If you are following this blog on a regular basis or worked with me on a social media project for your company in the past, you know that one of the corner stones in my strategy has been to use social media quite freely so that it fit with your habits and workflow.
This worked pretty well throughout 2009 and 2010 when social networks were still a thing of the pundits and digerati. In 2011 we saw a tipping point and more “regular” users joined the services which eventually led to much more content flying around, making it more difficult for professional users to get their message through.
I already wrote about the “decline” of Twitter last week, and I will give you a short update on my new strategy and its outcome today.
But, as you can already tell from the title of this post, the message I want to get through is pretty clear: everyone, may it be a startup, established brand or individual user needs a strategy for social media. It’s getting far too serious to just use it for fun.
As described in last week’s post about Twitter, I have been thinking for quite a while about a new (old) strategy. So what I basically did was to engage more with my existing followers as well as getting in touch with people who shared articles I wrote or who retweeted my tweets. The result can be seen in the graph embedded below.
I think that is no big surprise here. If you are in the trenches, talking and engaging you are more visible and therefore be able to grow your following.
Now, many people including myself will tell you that follower count are just vanity numbers which basically tell little to nothing about influence. Nevertheless my Klout score “the standard of influence” as the company itself claims, rose from 59 to 63 in that period.
Today, it dropped to 49 due to the newly established Klout algorithm. Looking at most of the people I follow, they are not better off than myself. So I think part of it was to cut an inflation and keep the higher scores tight. I will keep you updated on that matter over the coming weeks, let’s give it a little moment to see how it’ll evolve.
“Why should I care about a Klout score?”, you might ask. Certainly, ranking people is still early on, however we can somewhat clearly see a trend as even at that stage Klout scores are taken as a basis for decisions already today. Jason Calacanis gives discounts on conference tickets based on the Klout of his newsletter subscribers, for example, and the list of official Klout Perks, e.g. brands that give away coupons or free trials to “influencers” is constantly growing as well.
Sure, you can argue on what influence really is, and I will share my opinion on this topic in another post but as long as people around you are accept this score as a measurement of influence, you need to care about it.
On Sunday, I wrote a post on Disrupt Education titled “Facebook Profiles are the new Resume” in which I argue that if you know about the fact that recruiters are scanning your online profiles when you apply for a job or college you need to use it as a marketing tool. Guy Kawasaki explains this pretty well during his latest Triangulation interview with Leo Laporte and Tom Merritt starting at 48 minutes into the interview.
With social networks becoming an integral part of our society knowing how to handle personal information and even more how to use it to one’s favor is becoming a skill that can give you a competitive advantage. I think, Guy’s answer to Leo’s question: “How do you prepare your kids for the future?” speaks volumes.
“What I told my kids is: master Facebook and social media.” Every other parent is telling their kids to be careful, posting pictures and status updates because the Standford admission center is looking on their profiles. “Social media is a really great, marketable skill.” “The way you got to play the game is: you know that colleges and employers are looking at your Facebook presence, right? So knowing that what you should do is posting a picture – Here I am, building a church in Guatemala. Here I am at the Northern California Football Championship. Here I am, visiting the museum at MIT on technology. Here I am with my buddies when we won the science fair. So you know people are looking at your Facebook profile? Use it as a marketing device, don’t hide it.”
In essence, this all goes back to the pretty simple rule of “Assume that everything you do on the Internet is public.” followed by my rule “The Internet only knows what I want it to know.” Those two rules apply to everyone, from a teenager who starts using social media to connect with friends and eventually creates a track record up to the college application process, over self employed people, startups and to established brands.
To sum this up: social media is becoming too important to just use it without a strategic plan. It has become more than just a place to chat with friends and play social games. Today, it is part of your resume to the least, and there is a good chance that it is going to replace your resume entirely in the years to come.
Online reputation needs to be built and to start early will give you an competitive advantage and later on you’ll already have a track record. So, what are you waiting for?