I am really happy that so many of you enjoyed reading the first extract from my upcoming new eBook. The interest you have shown for the project is very heart-warming!
Yesterday, I posted the picture above on social networks, and got some great feedback as well. So, I figured that it would be a good idea to share what I have written for that chapter so far.
The content of this chapter may change when I reach the second draft. I count on you to let me know what you think in the comment section!
Golden Rule #19: It’s All About the Story You Tell
A few weeks ago, I read an article about the role Klout Scores play in the hiring process. Apparently, some companies take the idea so seriously that they may not hire you if you are unaware of your own score!
“What the [bleep] is Klout,” I hear some of you ask.
Klout is a social media platform that measures your online influence based on several hundred social signals, including
The result is a score between 0 and 100. Basically, the higher your score is, the more influence you are supposed to have.
When I initially joined the site, I liked the idea. I found the service interesting, because it helped me discover interesting new people and visualize the social media world better. However, last year, Klout changed its algorithm to offer users more accurate and transparent scores. The team explained that this would lead to a decrease in people’s scores. I lost 15 points overnight.
While this did not really bother me because I am all about accuracy and transparency, I started noticing a trail of complaints about the change on social networks. The Klout Fan Page on Facebook was full of irate comments from users whose scores were now 10 or 20 points lower. According to them, Klout had become as important as LinkedIn for job opportunities and had the same value as SAT scores for college. Others took to Twitter to voice their anger through the #Occupyklout hashtag. And quite a few social media experts did their fair share of complaining on their blogs.
While the service updated its algorithm once again a few months later, people continue talking about Klout as an important measurement tool.
Let us go back to the article I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter. After reading it, I decided to share the link in a LinkedIn Group. I included the following comment with my submission: “What do you think about this article? I am appalled, to be honest!” The discussion that ensued was both interesting and educational.
Some people asked me to explain my visceral reaction. When I stated that I was worried that social media was turning into a numbers game, a member of the group commented with the following:
Everything is about numbers. the trick is to understand what the numbers mean, how they are influenced, what influences them, and how they are used. There are certain criteria for selection that do not always make sense: college degree, GPA, SAT scores, etc. Klout is just another redux of the same. Do all companies weigh them the same? Not likely. If you want to succeed, there are going to be metrics of some shape or form, whether we want them or not.
I understand that argument. You need numbers to measure the effectiveness of your strategy and get insights into the areas where you should invest your time and effort to increase your chances of success. You also need some “concrete” data (e.g., degrees) within the hiring process. However, there is a difference between giving a chance to someone who has studied to get a degree but may lack experience, and hiring a person for their high Klout Score.
This begs three questions:
Yes, Klout has a role to play in the grand scheme of things. But, to say that it should be the deciding factor in a strategy is a sure way to fail.
Influence is not determined by the number of comments, likes, and shares your updates trigger. Some people are content to just follow you without interacting. It does not mean that they do not like what you do. And others are more comfortable sharing their thoughts privately with you. That kind of data is not taken into account by Klout, because it is private data.
To understand what I am saying, try to think about the reasons why you decide to support an entrepreneur over another. While the size of their audience may certainly play a part, I am pretty sure that, in the long run, your loyalty will remain for two reasons:
When people feel included in your story, they are more likely to support you than competition.
Social media is like a house. The way you lay your foundations will determine how successful your business will be and how long it will last.
Engaging for the sake of engaging leads nowhere. But so does putting the dollar sign before your audience.
It is always about the story you tell.
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