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An image taken from the Klout website.

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Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail's marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe's marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

As marketers are on the hunt for the most influential voices on social media, it would appear that for some, Klout does not have much clout.

It is just one of the "social scoring" services – others include Kred , Technorati and PeerIndex – that purport to have a def initive handle on who the "influencers" are on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. As the conversation becomes louder thanks to these platforms, brands are increasingly trying to stand out and make their brands speak in a way that works with the social space.

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Sometimes, that effort involves reaching out to people who already have a following to entreat them to speak for a brand. According to a new study, this type of influence marketing is growing: 74 per cent of people surveyed who work in marketing and public relations said they plan to use "influence marketing strategies" in the next six months. But while the majority had used some type of scoring service to measure influence, almost all of them – 94 per cent – said they "don't fully trust the metrics of social influence scoring platforms."

The findings are based on a global survey of roughly 1,300 professionals around the world – about a fifth of them in Canada. The respondents work both at agencies and in marketing or PR for companies.

It is of interest because – as the power of the conversations happening online have grown, and brands have seen the ability to control the conversation about them slipping away, the number of services claiming to have a definitive handle on social marketing metrics has exploded. Their effectiveness, however, is still in question.

"Results of the … study illustrate the lack of satisfaction and increasing distrust of their scoring," ArCompany Inc. executive Danny Brown said in a release. "According to the marketers surveyed, the gap between need and solution is growing."

More of the study's findings:

Have you adopted social influence campaigns in the past?

  • 36.5 per cent: Yes, occasionally
  • 28 per cent: Yes, they’re a key part in the majority of our marketing campaigns
  • 16.3 per cent: No –15.3 per cent: Currently assessing the viability and cost/resources required
  • 3.9 per cent: Other

Do you trust social influence scores provided by social influence platforms?

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  • 68.7 per cent: Not really – it’s a helpful starting point to filter out potential influencers but not a standalone measurement
  • 25.2 per cent: No – there have been too many examples of scores being gamed and people being classed as experts on a topic but having little actual knowledge
  • 2.7 per cent: Yes, the higher the score the more influential the person
  • 3.4: Other

What [portion] of your marketing efforts will be allocated to social media influence in the next 12 months?

  • 0.82 per cent: Zero
  • 14.6 per cent: Less than one-tenth
  • 16.7 per cent: One-tenth to one-fifth
  • 53.9 per cent: One-fifth to a half 14 per cent: Half or more
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