Thursday, May 3, 2012

Online Influence? Bah I Choose Real Life

Yesterday we had a discussion going about Klout on Shift Digital's Blog. I have written extensively about Klout here in the past. But I want to look at the bigger picture of influence. Some people like my friend Jason Konopinsky think Klout has a slick algorithm but that since it can be gamed it is flawed. I have views that the whole online influence idea is flawed. At least how it is being viewed.

I think finding actual experts to test products and services would be a great use for these tools. But what is being pitched it using it as a marketing force. That you can technically by pass paid media, PR/Publicity efforts and real marketing and advertising if you can find these influencers. Well this is not true. Since maybe 1% of your network will see a Tweet or a Facebook post right there you are hamstrung on those two networks. Bloggers have inherent readership numbers but not often in the millions or tens of millions a major brand needs. 

To prove my point recently Brian Solis presented a slideshare on using influence. All his case studies were for product launches.  And sorry but he might be a marketer but I am a finance/sales guy who happens to be in marketing and all his case studies he presented he had zero proof they worked. The one example of influence working was from 2008. So basically since 2008 he couldn't find one other example showing success? Just stamp FAILURE on his post and slideshare. Also please note he also lists David Armano, and two people from Microsoft who all are biased because they either need Social Influence to work and be a success (Mr. Armano) or worked on the Windows Phone release (and we all know how well that went). I exposed bias in this post.

I recently blogged that the average person now spends 12 mins a day on social media networks. If we spend so little time how much influence via social networks can anyone have. I am pretty sure 99% of those you ask will say they like to communicate with friends and family, which might include 'discovery' of things. Just think 23 hours and 48 mins a day your customers are NOT using Social Media.

I know I am always negative. I will be positive now. Though I doubt anyone needs Klout or Peer Index vs simple Google searches for this. Chobani, my good friends in the Yogurt world, are an excellent case study on using influence to grow their business. In fact they have been doing this for the 18 months I have known them. They support fitness, health, and food bloggers big and small. They aren't trying to launch a product with influence vs steadily grow their business. If you have some readership Chobani will give you a case of yogurt to give away in return for the exposure on the blog with your readers. This is part of a larger integrated marketing plan. This isn't THE MARKETING PLAN. But they know that if they just convert 5 blog readers to Chobani who buy in real life, that free case paid for itself.

See real life trumps online. Be afraid of email and texts and in person word of mouth. That is where your success will be made or destroyed. Find the people who influence others off line and you will succeed. Because we say lots of things online that we don't mean or follow through on. Audi needs eople who can afford their cars buying their cars. They don't win if they have 50mil people chatting them up online who can never afford to buy their car. Find the real life influencers.

Klout and Influence is a tool. No reason not to use them where they fit. They will never replace paid advertising or public relations or even your social media efforts. They should be used as part of your marketing efforts where they fit. And be skeptical. Do your research. Just because someone is considered an expert and has high klout maybe they aren't. Klout says I am an expert on Yogurt (true) and Glee (not true I hate Glee). So send me your yogurt to try I might comment on Twitter. Send me tickets to see Glee filmed you will be over dubbing my heckling from the audience. Good luck with that.



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  2. Love the Audi example; at SoSlam, we saw a similar example with politics. A certain name may dominate the days tweets, but seeing how those tweeting don't vote.. the Twitter scores proved worthless. Only thing I'll disagree w/: online is a very REAL part of my life. I think it's context; do you know enough to know that when I write about Disney or PR or what movie to see, I know whereof I type? Whether you know me from on or offline, think maybe it's more the authenticity of the connection. FWIW.

    1. Hi Davina! Thank you for the great comment. Yes the context to me is a big flaw. I wonder if one day Artificial Intelligence can fix this? But we aren't there yet. Which is the issue I have. If I have to research each person that is a lot of extra work that the Score is supposed to eliminate.

      As to you being online, I am too. We forget how much time we spend online even if much of it isn't using social networks.