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So What Do You Do, Megan Berry, Marketing Manager for Klout?

The blogger and social media whiz has been influencing since the age of 11

- October 12, 2011
It's not good enough to just have a space online these days -- everyone and their grandmother have one of those. It's how you work your Facebook page or mommy blog or political discussion board that makes all the difference. A mere two years out of Stanford with her Phi Beta Kappa credentials a-blazin', Megan Berry is helping folks maximize their media marketing swagger at Klout, a company that measures social media users' influence across networks.

Setting the standard for moving and shaking in the digital space is one of the things she loves. "You're able to break new ground. Right now, best practices are being discovered, whereas in traditional marketing, those best practices are pretty much set," offers Berry, who will be helping people increase their shareability at this month's Socialize West conference. "Community management is really important for business, and finding top advocates and helping them evangelize a brand are becoming really key for every company."

Mere status updates are so passé. It's time to move on to social media strategy.

Name: Megan Berry
Resume: Completed two internships at Palo Alto Software and one at Nombray before being hired as social media and marketing evangelist at Mobclix in 2009. Joined Klout in April 2010 as marketing manager, where she's honing specialties in social media, blogging and influencer marketing. Blogger for Brazen Careerist, Part Time Perfectionist and The Huffington Post.
Birthdate: April 13th
Hometown: Eugene, OR
Education: Bachelor's degree in poli sci from Stanford University. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Marital status: Single
Media idol: "Does Marissa Mayer count?"
Favorite TV show: Modern Family
Guilty pleasure: TV
Last book read: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Twitter handle: @meganberry

How has marketing in the online space shifted over the last five years and how do you expect it to change in the next five?
I think the biggest shift that's been happening, even more than the past five years, is the importance of individual influencers and how we trust our friends and connections as opposed to mass media and ads. So, marketers have been focused on blogger outreach campaigns -- we do our own at Klout, as well -- but overall you see an emphasis on the individual and community-building as opposed to mass messages.

Were you a computer marketing geek at Stanford?
I had my own website when I was 11, and I did programming in high school. But, then when I got to Stanford I became a little more liberal arts-ish. I studied political science there and took all sorts of communications classes. I got more on the people side of technology as opposed to the programming side.

"In the end, your marketing is to serve a purpose, which is to get more users and to get more money."

A lot of folks embrace the communications component of marketing but can't seem to get a grip on the business side. Where's the disconnect and how can they fix it?
I think it's important to back up everything you're doing with metrics. In the end, your marketing is to serve a purpose, which is to get more users and to get more money. You have to make sure that your efforts are backing up to those numbers. Certainly, the tools out there to measure are often imperfect, but you can get really good gauges to help you understand if your campaigns are taking you in the right direction. Things we look at is how many times Klout is mentioned in social networks and on blogs and in PR, as well as looking at how much traffic our site gets from those social media networks and really understanding where people are coming from, what's driving our registration and the re-generation from our campaigns, as well.

We know that the new Plus K feature is a great way for folks to build up their reputations as experts on particular subjects. How did you position yourself as a marketing aficionada?
Certainly through social media platforms, but something that helped me was that I guest listed on Mashable and Huffington Post and other outlets similar to that on social media strategies and tactics. And that helped get my name out there in that field.

What inspired you to build a website at the tender age of 11? Did you parents even understand what you were doing?
Well, I was lucky that my dad was always very big into tech so he helped me with it. But it was a place where you could adopt virtual pets, and I also wrote book reviews. I think I was just interested by the ability to put something out there that people across the globe could see, which now people are so used to that it doesn't seem novel. But, at the time, it was pretty trippy. It stayed up until I was about 16, and then I decided that that website wasn't cool anymore.

You were Klout's second employee, and now you advise other startups. What did you learn firsthand that you impart as business wisdom?
You have to focus on the people and the individuals and build advocates who can then endorse your brand for you. It's become a cliché now, but content is king. You really want to get great content that people want to share and engage with in a way that is positive on all sides. Not just send people ads, but really get them excited about what you're doing. Focus on topics of influence. We look at people who care about wine or people who are influential about technology -- and those tend to have demos that come with them -- but we're more interested in what they're talking about, what they're sharing, what they're engaged in.

"Influence is about creating really great content that other people want to share and engage with."

You're a blogger yourself, so you know how huge the opportunities are. But plenty of people are struggling to figure out how to market their site. How can they set themselves apart in the social media and online marketing space?
I think the important thing is when you're writing, when you're talking to people, when you're engaging, try to put the focus as much as possible on other people. How you can help them, what they're doing that's great, what you want to learn from them. Really make it about them and their actions, and people really appreciate that. You'll start to be known as someone who helps out and offers helpful advice. In general, blogging is about focusing on the audience. If you're writing for a mom blog and you're talking about your own kid, you need to talk about them in a way that other moms can relate to, like how does this matter to them? There are exceptions. There are people who can write autobiographies and people who are really fascinated by them. But, in general, I think there are a limited number of people who are skillful enough writers to really do that.

What's the greatest lesson you've learned about yourself since you started on this career path? How has it impacted your career?
That's a tricky one. I think I've learned to roll with the punches. I had been the type of person who liked to have things fully planned out and scheduled and liked everything in its place. But very quickly, as you get on with media management and social media marketing, you realize that you have to roll with the punches and things are not going to go as planned. You need to adapt very quickly, and that's something I learned on the job.

A lot of people have heard about Klout but aren't on board yet. Can you give us the quick pitch on why people should sign up?
We measure people's influence online. And we believe everyone has influence, so anyone can sign up with Klout. You can find out your influence on up to 12 social networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I think in this day and age we're increasingly talking about personal brand and how your social media presence matters for getting a job and impacts various aspects of your life, and you should at least stay on top of it and understand what it means and how you can leverage it.

What's one thing you'll be sharing at the Socialize conference?
I think, in general, when people ask about influence and how to increase it, it's about creating really great content that other people want to share and engage with. Then, it's about finding other people who are passionate about the same things and connecting with them.

NEXT >> AvantGuildSo What Do You Do, Clara Shih, Founder and CEO of Hearsay Social?

Janelle Harris is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. She documents her editorial adventures at

© WebMediaBrands Inc. 2011. All Rights Reserved.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The foregoing is the sole property of WebMediaBrands Inc. The opinions and views expressed in the interviews and/or commentaries are solely those of the participants and are not necessarily the views of WebMediaBrands Inc., its affiliates or subsidiary companies.

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