It’s About Their Influence, Stupid

Last Friday a friend asked me, “so, explain to me why my brand should care about my Klout score.” This friend happens to be a marketing big wig of a very large brand. I thought about it for a minute, and I said something about measurement of engagement and awareness…and I rambled on about credibility index, etc. Generally, I think Klout is an arbitrary guess at the trustworthiness of someone’s reliability.


Not less than a day later I had an experience that changed my perception, so of course I have to tell a story.

Because, ultimately, I believe this vendor did the right thing (see epilogue), I am going to keep the details of the story fairly vague. Sorry if you’re looking for juicy details.

The Story

Earlier during the week, I encountered a problem with my iPhone and I turned to Twitter for guidance on how to fix my problem. Immediately, I received multiple responses. Each suggestion varied slightly in cost, risk, and time. The cheapest and quickest option caught my attention. Based on the detailed recommendation of someone in my network, I paid a visit to the recommended vendor on Saturday to solve my problem.

My immediate observations:

  • The recommendation was accurate
  • Price was as suggested
  • Time frame was as suggested
  • Vendor seemed friendly

So, I entrusted one of my highest valued possessions to the vendor. Although the whole operation was to only take about 45 minutes, through a series of mistakes and mishaps, it took more than 4 hours. Finally, it was determined that the operation could not be completed until Monday, and all data and information would be locked for the weekend, which was a real bummer since much of the material for my class on Monday was stored on the phone. I was told, “this will be our first priority on Monday morning and if we cannot fix it, we will replace it.”

Despite needing some of the information for my social media marketing class, I made alternative arrangements over the weekend. Monday came and having heard nothing from the vendor, I decided to stop by and check on the status prior to taking the short trip to Chattanooga. When the manager, incidentally the person that handled the case on Saturday, acknowledged me, I asked, “so, what’s the status on my phone?”

“We haven’t made any progress on it,” the manager said.

“Okay…well, it was supposed to be the first priority this morning, and I have not received an update. I just want to get an idea of when to expect the device repaired or a new device.” I asked. Then things escalated dramatically. Granted, I was frustrated. I had been patient to this point, but no updates and seemingly no priority, I wanted answers, so I said, “I need to know the process…if you are not able to make an adequate repair by a certain date, you will replace the phone. What is that date?”

That’s when the store manager lost all composure. He called me an “ass hole” and became very obstinate. I don’t recall all of the details, but over the next three minutes the store manager gave me a bricked phone and told me to get the “F* out of his store.” Fortunately, I didn’t.

While the manager went to cool off, I called the owner, franchisor, and any other decision maker that I could contact. Then a nice young man came to the front and asked how he could help. I explained the situation, and he said that he believed he could help me if I would give him some time to work on it.

Finally, in early evening, the polite technician called to say that everything was working, and I could pick up the phone at my convenience. What a relief.

Social Media Slaughter?

Now at any point, I could have taken to Twitter to slaughter this vendor. I checked in on Foursquare and had already typed the most damming “tip” that I had ever written. A Facebook checkin and status update about a manager cussing me out would have surely generated some feedback. Of course, they still had my phone, so I was going to play it cool until I got it back.

The point is that this manager had no idea who I was and that was the problem. Now, to be clear, I’m not being braggadocios–he simply didn’t know who I was. I could have been the Governor’s son-in-law or prince Harry’s best friend, and he had no clue when he set in on his rampage. I happen to have a decent Klout score, and people read a few of my updates and posts from time to time. But, whatever triggered the manager, he jeopardized his brand to attack.

How Much Does a Brand’s Influence Matter?

So, back to the original question, “explain to me why my brand should care about my Klout score.” 

  • Your Brand is in the hands of your customers
  • It’s Not YOUR Influence that matters, it’s your customers’ influence that does.
  • You better know your customers and how much influence they have (especially before cussing them out)
  • If you aren’t “listening,” you’re in trouble
So, ultimately, the brand’s Klout score is irrelevant. Is the “Brand’s” influence anything more than the culmination of all of their brand advocates?


On the drive home from Chattanooga, the owner of the vendor called me to apologize. He told me that I could pick up my phone whenever I wanted and that he zeroed out my bill. When I told him that I had held back on social media, he said, “I know, and I appreciate it…I’m looking at your Twitter page right now.”

Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.