David Graham's passion is business-to-business digital marketing with a specific focus on value networking and inbound marketing. He consults on business-to-business digital marketing strategy and execution, with... More
If you look at the Oxford Dictionary definition of Influence, it states that it is the “Capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something”.
The Oxford dictionary definition of behaviour is “The way in which an animal or person behaves in response to a particular situation or stimulus”.
Taking these definitions into consideration, I would argue that if, through your participation on social media, you are able to stimulate a person to behave in response to a particular situation or stimulus, you have influence. The behaviour in question could be a call to action (eg subscribe to a newsletter, follow on Twitter, Facebook Like, join a Google+ circle, reply to an email, phone you or request a meeting) or have social media influencers (and others) give you a K+ for subjects where they believe you are influential.
Taking this one step further, if, through your participation on social media, you are invited to present at a conference (where you identify an opportunity which turns into a billable engagement) or you are referred to a decision maker within a large corporate (which turns into a billable engagement) and this “influence” is a result of general sentiment provided by the people you interact with on social media, then I believe that Klout has it’s merits.
Klout is not the definitive measure of influence but at least provides an indication of how a person is perceived by those within their networks. Another strong indicator that Klout must not be ignored is the fact that that nearly every person on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer List in the US actively participates on Klout. Neal Schaffer of Windmill Networking (Number 28 on the Forbes Top 50 list) and Marsha Collier (Number 31 on the Forbes Top 50 list) both have high Klout scores and both happen to run very successful online businesses. This cannot be a coincidence. I converse with Neal and Marsha regularly on social media and will invite them to comment.