Tela attended a seminar last week entitled ROI (return on influence). The speaker was Mark Schaefer, a globally recognised speaker, consultant and author. We recommend checking out his blog which is billed as one of the AdAge Top 100 marketing blogs of the world.

Mark’s talk focused on the power of social media and the extent to which ‘normal’ social media users can become power influencers, which makes them attractive prospects to brands who use them as routes to market.

Recent studies show that social recommendations are many times more likely to turn into a conversion when compared to traditional online advertising methods. With this in mind, some well known companies are now buttering up these power influencers in order to gain positive reviews and a buzz around their products and services. With top influencers creating on average more than 30 pieces of positive content in response to a single post, it’s hardly surprising!

The talk was focused around Klout, a tool for measuring influence based on your ability to drive action through your social networks. Every time you create content or engage with someone online, you directly or indirectly influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure how many people you influence, how much you influence them and the over all influence of your network.

By engaging with more people online and creating and sharing more content, the higher your Klout score will become. Anyone with a score of 50+ is ranked in the top 5% of online influencers.

A new development in the world of social media was that CRM systems such as SalesForce are now integrated with Klout, so companies who hold your details are now able to rank you alongside your peers when interacting with you. Imagine two people have made a complaint about a company via Twitter. The first person has a Klout score of 5, the second has a Klout score of 50. Which one is the company going to respond to first?

There have been more instances recently of social media agencies advising large clients to “do nothing” in response to negative posts being distributed online. Using tools like Klout, it is now possible to gage the influence (and subsequently the potential damage) of a series of negative posts which could have less of a reach and impact than, for example, a press conference by the company clarifying their position on the subject.

The press conference would have more potential to draw attention to the situation and influence than a series of people distributing the content with low levels of influence.

Mark has also contributed an interesting quick fire list of points to a Mashabe article ( which sums up quite nicely how to increase your Klout score, and while doing so, your social influence:

  1. Build a network. The key to increasing a Klout score is similar to finding success on the social web in general: Build a targeted, engaged network of people who would be legitimately interested in you and your content.
  2. Create meaningful content. Adopt a strategy to create or aggregate meaningful content that your network loves to share with others. Provide links!
  3. Engage. Actively engage with others in a helpful and authentic way. Ask questions, answer questions and create a dialogue with your followers.
  4. Don’t scheme. Any gaming behaviors that fall outside the basic strategies will eventually catch up to you. For example, specifically targeting conversations with high Klout influencers will probably be more annoying than successful. If you keep focused on your network strategy and your content strategy, you’ll succeed.
  5. Interact with everyone. Don’t be afraid to interact with Klout users with lower scores – it won’t hurt your own score. In fact, it helps build their score and in turn makes you more of an influencer.
  6. Keep at it. Don’t be discouraged by your score. It’s more important to just enjoy your social media experience and let the chips fall where they may.

With content creation and author influence ranked as an ever increasingly important factor in Googles search algorithm, it is very likely that the links (link backs) including the influence of the original authors and those distributing the content will become an ever increasingly important tool in the SEO race.

So, we’re off to start working on upping our Klout scores to above 50. We reckon that anyone with this much online ‘klout’ soon be raking in the cash as the big money corporate SEO budgets inevitably come calling!


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