The Measure of Influence: Klout vs. KickStarter

Social Media is all about influence, so it makes sense that we want to measure that.

But what is the best measure of influence?
-How much your content is shared or how much money your fans are willing to spend?

I have to start by saying that I am a fan of Klout, or at least the idea behind measuring influence which I think was well explained in Mark Schaefer’s excellent book Return on Influence. And given the premise of this post I find it interesting that the book does focus on ROI.

Actually this post has been prompted by two recent and very public events, which I will go through in a moment, but first I want to expose you to the Direct Mail copywriters point of view…

You see many companies, particularly larger ones, like to use focus groups or panels when bringing new products to market. However many Direct Marketers would argue that this is virtually useless in terms of getting the pricing right. In fact Direct Marketer extraordinaire and author Dan Kennedy recently pointed out the following in his monthly newsletter:

Consumers can’t be trusted. Only 41% of Americans say they prefer cats while 74% say they prefer dogs, but there are 96.4 million cats vs 78.2 million dogs in US homes. It’s likely that there are more multiple-cat than multiple-dog homes, but not enough to cover the preference claim. Similarly, over 70% of beer drinkers name a premium brand as ‘theirs’, but plain old Budweiser outsells ’em all.*

There is a big difference between what people tell you they will do, and what they actually do.

In terms of setting price the Direct Marketers will suggest that the only true test is to put together an offer and put it out there to let people vote with their wallets. After all if you ask someone in a ‘sterile’ environment whether they would be interested in spending $100 on a pen, then the chances are high they will say no. But if you send the offer to the target market ‘wrapped’ in a story of how this pen imbues them with a certain social class and puts them in a select group, then the results may be quite different.

And now you should see the link I am making between this Direct Marketing argument and the measuring of influence in Social Media platforms…

This has been demonstrated by two very interesting, and quite different cases in the past week. The first is The Oatmeal, an online humour/cartoon site, which I have come across a few times (I really liked their take on Tesla). They got into a bit of a row with FunnyJunk, who apparently had some of their comics on the site without credit or links back.

FunnyJunk then sued The Oatmeal for $20,000 for defamation. In response The Oatmeal said it would raise $20,000 but instead of giving it to FunnyJunk would be donating it to charity -calling this ‘Operation BearLove’. The Oatmeal did this using crowdfunding site indiegogo and raised the $20,000USD in just 64 minutes! At the time of writing $205,574 has been raised to be split between the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation, with 5 days remaining.

I don’t know about you, but for a cartoon site to raise $200k+ in USD within 20 days for charity, speaks volumes for their influence with their community.

The other recent example is Seth Godin’s use of crowdfunding site KickStarter to pre-sell copies of The Icarus Deception in order for the publisher to agree to publish the book. Seth has a massive tribe on the Internet so it probably didn’t surprise anyone that he hit his goal of $40,000 within 180 minutes. At the time of writing this project is funded at $215,249USD with 24 more days to go. I haven’t yet purchased my pick, and I imagine that this will be the case for many, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the total doubles or triples in this time frame.


So what does this mean to you?

Firstly, don’t get too upset at your Klout score. In the grand scheme of things it really isn’that important. I check mine once a month, I still think it is an important indicator of whether I am being active enough, but  I am not losing sleep over the fact that it always seems to trend down (then jumps back up… then trends down… etc).

Secondly if you don’t have an offer out to your community put one there. Charge for it. See what it brings in.

You could do this to fund a project like Seth did or you can jump onto a charity or something that you believe in and flex your influence muscles on that, like The Oatmeal has done. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering, it could be asking for a couple of dollars towards the local school, kindergarten, SPCA or whatever.

The point is not that you raise a lot of money but that it will open your mind to the fact that maybe the blog you write, those tweets you send, those jokes you share, are getting out to real people. You have made a real connection. And you really do have some influence… who knew?!


*From the May 2012 edition of the No BS Marketing Letter 
put out by Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle (GKIC)


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About Chris Hanlon

Chris has worked in or owned small businesses most of his life, before lured into the corporate world where he spent over a decade. However his passion for small business has remained, and taken life in The Profit Wizard blog, his published book, and some coaching he does for a variety of businesses. You can follow Chris on Twitter @TheProfitWizard

2 Responses to “The Measure of Influence: Klout vs. KickStarter”

  1. Daryl June 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Interestingly enough, I tried to raise money for shave for a cure last year.

    Using face book and face to face asking I raised just over $2000 which was great.

    From twitter with over 4000 followers at the time, I raised nothing. Nowt.

    This taught me a bit about the true value of having a large follower base on twitter. Its not that high.

  2. Chris Hanlon June 25, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Good Call Daryl.
    I agree I don’t think that Twitter is the best method. I think twitter is fantastic for event promotion using hashtags etc.
    But people have so many things in their twitter stream that your tweets are often lost, (unless they are following a particular hashtag).

    But other things like blogs and platforms like facebook & Google plus are easier to navigate and check updates.

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