Does Your Blog Matter? Tracking Your Influence

crowdIn the coming months I’m definitely going to diving deep into the topic of influence; be that influence online, in person, or in business. The fact of the matter is that you are either an influencer, or you are being influenced. Hopefully there is some balance between the two.

But if you’re trying to influence people, and you’re not, you might be doing more harm than good. This is true professionally, personally, and communally.

Today’s post is an introduction to all of this. It’s written by someone I introduced you to last week, Amanda Lindley. After our discussion last week about ways to increase blog traffic, she offered to write a guest post about influence. I couldn’t refuse!

So without further ado, enter Amanda Lindley…

Amanda L. is the Web Content Manager for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Follow her here.

I can’t tell you how many times each week I find myself trying to convince people that they need to be active on social media. Among these people are some of the best evangelizers and catechizers I know… but are they as influential as we, as a Church, need them to be?

Have you ever sat in your pew at Mass and thought, “wow, I wish I had a recording of this homily?” Or have you ever gone to an incredible spiritual conference or had a great conversation with your spiritual director and thought “I need to share this person’s Christ-filled message with all of my friends?”  I know I have.

While there are so many incredible homilists, spiritual thinkers, and overall great evangelizers from the Catholic Church already engaged on social media, imagine how powerful we, the Church, would be if all of our best preachers and communicators were online for the entire world to experience. We could help change so many hearts!

The problem with this idea is that so many of these powerful evangelizers don’t see the value in online evangelization through social media. Okay, so most of these people probably don’t come out and say that exactly. Their reasons for not being online usually have more to do with time constraints than anything. But what if your pastor really did see the value online influence can add to their vocation as a shepherd? Do you think he would take that hour each day to upload his homily online or share a few spiritual tweets or Facebook posts? Maybe.

Good news is the metrics for measuring online influence are readily available for everyone and if you care about sharing the Gospel message online, it’s probably good for you to know what sort of impact you are actually having.

There are a number of different ways to measure your reach online. For starters, if you have a blog or website you probably use, or should use, Google Analytics to see how many people are visiting site. The cool thing about these analytics is that you can really see how people are coming to your site and can help you understand the importance of your social media efforts to drive traffic to your blog or website and your SEO, or search engine optimization efforts. (Here is a great guide to understanding SEO).

But other than measuring the traffic that social media can help drive to your site, how can you measure your online social influence? My favorite tool to use is Klout (but you can also use Sprout Social or Facebook Insights to gain “analytics”) I joke that pretty soon employers will be asking for Klout scores on job appl.ications and everyone will have their score on their resumes. Though, I’m not the only one who kind of thinks that is the case… Checkout this old post from Forbes.com.

The way that Klout works is it takes your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, etc.) and you’re evaluated each day based on your influence. Klout measures your score based on things like “mentions” on Facebook, “re-tweets” on Twitter, or “comments” on Google+.

Measuring your influence online isn’t to show how popular you are or how many people think you’re clever. It’s about making sure that you are doing everything you can to help get the Good News out to everyone. You might find that a few changes in your online presentation (your blog titles, your blog content, your Tweet content) can help you increase your online influence. And who knows… if that happens maybe your influence, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can help save a few souls.

Ryan Eggenberger is a partner at Little Flower Strategies, LLC. He writes about travel, marketing, and his terrible parking skills. Follow him on twitter at @RyanEggenberger.