This is one of those topics I’ve often wondered about, “so, what about Klout? Does it matter? Should I be concerned?”
In case you weren’t sure, Klout is a platform that allows you to plug in your social networks and social media habits, which in turn crunches your data to give you a “score.” This score helps you discover how you influence the world. The higher your score, the more influential you are. I guess you could say it’s like your social media credit score.
Bunk? Woo-woo? That’s what I’ve been wondering. However, as near as I can tell there might be some fairly solid validity to Klout scores and why people keep track of them. After doing some reading and a lot of questioning, there appears to be a heavy connection between business opportunities and this new thing called personal influence.
For the first time ever, companies can now identify, quantify and even reward valuable word-of-mouth influencers who have the power to drive demand for their products. – Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence.
There was a time when social media was measured in followers and fans. But that can lead to spam, tricks, and shady tactics to gain these fans and followers, which caused some to question the true social influence of others. This created a yearning for tools that would measure “your true overall online influence.”
Klout primarily uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, along with over 35 different variables to determine your real social media reach. To achieve this, Klout groups your score into three different metrics: True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Influence.
The benefit to keeping your Klout score high is showing other users you are influential, and in turn, you see who is as well. If you are committed to working social media, logging in the necessary time on the major social platforms by engaging and connecting, you will be rewarded in the form of a decent Klout score. Will this Klout score help you with anything such as sustainable business growth, increased knowledge, or better professionalism? That remains to be seen.
Klout is far from a perfect science. As I looked deeper into Klout, I found it appeared that there are some in the online world who can have a decent Klout score without a real-world presence or even opposable thumbs. A good example would be the Aflac Duck with a Klout score of 80 (definitely higher than my score) and the Geico Gecko with a score of 53.
Another downside is the fact you have to use social media like a hyper teenager if you want to get a good score. Take a vacation, or get swamped at work and your beloved score dips. There have also been complaints from users that their algorithms are easily fooled. The proof to this claim stems from the existence of websites dedicated to revealing how to manipulate the algorithms within Klout. But if you like the idea of taking your social influence temperature, and want to build your Klout score, Social Media Examiner suggests these three steps:
- Build a relevant network that includes a content strategy and a network strategy.
- Have a strategy to provide exceedingly useful, helpful, interesting and entertaining content.
- Systematically engage influencers who are most willing to distribute your content.