Since Klout, the online measuring tool for social influence, was launched in 2009, over 100 million people now have a Klout score. Everyone has an opinion about Klout, whether it’s good or bad, but it’s hard to ignore and not get sucked into it…
What is Klout anyway?
Klout is an online tool that measures the social influence of a person or brand across a number of social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more recently, YouTube which was added in August and Google+, which was added last month.
Based on your ability to drive action, Klout scores you between 1 and 100 (with 100 being the most influential). It uses data from the range of social networks to measure your true reach (how many people you influence), amplification (how much you influence them e.g. when people respond to your messages and share it) and your network impact (the influence of your network). In short, it measures whether people trust and like you enough to respond to the things you talk about.
Should you care about your Klout score?
Klout has always been something I’ve looked at and have had fun with whilst comparing scores with different people in the office on a personal level, but nothing more. However, while managing our client’s social media accounts and recording who is following them, I’ve taken their Klout score into consideration. The bottom line of Klout is that it gives me a good indication of how our social media efforts are working out.
It also helps me discover who the big players in our client’s industry are, follow and engage with them and have them follow us back.
But it should be taken into consideration that it shouldn’t be used as the only tool to decide who to follow as we do come across people who seem to have a very high Klout score – but only post spam or advertising, so we know that Klout can be gamed (as with many other things on the internet) and Klout can’t measure every type of influence, so it’s not the be all and end all and, perhaps, should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Other benefits of Klout?
After Klout took to the spotlight more recently, I discovered ‘Klout Perks’ which are used primarily by US brands who offer exclusive products or experiences that you can earn based on your influence. Previous examples were gift cards from various online retailers, tickets to events and hotel discounts.
But when accessing these perks, I got excited to see that a perk was available to me – a free sample of hair gel from Axe. However, the tagline on the ad was ‘Finally… a strong hold that she’ll want to touch’… hang on a second… then I read the spiel “When it comes to a guy’s hair, male and female satisfaction are often at odds…” I am definitely a girl, and I thought that Klout would be able to find this info using Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn’s API.
Anyway, I ignored this and tried to claim it anyway, but a message popped up saying “This perk is for US residents only” which is a fail, considering that information is on my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn and Klout has access to the API’s for these social networking sites.
A bit of an anti-climax and obvious room for improvement from Klout, but I am hoping that UK companies will jump on the Klout bandwagon soon.
At the moment I have a Klout score of 51 (just over half way there to getting the perfect score of 100 like @JustinBieber), and for an unknown reason Klout tells me I’m influential about hotels and the Maldives (might have tweeted that I’m going on holiday there in the past), so I have my fingers crossed that a company will give me a free holiday one day.
At the moment, Klout is fun and can be useful, but we don’t need to become slaves to this measurement tool yet. Only time will tell whether Klout will be 100% reliable, we will just have to wait and see!