Return on influence… Is Klout a feasible measurement?


Fishburn Hedges and I hosted the TechMAP community recently, where we heard all about the ‘Return on Influence’ by highly-rated American author Mark Schaefer. The impact of influencers and influential communities in communications is nothing new, but the manner in which the engagement is now happening has changed. Interestingly, Schaefer believes that it will continue to do so while brands strive for the ultimate list of influencers to build campaigns, and whole communications strategies, around.

It was fascinating listening to Schaefer discuss influencers and show countless examples of how they’re continually changing how brands communicate and interact with their core audience. He can talk at length about how influencers have “a new face” and are the celebrities of the digital world, and must be treated by brands as such.

Schaefer says that P2P is the way that information sharing and forming now takes place, both online and offline. That’s why he strongly believes that consumers are more likely to be influenced by peers rather than organisations, constantly highlighting that brands need to wake up quickly to this. Influencers are hard to accommodate, he says, and brands need to pull out all the stops to gain their attention in a saturated environment.

As communications experts, it is important that we identify the relevant influencers. There are many metrics and benchmarks that we can use to do this. An individual’s frequency of mention, their terms and phrases online, the sentiment of their words, their spread of social media platforms and the reach of content across their network, are just a few of them. But in recent years, and after several strong developments, companies like Klout have sprung up, in an attempt to make communications more manageable.

Now, while many of us are familiar with Klout rarely do we get a chance to explore the complex algorithms that determine how influential we all are. Not just us, but consumers, brands, and everything in between. The Klout-monster presents a laid-back approach to ‘researching’ potential influencers within an industry or theme, and at the moment, it’s big business. Schaefer believes that “social media is democratising influence. Anyone can have it and everyone can have a voice”.  If you agree with statement it immediately increases the need for corporate reputation strategies to be more flexible.

What came as a shock to me was that organisations in the United States are taking Klout, and the like, very seriously. For instance, we were told that some call centres are now prioritising customers based on their Klout scores to keep the most ‘influential’ happy.  Even more surprising was the idea that companies are now recruiting employees based on their online influence.

I’m not sure this will become very popular in the UK for a number of reasons, but this is the official line: “put your Klout Score on your resume to land a sweet job or use it to get better customer service.

What are your thoughts on Klout’s methods of measuring the influential? Do you agree with Schaefer’s thoughts? Drop me a tweet @bnfx/@fishburnhedges or comment below and let’s discuss this further.

In the mean time, we caught up with Schaefer before his presentation and here’s some footage of what he had to say…

Experience is king


For all the hype, glamour, networking, sales pitches and case studies that Social Media Week had to offer, what really sticks with me is the absence of an interactive experience. This goes against everything I’ve been taught about the nature of social media, and what we’re constantly hammering on about on a daily basis.

So on the final day of #smwldn, James (@LusherJ) and I (@bnfx) decided to head down to the Nokia Lumia House in Soho to see what the Business Lounge was all about, and more importantly, check out the much talked about Foursquare-enabled Gift Machine.

James and I are tech geeks. Therefore, our short walk from the office was a conversation about expectations. We thought Nokia was very much a 90’s brand; we weren’t sure what it had done in the last five years that could be considered innovative; and we imagined that the company would probably just accept the fact that iPhone would be dominating both the sales and conversational market in the foreseeable future.

Our expectations were pretty low, so we were amazed by what we saw. To refer to my original point about interactive experiences, Nokia’s open-door Business Lounge provided us with a great one, from our opening tour of the Lumia design story with Emma, to sending a tweet and winning prizes on the pin-board in reception, to an in-depth look at the stunning Lumia range, to using the impressive Gift Machine (which drops presents from a vending machine after a Foursquare check-in).

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Nokia has a bright future if this experience was anything to go by. Previously, I would have never thought of the brand as a recent hub for innovation and creativity, but now my perception has completely changed. I saw the Lumia for what it is – a brilliantly smooth and simple smartphone that isn’t just functional, but also incredibly modern in design. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and Nokia Lumia House really underscores the importance a positive experience can have.

The only disheartening part of the story is that I hear Nokia House could well be closed within the next month. Something they might well want to reconsider, as it’s exactly the type of venue needed to keep consumers engaged and interested in a saturated jungle of noise.

When sharing gets real, it gets viral… but why?


Following my post about the viral video experience, I experienced the full force of a piece of my content going ‘viral’ (in a small way, anyway).

 

Here’s the link: AMAZING TWEET.

Key stats:
85 – the number of RTs in a day
18 – the number of favourites
12 – the number of @replies about this
10 – the number of new followers

Now, can someone tell me what it is about this tweet? This far outweighs most things I’ve ever said outside the realms of Facebook.

The most obvious reasoning for this would be… timing. It’s the 13th February after all, exactly 24 hours before St. Valentine’s Day, so this sounds like a strong factor.

I sent the tweet at about 10am, hardly UK prime time, but this is Twitter and somewhere in the World, someone is awake!

Could it be that my tweet was hilariously funny? Unlikely. I’ve sent a few updates today that I thought were equally as cynically side-splitting, but to no avail; Exhibit [A] and [B].

Whatever the reason, this has definitely made me think about how I use my own social media. I’ve already started this with my Instagram account, employing a few basics; my average interactions (likes or comments) has increased from 5.1 per photo to 25.6.

The tweet, created in my office in London, has now travelled all over the Globe; Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, USA, Kenya, Canada, Australia, Finland.

What has this taught me? Don’t be boring, speak my mind, say what I think but do everything intelligently. As always 😉

Instagram photography in the snow


During a recent trip to Brussels (Belgium), I was lucky enough to to visit Tervuren Park on the outskirts of the City. At the time, most of Brussels was covered in heavy snow and the park was no different.

Tervuren is also home to The Royal Museum for Central Africa – definitely worth checking out!

Hope you like the photos, let’s connect on Instagram.

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The cheapest form of social media coverage…


Well, don’t you just love it when you see something special?

Forget X-Factor, this is just awesome… Nevermind, how intelligent this young girl is.

Actually, I love it for more than just the pure talent Alyssa has… I also happen to think it’s a perfect ‘two-finger salute’ in the direction of all those claiming they can make a video ‘viral’.

So far, 2.5m+ views and just short of 8,000 comments, without considering the media pick-up. That’s astonishing on its own!

Pepsi and Coca-Cola get mentions in this video. Coupled with these mentions, everyone who sees this video talks about it so positively.

So… that’s huge positivity and brands names all in one video. Mixing that all together and tapping into the subconscious, we now have something that brands really want when they make a video and want it to go ‘viral’.

Money can’t buy that sadly, it’s an organic and natural mystery. And don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise.

Where can I go in 2012?


In 2011, I was lucky enough to visit a number of amazing places throughout Europe.

In Belgium, I went to Brussels, Bruges, Gent and Antwerp. In Germany, I spent a day in Aachen, mostly at the Lindt Factory, and four days in the very cultural Cologne. In Spain, I was lucky enough to visit Madrid and Marbella in the Summer heat. And on my birthday, I went travelling in Luxembourg. I even saw a couple of hours of Paris!

So what’s next? What’s going on in 2012?

Well…

I’ve already got firm plans to go to Berlin for a few days at the start of April. I’ll definitely be re-visiting Madrid and Marbella. I’m so excited by the overnight train to Copenhagen. The hot springs in Iceland look amazing, so spirtual. And I’d love to go skiing, either in Andorra or Germany. Plus, there’s even talk about doing a three-pronged trip to Vienna, Budapest and Prague.

And I can’t fucking wait…!!

Hat-tip goes to Eurostar for always being great. Such an easy service, always reliable and the staff are superb. Let’s hope they’re even better this year.

What’s your dream destination? Where are you travelling this year?