Mark Schaefer Addresses the Controversial Subject of Scoring Social Media Influence

Klout score has become a new way of matching relevant influencers to relevant brands by providing a social media score.

Social media measurement is a topic of importance and warrants the attention and participation of the advertising industry.

I conducted the following interview of Mark Schaefer, an internationally known business author, marketing consultant and college professor. Mark is the author of the best-selling book, “The Return On Influence: The revolutionary power of Klout, social scoring and influence marketing.”

Here is my review of this book:

Mark Schaefer is to be commended. His book is among the first, if not the first, book on Klout and social media scoring. There’s been a lot of controversy about the subject and the company. There will continue to be a core group of people who absolutely detest it and no matter what information they are presented, it will not persuade them that it can possibly be a good thing.

I thought Mark’s book was very balanced. He points out the controversial issues and addresses the problems straight on. But, he also shares the opportunities and potential of measuring social influence as well.

In writing the book, Mark had exclusive access to Klout and their customers for a year. He made no promises of whether his book would portray a positive or negative image of the company. I found his book to be fair and balanced. 

He was drawn to write the book because it was such an emotionally charged issue. People intuitively hate being rated. But at the same time, major brands such as Audi, American Express and Disney were finding value with it.

Mark was also intrigued by the Klout’s founder, Joe Fernandez, when he heard Fernandez speak at SXSW in 2011. Joe saved the company on at least 6 different occasions, just through his will and tenacity. He fought through almost insurmountable difficulties to see his dream become a reality.

Mark will be the first to tell you that Klout isn’t perfect and no doubt, they will continue to have some hiccups along the way. But, as he points out, they are having to try things, take risks and make changes while everybody is looking on. That is a very hard thing to do.

This book marks another significant, historical development which is taking place right before our eyes. The creation of a standard for measuring personal influence. It’s in it’s infancy. The measuring influence movement has had a bit of a bumpy start but it will only get better with time.

Personal influence is now available to everyone and that is what excites Mark the most. The people who were once overlooked and thought to be insignificant, can now have clout.

In the interview, Mark shares the example of a 22 year old, unemployed college graduate, who had just been informed by Bank of America that she would have to pay a $5 per month fee if she didn’t keep  a balance of $20,000 in her bank account. Struggling to pay off her student loan and make ends meet, this young lady wasn’t going to sit back and take it. In 2 weeks time she had collected over 300,000 signatures for a petition drive that caused Bank of America to rescind their fee. Now that’s clout!

This author wants you to be able to look past the controversy and see the opportunities. That’s what it did for me and why I highly recommend that you read this book for yourself.

Click here to read more reviews or to order the print or Kindle version of “Return on Influence.”

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Michael, I’ve been learning from your blog more than a year now and I just wanted to say I’m enjoying your video interviews very much. We’ve been considering doing the same and you may have just motivated us to dust off our skype recorder and talk to some interesting folks like yourself.

  2. Thanks Matthew. I just invested in some lighting equipment and on a steep learning curve with iMovie. I’m enjoying the interviews and hope to do a lot more this year.

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