Influential Potential


By Jill Ruthenberg

Twitter Twitter Twitter.

Does it make a difference? Yes, you have a lot of followers, but does that mean you have influence?

According to a recent study by HP Labs, “The correlation between popularity and influence is weaker than it might be expected” (which we half expected). So how do you know if you’re actually being listened to and what you’ve been saying is being acted on?

Last week as part of our Ever Wondered About series, we introduced you to Klout.  Klout is mostly known for providing a score out of 100 to represent a Twitter user’s online influence.  But we think this free online tool has an even more important use beyond numbers – take a look at how it calculates the numbers and you can deep-dive into detailed analysis of your influence, including classification of what type of Twitterer you are. We think this is where the true value lies.

How does it work? Megan Berry, marketing manager at Klout, explains: “We look at the types of messages they tend to send out (links or not, conversations or not, etc.), their activity level, how much engagement they have for every message and in general, who interacts and engages with them and other factors to determine their influence style.”

Their Influence Matrix is separated into 16 different categories: in one corner there are the Activists, Specialists, Networkers and Socialisers. In the opposite lies the Curators, Feeders, Broadcasters and Syndicators. There are the Dabblers, Explorers, Conversationalists and the Observers and then you have your Celebrities, Taste Makers, Thought Leaders, and Pundits.

While all styles have their merits, it’s worth considering styles are most appropriate for you and your business and building this aspiration into your engagement planning. Have you established the voice that your brand deserves? For example:

Are you pushing your own cause (as an Activist would) when you could be sharing the best content on the web with a wide audience (as a Curator)?

Are you sharing what’s trending (Syndicator) without commenting or analyzing when your followers might want to hear your what you have to say about them (Thought Leader)?

The best thing about Klout is that it provides a framework from which to identify where you are and what you want to move towards.

So ask yourself: What sort of influence am I establishing for my brand? Why would somebody want to follow me? What sort of effect do I want to have on my followers? And set out towards that goal.

I asked Megan: How do you make the change? Her advice (with added clout): “The best way… is to find an example of someone you’d like to be more like and see what differences there are. Look not just at what they’re tweeting or sharing but at what their audience is doing.” Here are some examples Megan prepared earlier – well worth a look.

The final word from Megan Berry: “We believe everyone who creates content online has influence and we want to understand and measure that influence everywhere. We will be integrating Facebook soon and also looking to move to other platforms such as LinkedIn, Buzz, and MySpace.”

So keep an eye out for more tools from Klout.  And take a minute to step back and ensure that you really are achieving what you wanted.  If not, all is not lost. Klout is one tool that can really help you to analyse, focus and set direction.

Jill Ruthenberg is Communications Specialist for Wisdom London, and can’t decide if she wants to be a Syndicator or a Thought Leader…

Follow Jill on Twitter

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