The meaning of influence in networking

Photo by LordNikon

Photo by Lord Nikon

These days in business marketing, and especially on-line, we hear a huge amount about influence. How much influence does a marketer or networker have?

In social media, some measure influence in terms of their Klout or PeerIndex score. Actually they are very crude tools, especially Klout. What they really measure is how much we Tweet or post on Facebook. PeerIndex does index blogging, but all these tools really measure is how much noise we make on-line.

It is the same with off-line networking. We may put out our message to the room and we may do so in a very loud voice. We might go to every networking meeting there is in our area and eat breakfast out every day of the week. However it does not mean we will get loads of business.

The confusion is between, on the one hand, being seen everywhere trilling our message on Twitter or over our scrambled eggs, and on the other, our networks actually listening to us and taking notice because they believe we have something to offer. It is easy to shout the loudest and most often, but more difficult to get over our message that we are people to be trusted with business.

We do not want our Tweet or a fried breakfast message being taken with more than a pinch of salt. We need to be genuine, sincere and ourselves to get that trust, don’t we/

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Social media marketing and influence

Orchids - a welcome distraction from on-line posting

Too much information

We all get deluged with everyone’s ideas of how to use social media for marketing, with many emails from various “experts” telling us what to do. We can all use tips, but there is no clear template which will work for all of us. We all have different businesses, different needs and different products and services. We have to experiment to find what works for us.

Of course there are “tools” we can use, but I doubt they have much value because they are limited in what they can measure.

Twitter takes a holiday

At the beginning of this month my wife and I took a break and had a week away. Broadband was limited where we were staying but anyway I hardly wanted to tweet about every view and every meal or say what a good time we had looking at orchids because we were just looking to chill out. If you visit Jersey I recommend a visit.  However, my Klout score fell because it only measures activity and if we are not tweeting or posting to Facebook or another network, as far as Klout is concerned we are not influencing anyone.

Klout purports to measure influence, but actually it only measures the number of times we pop up, mainly on Twitter and Facebook. If we are walking along the street when someone starts jumping up and down saying “hey, look at me” we might look at them once, but unless the person has something really interesting to say both then and every time we see them, we are hardly going to be influenced by them otherwise than to avoid them in the future. So sorry, Klout, but you are not much help. I will keep my account but mark your report “could do better” in the hope that you will.

Going unpunished

Then there is PeerIndex. PeerIndex didn’t punish me for going on holiday. We can register our websites and blogs and it measures inbound links to them . What it cannot measure is the actual number of hits we get, our bounce rate, what people think of our material and how often, if ever, they come back. So PeerIndex is more rounded in terms of measurement of our internet spread, but it doesn’t help with the influence bit. However I can compare my activity more reasonably with that of people I know and respect.

Games people play

I think PeerIndex is a better attempt than Klout in measuring real effort in social media and web marketing, but that is as far as it goes. I can give it a B+ compared with Klout’s C-.

The only way we can really gauge our on-line marketing efforts is through enquiries from prospective customers; both the number and the quality. Ultimately the real measure is in sales. It is up to us to experiment and change to see what works and what doesn’t. We shouldn’t rely on crude measures, though they are an interesting game and I sort of like PeerIndex because the thinking behind what they do shows more awareness of what people like to know.

What do you find useful? And talking of games, whatever happened to Empire Avenue? Does anyone still play it?


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Fifteen ways to get unfollowed and disconnected from my network

Google Appliance as shown at RSA Expo 2008 in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Or just not followed in the first place

  1. Tweet advertising the whole time
  2. Tweet other peoples quotations
  3. Tweet religious tracts
  4. Tweet political comments and unkind comments about politicians.
  5. Tweet every meal you have (occasional food comments or pictures of dishes you are pleased with are OK).
  6. Send a request to connect on Linked In to get my email address to put me on your mailing list.
  7. Tweet on automatic from RSS feeds that have nothing to do with you just to please Google, Klout and Peer Index. Actually both Google and I will go off you.
  8. Tweet in a company name and not tell me your real one.
  9. Auto-feed absolutely every comment, tweet and link.
  10. Never RT or pass on someone else’s link.
  11. Never have a conversation or interact
  12. Swear (even with an apology)
  13. Rubbish a competitor.
  14. Be rude about anyone at all.
  15. Criticise fellow networkers even if they deserve it.

Now, everyone is entitled to their political views, and their religious beliefs. Just spare me, please. Be original, help others and don’t be lazy or disrespectful. It seems not much to ask. What do you think?

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Rabbit, rabbit!

the Lamborghini logotype
Image via Wikipedia

I hadn’t intended to return to the subject of web influence but elsewhere on “the internet” there are people including quite well-known pundits telling us that we should be working on our Klout and PeerIndex ratings because they are supposed to influence how people see us. Apparently the scores affect whether we are invited for interviews in California. Well, maybe it’s the latest thing in Hollywood, but have you been to Hollywood? It really isn’t the real world, is it?


Not every fad will storm the world. It is easy to look up people on-line, and generally the only factor in advance of an interview or business meeting is whether you can find out something about the person. It is not going to be about how big a Klout score they have unless it is crucial to take on someone active in social media. Even then, one should still consider whether the person has true influence or whether they just Tweet links at the rate of one a minute, the on-line equivalent of rabbiting about nothing. Frankly those in the last category don’t have my respect and even if I like them on a personal basis I will miss the quality links amongst the dross. There will be dross in Tweets at the rate of one a minute, too.


So pardon me if I don’t set much store by these indices. I am not being a dog in the manger. My scores with both these measuring tools are fairly respectable according to the aficionados. I prefer simply to measure my influence through feedback from my network and how many enquiries I get re new business.

I don’t need to be judged by people who set store by some measure of fashionable noise making any more than one should be judged on whether one has an IPhone or a Lamborghini. What do you think?

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Measuring web influence?

Twitter logo initial
Image via Wikipedia

When some people talk about their personal relationships, we want to cry out “Too much information” but when on-line that’s what we get. It is so difficult to filter out the noise. We are constantly being urged by various web pundits and bloggers to follow certain paths. Many of these opinions may be the right ones. We have to be selective because otherwise the noise will drown out all the information we could use.


It is the same with different web tools and social media sites. There are just too many to give the time to all at once. I avoid most of the invitations I get to join new social networks and try to ascertain those that are most likely to be useful. I will dive properly into Quora and BranchOut when I have time, which for a tax practitioner certainly is not in January, no matter how I manage my time and outsource.

However, of all the tools we do use, how do we know how much on-line influence we have? We can use sites which purport to measure influence, such as Klout, but they are very crude. My Klout score as I write is 46, which according to Klout is pretty decent. “Jon Stow is a Specialist

You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.”

All well and good, but I think a site such as Klout simply measures how much noise one makes. I have been very active on Twitter and Facebook in particular the last couple of weeks (as I write) but noise isn’t influence. Some people might be covering their ears as far as my noise is concerned.

How does it feel?

The only real measure of influence as far as I am concerned is the number of website and blog hits I see, the comments on the blogs and the number of conversations or (more critically) responses I have to initiate conversations on other people’s blogs, my blogs and Twitter. These are climbing steadily while my Klout score has varied between 18 and 51.

In the end social media influence must be not how other people measure it but how it feels. Pain and pleasure are subjective feelings influenced usually by multiple factors. One’s on-line influence may be measured by clinical factors such as website and blog hits, but the manifestation is the number of sales we are making through our internet influence. I am pleased to say that these are climbing well from almost nothing a couple of years ago, but on this receiving end, subjective personal measuring of new business is really the only way I can truly know. It’s as subjective as just knowing whether or not we are happy. I certainly am, but definitely not complacent. What do you think?

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