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Three Ways To Gain Influence Online

Achieving influence in the digital world is one of the main goals of social media.

Whether they’re online or off, people are influenced by folks they trust, those that they like or those they believe to have specific expertise.

Social media provides a forum for referrals on a scale that just isn’t possible off-line.  Viral videos or retweets can create buzz, make an overnight sensation, drive sales or destroy reputations.

Many individuals and companies are perceived to exert influence online, through their celebrity, word of mouth or breakout marketing.

Businesses invest in social media to increase their brand recognition and drive sales.  One way they do this is to encourage those whom they perceive to be influential to promote their brands, products and services.

The challenge has been to quantify who is, in fact, influential, and to determine what the true value of this influence actually is.

While there are a number of entries in this space, Klout has emerged as the measurement leader.  Klout takes data from public social networks or other networks, and provides users overall quantitative scores from 1 to 100, based on their level of online influence.

But is Klout actually converting digital influence into an actual business value measurement?  It appears to equate transactions and number of followers with actual influence.

A more recent entry in this space, Kred, measures a person’s online influence and level of engagement or outreach, and provides two different scores.  Influence is defined as the ability to inspire action by others, such as retweets or replies. Outreach focuses on people initiating conversations or interacting with others. Kred also integrates offline awards and recognition.

PeerIndex, another metric, measures social media influence at an individual level, but looks at a person’s level of authority on a specific subject area.

Klout initially gained prominence because it was a convenient short-hand to identify those who could best promote one’s business.  Klout continues to evolve their tools, and recently revised their scoring method, to a somewhat mixed reception.

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