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Klout vs. Clout: What Does Each Mean for Your Business?

So, I’ve got this friend.

(No, really.)

This friend of mine happens to be a mother, and she had a really terrible experience with a large national chain of childcare providers. Not one to keep quiet about something that could adversely affect others’ experiences as well, she opened up her email and penned a message explaining the situation. Then she sent it on to 40 of her friends.

Also moms.

Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

She’s sort of like the EF Hutton of her circle of influence, and she influences some other very powerful moms.

This is a very connected woman, with a lot of influence — influence that would never show up in terms of numbers on a Twitter account, Facebook page or Klout score. Klout.com is a site that measures the “influence” of people on social media, on a score out of 100. The higher your number, the more influence — clout — you have.

We hear a lot about businesses worried about reaching their “influencers” these days. They throw special events for local bloggers, send gift baskets to people who could give them favorable mentions in social media, and respond only to those people who have high Klout scores when they comment on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll put it this way: It’s definitely possible for a person to have Klout but no real clout — and, of course, the other way around. Then again, it’s possible for someone to have both. So don’t immediately discount those quantifiable “influencer” metrics as meaningless, but don’t ignore customers who don’t seem to have much influence.

Never underestimate the power of a deeply satisfied — or unbelievably disgruntled — customer, no matter what some website tells you about their power to inspire others. Because you may just find that the person you ignore is too busy being successful and influential in real life to mess around with social media, and can still do a lot of damage to your reputation.

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