Who is watching you? You'd be surprised!

When we try to figure out the value of all of our social media efforts, we look at the numbers.  Who is commenting, who is sharing, how many people are clicking….

Those are all valuable metrics, there’s no doubt, but sometimes we get overly discouraged when the numbers aren’t what we hope they would be. We all need to remember this: a fraction of the people seeing your message are reacting in a way that you can see.

Engagement is always what we most want, Edgerank on Facebook has made particularly sure of that, but even so, we often forget that most people don’t react to everything that they see online. That doesn’t mean they aren’t seeing it.

I recently had a friend tell me that her husband works with someone I worked with years ago. When I asked how they had possibly figured that out it was because they were talking about Las Vegas and both said they knew someone who had recently been.  Aside from the fact that it was very cool that they figured that out, what was most interesting to me is that this friend who I used to work with - I haven’t interacted with her in almost two years, not even on Facebook. Except I have, because she knew I was in Vegas because I talked about it on Facebook. What may have seemed like an interesting tidbit in her feed became significant later. And the whole time I had no inkling that she knew what was happening in my life.

Another example happened this week.  Karen and I were in a coffee shop when someone we hadn’t seen in a couple of years walked up and said hi. I have barely seen anything in my feeds from her in the last while but she knew just what Karen and I were up to, including the conference we’re planning. What’s more, she owns a local business that I follow (though I had no idea it was her) and she’s exactly the audience we hope is seeing our content. 

So, what’s my point?

Keep producing good content.  Keep sharing it and keep talking. People are listening, even if you don’t know who.

I’ve had people reference a blog post I wasn’t sure anyone had read,  and tell me that they finally got in touch after following my tweets for over a year.  I know people who don’t use Twitter but follow people’s Twitter pages, people who have their email readers set to not let your newsletter software count their open, and there are so many more examples. Only a fraction of the people out there are ready to tell you they’re there. Sometimes it may feel like you’re talking and nobody is listening - but you may be surprised just who actually is watching you. 

Do you have any examples like these? Share them in the comments!

Klout. Does it matter?

Lara and I recently had this question posed to us regarding Klout - a topic that can be quite controversial and for new social media users, confusing.

Klout. Does it matter? Who does it matter to? Why did my score recently change dramatically? It seems to me if “scores” can change that widely, that they can’t be very accurate.

Klout is a tool that claims to measure online influence. There is only one problem with this: influence is inherently unmeasurable. A person may be perceived as influential, but many factors can have an impact on why. 

Klout is not:

  • A social network
  • A broadcast tool
  • A big deal 

Does Klout matter?

Absolutely - to some people. This is especially true for those who may be:

  • Working with brands
  • Building thought leadership/expertise on a topic
  • Job searching
  • Student grades

For others, Klout is just something that is there. Casual users with no professional tie to their social media use likely don’t have an interest in knowing how influential they are. For this group, there’s no benefit in knowing.

Recently, Klout rolled out its second algorithm change in the last year. The first occurred last October and scores fell dramatically (mine dropped from 68 to 58). The latest adjustment to the algorithm caused startling changes in scores, though supposedly they were mostly increases. Very few dropped compared to the adjustment last October so the fallout has been minimal.

Is it dependable?

It’s a fair point that if the algorithm keeps changing that it can’t be very accurate. However, prior to last October, it was ridiculously easy to ‘game’ the system and artificially inflate your score. As long as there’s an automated measurement, people will test and figure out how to “game” it.

Accuracy of influence measurement is hard to judge anyway. This is where we have to go back to the question of how to measure something (true influence) that is inherently unmeasurable.

The updates are actually meant to reflect  the influence that users have more accurately and prevent (as much as possible) score manipulation.

Should Klout matter to you?

Not necessarily. I check my Klout about once a month out of curiosity and outside of that I just continue to do what I would normally do on social networks.

What should I do about Klout?

Klout (and others like PeerIndex and Kred) can give you a snapshot of whether or not your efforts are getting a good reaction from your audience. A stagnant or dropping score can be a signal to make some tweaks. A score that is steadily increasing can be an indication that you’re doing the right things. 

The way you improve your Klout is the same way you create an engaged community:

  • Focus your content.
  • Be engaging with followers and those you follow.
  • Add value - help with a problem, provide information, etc.

Klout can be a major distraction if you consciously try to increase your score.

Always remember that if you’re curious about how effective your efforts are, Klout is just one indicator among dozens. It’s good to know, but definitely not something to worry about.

What ways have you used Klout to help tweak your social media use?

Do you check your Klout? Have you noticed the number changing?

What's in a number? Why your follower count doesn't matter.

You’re bombarded with numbers everywhere you go in social media:

  • How many friends do you have?
  • How many people like your page?
  • How many circles are you in?
  • How many lists are you on?

Do these numbers matter?

Yes and no.

As a business, you want to build up a quality following. That means developing strategies that attract people who are interested in what you have to offer. Having a lot of people interested in what you do and say is a good thing.

But if you look at number alone, it really isn’t an indicator of your success in social media because follower numbers are inherently gamable (you can buy them and you can get high numbers of people that will never look at your content or engage with you).

It’s quality over quantity.

Do you have 50 followers? 500? 5000?

How many of those followers are actively engaged in conversation with your business, about your business or developing a relationship with you that could lead to a business relationship?

If you have 50 engaged and interested followers, that is far more valuable than 50,000 that barely know your account exists because they followed to increase their own numbers.

Don’t stop working on the numbers.

Although high numbers don’t necessarily mean a lot, low numbers can make people think you aren’t very established.

Working to steadily increase your number of engaged and quality followers, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or the number of people signed up to your newsletter, should continue to be a focus of your social media strategy. One of our best suggestions for doing this is to ask and remind on a regular basis.

Do you worry about the numbers?

And before you go, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter.  We’re always working on the numbers too.

Guest post: Social Media Numbers

So your Klout is 57.  You have 1200 Twitter followers.  130 people like your Facebook page.  87 people subscribe to your blog. You have 98 connections on Linkedin and 400 people in Circles on Google+.  Now what?

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers when it comes to Social Media.  There are systems that are dedicated to measuring influence in the online world, but sometimes those numbers don’t tell the full story.  

Feeling stressed about the numbers? You aren’t alone.  People are wondering how their vacation will affect their Klout scores, or how to increase their Twitter followers.  Social Media Strategies are put in place and ultimately everyone want to know how to get those numbers up.

The numbers can be useful.  Analysis and measurement can tell real stories and help guide future decisions.  Your numbers can be used to obtain new clients or advertisers.   Larger numbers can mean more impressions for your business or writing.  I would be remiss to completely dismiss these numbers.
But numbers aren’t everything and shouldn’t dictate what you do online.  If you target your social media profiles to be only avenues to increase your numbers, you are completely missing the point of social media.   

How do you recognize the numbers and avoid the stress?

  1. Remember that they will fluctuate.  Sometimes life gets in the way of being online and that’s ok.  These numbers will go up and down but as long as you keep a fairly consistent presence (and message), it shouldn’t be a concern.

  2. Be proud of your numbers, no matter how big or small.  Some of the best blogs I read don’t have a lot of twitter followers, but that doesn’t make them any less influential in certain social media circles.   

  3. When setting out your social media goals, instead of looking at increasing your numbers by a specific amount, try focusing on how you will be increasing them.  Then, you can measure success not only by what the numbers are telling you but by what worked to get there.

  4. Find ways to track your numbers without going crazy.  Do you want to see them weekly and compare? Monthly? If you check them every day it will become an obsession and not a productive one.

  5. No matter what, the quality of your content, posts, discussions and level of engagement will ultimately be what impacts your numbers.  So have fun with it and try to enjoy social media for what it is - a way to learn, share and engage.

Rebecca blogs about family and motherhood, is a self-professed foodie, and dabbles in online engagement and community giving.  She has a strange love for maple syrup that can possibly only be matched by her love for chocolate and coffee.

My BlackBerry Wears a SuperHero Cape

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