as a tool for influence measurement, but that it was the least objectionable tool out there at present. Because I’m a skeptic when it comes to Klout, but believe there is potential there, I’ve been keeping up with their changes and shifts in strategy if only to be able to say “no, we still can’t really rely on this yet”.
That’s how I came to watch when Brian Solis shared this interview he held with Klout founder and CEO Joe Fernandez in which they discuss the future of Klout and influence measurement.
Some of the key points highlighted:
- Klout as democratizing influence. Everyone with access to a smart-phone now has a voice and can become influential at scale.
- Be more mindful of what we create and the impact we have.
- Responsibility to cultivate good behaviour, to elevate level of conversation
- Klout as tool to grow social media maturity
- Klout as a tool to help you be more effective in social
- Move into the real world. Balancing online and offline life to contribute to the overall score.
- Increasing the power to the influencer, shows how powerful their content is
- Evolving into a more robust picture of influence.
- Vision for the future of influence: every interaction of brand to person is the story of the brand. Influence will only grow in importance and building a relationship with influencers will be critical.
In my comment on Brian Solis’ share on GooglePlus, I noted:
“…at best Klout is an indicator of activity that hopefully shows deeper levels of conversation and interaction. The difficulties with Klout come when people become so metric focused and begin to only do the simple things akin to gaming the system to keep their number high, rather than looking at the long game and actual goals surrounding their online presence.. Only using Klout as that indicator and not a direct measure is how I am able to use it currently, and how I continue to see it in the near future.”
I’ll be honest with you and myself here: I initially missed the point of his interview and what Joe was saying when I commented on Brian’s share. Only after replaying it a few times as I was working on this post did it really sink in. The point is that Klout is intended by its founder and CEO to be a tool to guide both brands and influencers to build better, more effective relationships, not to be a metric to tell you how good you are.
I think I’ll be able to start accepting this new-found view of the tool if the user base (both individuals and brands) also begin using the tool to this end rather than basing business decisions on it as a metric. In either case, and regardless of which tool you use, the coming year is indeed shaping up to look like the “Year of Influence“, where your level of influence is going to dramatically increase in importance for your professional life. We can’t ignore it, but we also can’t blindly accept that what we have presently to measure is the best we are going to get. And that is why Joe’s interview is beginning to turn me: he gets this, he knows he hasn’t solved the problem. So, I am going to be watching Klout next year, even more intently than I have in the past, to see where their changes take them. I’ll be looking to see how much of the gap they can close to get us all closer to a usable and trustworthy tool intent on helping guide us in building those all important influencer relationships. After all, relationships are the key component to being a social business.