If you’re not sure what Klout is, it’s the leading social scoring platform as a way of measuring your influence online. It connects with just about every major social network but not Pinterest interestingly enough. Using a highly proprietary algorithm Klout looks at all your connected accounts to see how people are connecting with your posts.
Are you being retweeted? Mentioned? Liked? Shared? +1’d? It’s all tracked and crunched to derive your ongoing score. Since I’m in to all the social stuff I set up a Klout account a while back.
I’ve not paid too much attention to it as I agree with those who say that Klout misses the boat when it comes to people like Seth Godin who doesn’t use social media but obviously has a high degree of influence via his blog. Then there’s also the controversy around Justin Bieber having a higher Klout score than Barack Obama. According to Klout, online no one rules over Justin’s ability to move the masses.
But don’t discount Klout completely. They also look at the content of your social posts to see what you’re influential about, aka your Topics. My top 3 are social media, business, and marketing. These are topics I feel I have some expertise in. Klout continues to refine their algorithm to be more accurate and I can see they are achieving that.
So, how can Klout benefit you? Well, in a few ways:
It’s an instant indicator of your heft in social media. Like it or not your score says something about your ability to make things happen online.
It could help you get a job related to social media. Your prospective employer needs to use some outside information to know more about you and your Klout score might be relevant to them.
You might win the respect of new followers by having a high score. By the way, 40 is considered a high score.
You might get perks. I recently was awarded a one-day pass to an American Airlines lounge in one of 40 airports because I have a Klout score above 55. This is part of Klout’s new Perks program, which partners with brands to award people on Klout with high scores certain incentives. Of course, when we get those perks we tweet and post about them as I did when I got this one. Brands figure if they reward the right people they’ll get more exposure than if they rewarded just anyone.
Why would Klout mean nothing to you? Well, for starters, you don’t need to be connected to Klout. It’s up to you. Next, your Klout score might get you some cool things, but it’s really your content, helpfulness, authentic knowledge and powerful network that gets things done, score or no score. This will always be the case. Thus, if you were influential before Klout, you’re probably still influential.
When it comes to a room full of strangers though, we appreciate a little insight in to who’s who. Twitter is a really big room full of a lot of strangers. In that regard Klout could be a useful way to find people we’d like to connect with because we know they very well might have influence that could help us in some way.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t connect with people with low scores. Indeed, Klout even recommends that you engage with everyone. It would be silly to do otherwise since it’s not a perfect system and some people who are newly online may have a strong network that Klout has no clue about…yet.
If you’re active on social media, then I believe it’s worth your time to go to Klout and connect your accounts to see how you rank. Mark Schaefer wrote an interesting book on the subject of online influence entitled, Return On Influence. You’ll learn a lot more by reading it.
At this point it looks like Klout is becoming more important, not less. Their influence is rising as more brands start partnering with them to find those people online who can move people by their posts. It's an efficient way to move people that move other people. They are also the leading metric in this area, which is a good position to be in. They've earned their seat at the social table and will be there for some time to come.
Are you on Klout? What do you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments.