In the overly complex world of social media and marketing, simple answers are often alluring. Look no further than a search for “the best time to post on XYZ network” and you’ll find tens of thousands of contradictory posts. Quite frankly, in a sea of social media noise, we’re often after quick, simple answers that don’t exist. Both Kred and Klout offer simple social influence answers that I recommend you take with a grain of salt.
If you’re not familiar with either platform, they’re essentially analysis tools that aggregate your social media presence and assign you a social influence score. They both have their pros and cons, but I don’t want to get into that today. In fact, I don’t want to get into platform bashing at all as I like what they’ve both brought to the table. What I want to emphasize is that social influence is so complex that your effort would be better spent doing the things that actually make you more influential to the people that matter to you than worrying about a score. Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist for PR firm Weber Shandwick put it perfectly:
“The idea of measuring social influence and reputation through a single recognizable data point is extremely alluring to brands [and individuals] who want to source [or measure their] online influence. To truly understand reputation, however, you need to look at the composite of online and offline influence, perceptions and cues. Klout and Kred scores are one step in understanding social and reputational influence but we have not yet arrived at the perfect solution just yet.”
Truth be told, the measure of your social influence is entirely dictated by you and your goals. Let’s look at Justin Bieber and Warren Buffet to make my point. Bieber is rocking out a 93 on Klout at the moment and Buffett has an 86. Does that mean that Bieber would be more influential to someone looking for financial advice than Buffett? Hell no! Do you think either party is trying to influence the other’s follower base? Of course not! The goals they have set for themselves are so divergent. Bieber is selling anything he can with his face on it and Buffett is selling his investing prowess.
Now, you might say, “Well, Bieber and Buffett are famous and they both have massive followings, that isn’t comparable to my circumstance at all.” However, you would be mistaken. What this comparison highlights is that a high score and large audience don’t matter if they don’t align with your goals. Let’s use a real-world, non-celebrity example to illustrate. If you’re a mechanic with a small audience of local customers, and you only post when you have a sale on oil changes, your influencer score is probably very low. But, if your social goal is to drum up business every time you post and you do exactly that, who cares? You’re achieving your goals by using your social influence where it matters.
So if your goal is to have a high Kred and/ or Klout score, by all means, get out there and do whatever it takes to improve that score. Though, I would guess that your goal probably isn’t to overtake Bieber on the Klout ladder. You’re probably looking to establish yourself as an influencer or get more involved in social selling. Regardless, the best path to achieving either goal is to consistently develop and curate highly relevant content for the audience you want to influence and to actively engage with that demographic on whatever social network they’re on. Period.