How do you increase social influence? Don't think about the score by briansolis


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									How do you increase social influence? Don't think
about the score
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed book on social business Engage!

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or
something, or the effect itself.

Digital influence is a controversial topic. At the heart of the matter is this idea of influence and it
raises questions and doubts as to whether or not the ability to cause effect or change behavior is
truly measurable. Regardless of the answer, we are introduced to a new reality of social networking,
an era where our actions and words in Facebook, Twitter et al. are used for and against us.

One day we awoke to find a number attached to our digital persona. And in this new awakening is a
fascinating new twist in social media, the association between scores and avatars and the new
digital socioeconomic factors that are introduced. We are now ranked and what was once a peer-to-
peer network is now tiered, creating a social hierarchy where a score defines your place within it.

We didn‟t opt in, we can‟t opt out, but we can shape it.

Welcome to the EGOsystem.

If we look beyond the word influence, we see that the ability to measure effect is complicated and
elusive. I believe however, that we‟re closer to measuring social capital, at least in a digital sense,
than we are measuring outcomes. Presenting scores that reflect a semblance of influence creates a
society of “haves and have nots.” Social capital to the contrary is aspirational. We‟re inspired to
invest in a healthier, vibrant, and useful egosystem.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam describes social capital as “collective value of all „social
networks‟ and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other.” As a result,
he believes social capital can be “measured by the amount of trust and reciprocity in a community or
between individuals.”

I was recently asked by my friends at Klout to share my thoughts on how individuals (and brands)
can invest in the social capital carried by their digital personae. To be honest, I don‟t offer tips and
tricks to boost your score. Instead I offered tangible advice to think about the tenets of community
such as trust, reciprocity, and recognition to guide transactions, investments, and withdrawals of
capital in the new social economy.

Following is my very honest discussion with Klout…

Klout: We often get asked, “What can I do to get a higher Klout Score?”. We can provide some
guidance, but the real experts on the subject are the influencers themselves. Today, we’re starting
the first of a new series of posts at Klout spotlighting Klout Stars and asking them their secrets to

1. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

I‟m not sure that my engagement in social media was driven by strategy. In all honesty, my view        of
engagement was and still is about intention and goodwill. While many believe that the pillars          of
social media are solidified through authenticity and transparency, the true promise and purpose        of
living in public is the ability to learn in real-time, the impact we can have on anything we set out   to

These include:

- Causes
- Social good
- Communities
- Personal brands
- Revolutions
- Change

Social media is our chance to do something that‟s bigger than us and that‟s what motivates me.

I believe if Social Media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, „Always pay it
forward and never forget to pay it back…it‟s how you got here and it defines where you‟re going.‟

It‟s about the investment you make in the creation or curation of relevant and useful content. It‟s
about the power and unsaid significance behind a retweet on Twitter, a „like‟ on Facebook, the
friending or following of someone to extend a social graph. It‟s also expressed through the explicit
act of commenting on posts and updates, engaging in online conversation, sharing the contributions
of others as well as linking. These acts serve as the currency of social media and the exchange of
this currency is indexed today by services such as Klout. The net result is the reflection of your
social capital as cast by your digital persona.

2. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and
presence to the next level?

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
There is a balance required to engage, contributing as much or more value than you withdraw from
each interaction.The Social Web is powered not by self-promotion, but by the value of the
community and the selfless act of recognizing, showcasing, and connecting the great people,
content, and causes around us. And with it comes great purpose. If the currency of social media is
action, then the value of social capital is measured in influence. Influence is not measured by a
score, but instead by the culmination of resulting actions. Focusing efforts on solely driving actions is
counter productive. As such, focusing efforts to boost scores is as shallow as it is restricted. If you
invest in the value of the community and seek to improve the experiences of those to whom you‟re
connected, your influence and presence is in turn symbolic of something that escapes a number.
Your investment then pays off in the form of self actualization, reaching higher potential without any
attachment to success or reward.

This is your time to define the „me‟ in social media and invest in the people who define the networks
to learn, grow, and teach to increase the value of the community overall and your place within it.

Remember who you are…build bridges between aspiration and realization.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for
businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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