Influence. In the world of digital marketing, influence is a currency quickly becoming almost as valuable as actual money for brands. Who is an influencer in this brave new world? How can you measure influence? These are questions that have spawned several different services aimed at putting a number on influence. The most well known of these is Klout. An ongoing debate has raged for a while now, centering on how you can put a single number on influence. And whether or not you should actually lend any credence to that number.
Recently, Klout changed its algorithm causing some scores to go up, some to go down, and everyone to question just what was going on. I’ll let others break down the nitty gritty of that. I want to tell you why you’ll not find my profile on Klout anymore. I was inspired to delete my account by Danny Brown‘s post earlier this week. That’s not to say his post is what drove me to delete my account; more like the final point in an argument. I’ve long said that you are responsible for your online privacy, however, that premise assumes that you signed up for an account on a site. If you agree to someone’s terms and conditions, you don’t have a whole lot of room to talk.
Klout has been pulling information for a very long time about people to determine their score. However, these people hadn’t signed up for a Klout account. This information is public info; tweets, Facebook posts/comments etc. but there’s something about a company using that information to create a profile on their site without permission that crosses a line in my mind. That’s the main reason why I quit Klout. I’ve attempted to defend Klout in the past to a certain extent, but I can’t in good conscience do that anymore.
Klout’s goal is an admirable one; trying to make online influence easy to understand and measure. After all, comparing numbers between 1 and 100 is pretty easy. However, many marketing and PR pros had begun to look at a Klout score as a be all/end all for online influence. Ignoring potential sources because their score was under a certain number or even refusing to interview certain candidates because their score wasn’t high enough. If the algorithms were more transparent, I might be able to buy that but Klout remains far too easy to game. An example: I’m from Iowa. I tweet/post CONSTANTLY about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Yet, I was more influential about hurricanes than about Iowa when I deleted my account; and I had no idea why.
I still think Klout has a place in the discussion of online influence, and I’ll probably be back at some point in the future once they get everything straightened out. I’m rooting for Klout. I hope this whole mess is a bump in the road and they are able to accurately and reliably measure online influence in an easy manner some day. What do you think? Will you be sticking with Klout? Are they being shady in your mind? Let’s hear it in the comments.
A few weeks ago, I changed my Twitter avatar from my smiling face, to this:
Scott Hale asked me why I had gone with a QR code as my avatar, and we proceeded to have an interesting conversation, mostly by DM (apologies for the reverse order. Read from the bottom up).
Conversation continued….same rules apply. Again, apologies.
There are, of course, some concerns with QR codes. Specifically, it’s a pretty small demographic of people who know what to do with a QR code if they see one. I get that, and I’m OK with that. This is a new way to put my contact info in a potential client’s phone, which makes me think of it as an online business card. More creative people like Peter Cognoscenti have their’s link to an actionable online page. I’ll not ruin the surprise for you if you haven’t scanned his code yet.
As I said in the conversation with Scott, QR codes are a huge unknown currently. I think there is value in using them, especially as more and more of us use our smartphones to browse the web. For the time being, there is no universal format (think .jpg or .mp3) for a QR code, so different scanning apps have different results. That’s a problem that needs to be rectified before these can really take off.
So what about you? What value do you see in QR codes? What concerns do you have? Let’s hear it in the comments.
Do you like to “like” stuff on the web? Or check-in at your favorite coffeehouse in the morning? If you’re anything like me, it’s as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. Facebook is rolling out a new way for marketers to harness that information and use it as advertisements on the social networking behemoth. From Ad Age:
The unit will give brand-related action such as a “like” or a check-in a lot more visibility on Facebook by adding them to an ad unit in addition to users’ news feeds.
For example, if Starbucks buys a “sponsored story” ad, the status of a user’s friends who check into or “like” Starbucks will run twice: once in the user’s news feed, and again as a paid ad for Starbucks. Though clearly marked with the words “sponsored story,” the ad — which will include a user’s name, just like the news feed — is not optional for Facebook users.
First of all, this is sure to raise the chorus of voices saying Facebook continues down the shadowy path of privacy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your privacy on Facebook, and the Internet in general, is not Facebook’s responsibility. Don’t want your info on Facebook? Then don’t BE on Facebook.
Secondly, this is an incredibly valuable tool for marketers. Imagine being able to harness all that word-of-mouth about your brand from all over the country and then TELL people about it; in those people’s own words. Obviously, the danger here is that some negative comments get through, which is bound to happen. However, common sense would dictate if someone is checking into your brand, the three most likely outcomes are: no comment, positive, or neutral. In other words, the benefit of the positive check-in’s far outweighs the potential for negative check-in’s. If you’d rather not take that chance, simply buy the page likes instead.
This is word-of-mouth marketing 2.0. Any REAL comment about your brand is infinitely more valuable than anything you can put in a standard Facebook ad. Or any other kind of ad for that matter.
What do you think? Will this change the face of marketing on Facebook, and potentially the Web, or will this slide by mostly unnoticed?