Want to Be Influential? Stop Worrying About Your Klout Score

I realize that by writing this, I am contributing to Klout pandemonium.

The last two days, everybody is asking – while pretending they never look or don’t care about their Klout scores – what happened to the Klout scores. Every major blogger – perhaps to beef up their Klout score – is doing a story on… Klout scores. Even those who dip their toes in social media waters all too infrequently (and yet care far too much about issues like Klout scores) are complaining about their numbers dipping 6, 11, 18 points overnight.

Fact is… real clout takes some effort – and a long-term commitment to engaging via social media to build relationships; to build influence.

That is really what Klout is about, right? Influence? To the point we’ve made the word “influence” a cliché, a buzzword. Soon, we’ll begin seeing the word “influence” on as many resumes and sales pitches as we do “passion” and “disruptive”.

If you want to be influential – you must put in the effort, both online and offline.

And it isn’t that hard to get started. Anyone could dramatically change their Klout score by joining Twitter chats like #jobhuntchat or #leadershipchat. Or, they could write a blog or two and begin to build an online brand. These two “best practices” alone could gain a person a couple hundred followers in a very short time.

The next step in expanding their burgeoning sphere of influence is to leverage online contacts in a variety of ways that could be considered old-school engagement:

  • Attending a coffee chat, a meet-up, or an industry conference
  • Continue to create original and helpful thoughts, and express them IRL and online
  • Be a good digital and community citizen – by giving as much as receiving
  • Serve as a mentor, be mentored – or both
  • Impress other influencers so they become champions and advocates
  • When a colleague visits their hometown… buy a coffee and just talk

Despite the power of social media, which provides introductions to new faces faster than most of us could have imagined, nothing builds better relationships than good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction!

Influence is not based on some arbitrary Klout score that can be determined by some constantly changing algorithm. Clout – with a ‘c’ – is based on sincerity, traction and genuine effort.

And it must be earned.


About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, CEO and Founder of YouTern Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.

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