@BrianSolis is preaching the end of business as usual. +Robert Scoble is Pied Piper-ing the way to Google Plus. Anthony De Rosa is redefining the breaking news beat. What do all these fellas have in common? They all have a Klout score of 71 or more—which means, according to the social media influence score site, they are setting the standard of influence for the rest of us.
Regardless of what industry you sit in, social media is penetrating the walls of your business communication, marketing, customer service, and sales strategies. But that’s hardly news. What’s becoming a trend is the speeding rate at which we are gaining, and sometime pursuing, influence over others. Ends vary from industry to industry. Journalists and news organizations with Facebook Pages, for example, are on the rise. Marketers are harnessing the power of networking with Twitter and LinkedIn. Content is no longer the end, but the means.
But thanks to the fast growth of social media, the race to gain influence over the masses is now a reality. And time is money. Create a profile on any social network and you are automatically a candidate for a Klout score. Regardless of your intent to participate in social media, your Klout score dictates who you influence and the strength of your influence. In other words, influence has been automated.
Why this matters to business? It matters because consumer decisions are no longer left to billboard ads, TV ads or traditional media with big marketing budgets. Now you, an automatic influencer, can lead the pack, start a movement, transform an @YouTube Video, @Delta Changes Baggage Policy—A Case Study” href=”/2011/06/09/soldiers-make-youtube-video-delta-changes-baggage-policy%e2%80%94a-case-study/” target=”_blank”>industry or simply make some money.
Social media didn’t create this. (Social media is just a tool, according to Peter Shankman.) Neither did Klout. What created this was our most inner desire to be heard or be seen. Call it the age of voyeurism where we volunteer our most private thoughts to the permanent guardians of the internet. Thanks to the automated influence score, voyeurism is no longer a taboo—it’s encouraged. The more you volunteer, the more you participate, the more listening others are doing (even if those “others” are marketing strategists).
Whether this will turn out to be a benefit to society remains to be seen. Web companies are constantly engineering new ways to expand our reach with every Facebook Like, every Google Plus, every ReTweet, every repost. The reach potential is endless. And with every click, we vote a new candidate of influence.