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Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing [Hardcover]

Mark Schaefer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 April 2012

Winner of a Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title Award!

We are on the cusp of a marketing revolution.
And it is being led by you.

Return on Influence is the first book to explore how brands are identifying and leveraging the world’s most powerful bloggers, tweeters, and YouTube celebrities to build product awareness, brand buzz, and new sales.

In this revolutionary book, renowned marketing consultant and college educator Mark W. Schaefer shows you how to use the latest breakthroughs in social networking and influence marketing to achieve your goals through:

  • In-depth explanations of the sources of online influence—and how they can work for or against you
  • Interviews with more than 50 experts, including tech blogger Robert Scoble, Influence author Robert Cialdini, and industry thought leaders such as Mitch Joel, Jay Baer, and Christopher S. Penn
  • An insider’s look at the controversial social scoring company Klout and its process for assigning influence numbers to everyone
  • Practical, actionable tips to increase your own personal power and online influence
  • More than a dozen original social influence marketing case studies

Even if you already use social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, or blogging to maintain an online presence, this eye-opening, action-ready guide shows you how to reach the “superconnectors” who ignite epidemics through word-of-mouth influence . . . and become one yourself.

This is the future of marketing at your fingertips: low-cost, high-speed, influence driven, and powerful. Filled with fascinating case studies, interviews, and insider advice, this essential guide prepares you for the next wave of social networking. This is how to win friends and influence people in the digital age—with a Return on Influence.

Praise for Return on Influence:

“Influence is the ability to cause, affect, or change behavior. Mark Schaefer helps you define the outcomes you wish to see . . . and measure them!”
—Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual

“Schaefer’s book has earned its place on the shelf of anyone looking to find influencers—or become one.”
—Harold Burson, founder, Burson-Marsteller

Return on Influence is definitive, exciting, and endlessly practical. In an age where marketing budgets are tight and getting tighter, social media—and particularly influence marketing—has become the silver bullet to solve all problems. Consider this book the marksmen’s manual.”
—Rick Wion, Director of Social Media, McDonald’s

“I could not stop reading this book. Mark Schaefer demystifies the power of influence in this insider’s guide to combining content strategy with network interactions to create social conversations that move markets.”
—Ardath Albee, author of eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale

“A fascinating exploration at how you track and increase your online influence. Real-world strategies for real-world companies.”
—Randy Gage, author of Prosperity Mind

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071791094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071791090
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"This book is a pathfinding contribution on how social media platforms are reconstructing the traditional concept of influence. Schaefer demonstrates that the world of social media has enormous consequences (opportunities and problems) for people and organizations that seek online power and influence. The book is supercharged with examples, interviews, and case studies detailing the experiences and thoughts of industry leaders. Among the many attractive attributes of the book are appendixes that feature an excellent social media primer and a description of how the leading websites and platforms measure online personal influence. Schaefer offers a splendid description of Klout, the undisputed market leader among companies that measure the level of online influence. Many practical ideas are put forth on how to improve a Klout score by building a relevant network; a clear strategy to provide compelling content; and a system to engage those influencers and advocates most likely to distribute one's content virally. The book is essential for those who want a thorough understanding of online influence--how to gain it and why it is so important to organizations and individuals. Summing Up: Essential. Marketing and social media collections at all levels." (Choice 2013-01-01)

About the Author

Mark Schaefer is the director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and has 28 years of global sales and marketing experience and advanced degrees in business and applied behavioral sciences. He is an award-winning business writer, university lecturer, and innovator, receiving seven international patents for new product ideas with Fortune 100 companies. He serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for marketers 27 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
A deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by social media is a given for any successful marketer nowadays. And no strand of social media marketing is currently in greater need of scrutiny and explanation than that the (very controversial) topic of 'social influence' measurement.

Whether you're an individual wondering how best to leverage your personal 'social capital', or in an organisation seeking to find ways of using influence measures to benefit your marketing activities, this book is essential reading. It's full of real-life examples and anecdotes from people who are currently pushing the boundaries in this field. And Schaefer has not allowed his obvious passion for the subject to prevent him from highlighting the darker side of social scoring, particularly the very real risk that it will end up exacerbating existing economic, financial and social disparities.

It's hard to argue that over the course of recent decades, traditional ideas of social class have not, at least to some extent, been eroded. And this is seen by most as being a very positive thing. Looking ahead, however, it seems certain that very different measures of 'social' status and influence - are going take root in society with the long-term potential to be every bit as significant on people's lives. And although these measures will largely be driven by online behaviour, their application will extend deep into the offline world as well.

So, whether we like it or not, the companies at the forefront of the social scoring industry, such as Peer Index, Kred and Klout, are set to become hugely important in all our lives. There are clear parallels with risk / credit scoring agencies and this point is well made in the book.

'Return on Influence' offers a timely perspective on the key issues. I congratulate Mr Schaefer on turning a relatively niche (though, I guarantee, not for much longer!) topic into a genuinely entertaining read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary but beware its assumptions 20 May 2012
By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Early on in Mark Schaefer's book Return on Influence there is a graph showing the level of traffic to Quora as it progressed from launch in early 2010 to hot trendy site in early 2011. There is a massive spike in traffic during that transition, triggered by Robert Scoble's eulogising post "Is Quora the Biggest Blogging Innovation in 10 Years?".

Superficially, this is a great example of online influence at work. A former mid-level employee turned himself into an online celebrity via use of social media and now can help make sites a success with just one post of praise.

And yet... take a closer look at the graph. Ignore the spike and instead draw a trend line through the earlier data points. Extend it beyond the spike and what do you find? The post-spike traffic levels were pretty much just what you would have expected without any Scoble-inspired spike. Did he really make a difference or was his post and its attention just froth on an underlying trend?

Schafer is certainly a good enough author not to ignore such questions, and he even quotes Scoble expressing some doubts over the long-term importance of his own post. But the doubts that are mentioned never really are allowed to get in the way of the main argument in the book, which ploughs on regardless.

That is that the rise of the internet and then social media have created a new breed of citizen influencers who can make or break products and services, and who need understanding, engaging and nurturing if you want to make your own product or service a success. As a guide to doing that, the book is an excellent manual, going from the eye-catching anecdotes to pep up your case through to detailed how to advice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air. 1 Jun 2014
By Ross Boardman VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have lost count of the volume of stuff I have read about social media. About 95% of it is total BS. Someone trying to sell you on a gizmo or service to "boost" your ratings. Mark Schaefer consistently writes in the other 5%.

The main theme is the social measurement tool Klout and some similar systems. Klout measures the amount of influence a user has across their various platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. It calculates a score based on the amount of people you have in your communities and how they interact with what you and what youvpost. The higher the Klout score the more influential these people are in their subjects. Someone with a high Klout score could start to receive perks in the hope that they will spread the word. The other advantage is in working out how they rate as a customer or as an employee.

Mark explains all of this very well. There is no messing about, he talks to the right people to get the right answers. When he talks about Klout, he has already had several discussions with the founder, Joe Fernandez.

There is some very practical information here that is useful for both marketers AND influencers. It is an intelligently written book which never attempts to baffle or schmooze. The words are clear and unambiguous. His final thoughts and predictions are, I suspect, very accurate.

I came away with a lot of good advice which will be turned into action.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Learn how to grow your influence, fast! 8 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
‘Return on Influence’ by Mark Schaefer is a very worthwhile read if you’re interested in the collision between social media and influence. The book charts the rise and preponderance of social media channels in our lives and outlines clearly how both individuals and corporations are using the Web to grow their brand; be it personal or corporate.

Schaefer presents the age of the influence democracy in which we all can have our say and, more or less, work from a level playing field. This is not to say that the age of celebrity influence is dead; far from it. But rather that, as citizen influencers, we all have the potential to make a noise and be heard.

Behind all this sits the still nascent and murky world of data, measurement and complex algorithms. Leading this arms race is Klout, a company which trawls the social web and calculates your influence based on any number of interaction and engagement variables. Schaefer presents a balanced view of the pros and cons of this reality from the system gamers on the one hand to brands who harness the power of this new data effectively and individuals who share fresh content and ideas. Scary all this may be but Schaefer makes clear that we are viewing the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Thankfully, research shows that just creating noise in the social stratosphere is not the panacea of all Klout ills and that it is authenticity, originality combined with consistency which wins the day; or rather spikes your Klout score!

The book is well researched, neatly structured, thorough and sprinkled with enriching references, anecdotes and case studies.
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