If you’re involved with social media (particularly Twitter), you probably know what Klout is. If not, here’s the brief summary. Klout is a metric that measures your online influence and sums it up as a number. Some people live and die by their Klout number, holding fiestas when they gain a point and playing a dirge when the number goes down.
There are numerous factors that affect your online Klout- how many followers you have, how often you’re retweeted, basically how often do people interact with you and how often are they likely to take an action if you do or tell them to. Someone on Twitter recently summarized it as “If you jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would everyone else?”.
But I’d like to take some time today to discuss a different kind of Klout- your offline Klout. What kind of sway do you hold with the people who see you on a daily basis? The ones who sit down to coffee with you? The ones who live in your house? Whether they work for you, with you or are related to you, we all carry a measure of influence that doesn’t have anything to do with social media. So, what can you do to affect your offline Klout score with your family, business associates and your community?
Two words that have a huge impact on your influence are priorities and relationships. Who do you sacrifice for? If you have one hour, where do you spend it? Where are you investing your time, your energy and your money? What are your business ideals and do you stick to them even when it’s difficult? Do you care more about helping others or getting ahead?
If I spend 80 hours a week building my business, working on my influence in my community and creating online Klout but give my family the leftovers, I shouldn’t be surprised when my kids no longer care what I have to say. Even if I’m building my business FOR my family’s benefit, they may still feel left out and neglected if I don’t make time for them on the road to success.
Just this weekend, my husband and I discovered that in our quest to build a business (largely so that we have the flexibility to spend more time with each other and with our children), there are some areas of our children’s lives that we have allowed to slide. We would definitely say that our children are one of our top priorities, but our willingness to move our commitments to them to accommodate client meetings or networking events say otherwise. We’ve re-evaluated what our actions say about our priorities and how that affects our relationship with our children and are taking steps to make corrections in that area.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes have to rearrange things, and sometimes family time does have to take a back seat. But when our families and other relationships start to slip on the priority list, we lose some of the influence we have. When family is ALWAYS where you sacrifice, you can be sure your loved ones notice. And if they feel like they’re always the first to be sacrificed, you can bet you’re losing their trust and your influence.
The same thing can happen in business relationships. If you’re always there for clients at the beginning when you’re trying to win the account but are hard to get in touch with once you have check in hand, it shouldn’t be very difficult for you to figure out why you don’t get much word of mouth business. And when you call that client in six months to recommend a new service or product, I wouldn’t act too shocked when they don’t take your recommendation seriously. They know that their business is not your priority- their check is.
I recently received a referral from someone that I had turned away as a client. She needed a project done that fell outside the scope of our expertise. So, I referred her to someone we trusted who could help her. I followed up with the person I referred her to and kept in touch until she was able to get help. She didn’t refer me because of the quality of our work (we hadn’t done any). She referred us to a friend because she knew that her business success was a higher priority to us than just getting a check.
Remembering that relationships (business and personal) take precedence can help at home and at the office. If I have to push a deadline with a client, that’s likely to go over better if I went out of my way to help answer a question last week, or if I asked about their kids or sent them a copy of an article about their favorite charity. If I have to work late to finish a project, that will go over better with my family if it’s the exception, rather than the rule. If they know I rescheduled a meeting to get them to their lesson or be at the recital or that I always make game night, an occasional sacrifice won’t do too much harm to my “Klout”.
People want to know that you care about them. They want to know that you’re committed to their well-being. They want to know that you value THEIR priorities. Your family wants to know they’re more important than sealing the deal– and so do your clients. Making relationships a priority and acting accordingly is the only way to build your Klout- online or offline.
Want to read more about developing your offline Klout? This blog was part of the usblogs group writing project. You can read more blogs on the topic here.