I first noticed Klout when I saw Klout scores showing up in Hootsuite. When I’d click on a person’s Twitter handle to get more details in Hootsuite, I’d see their Klout score. More recently, I’ve seen tweets about “+K” being given out. Being competitive by nature, my first thought was “what’s my score?” My second thought was, “what does this mean?” Yup, priorities.
Finding out my Klout score was easy. In Hootsuite, I found a message I’d tweeted, clicked on my Twitter handle, and saw my number. Just as easy would be to go to Klout.com and type in my twitter handle.
So, now that I know my score, what does it mean?
According to their website, the Klout score measures a person’s social influence. Once you register, you can add your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Foursquare profiles to be considered for measurement. There are plans to add the Google + profile as well. If you don’t register, you still get a Klout score, but the system won’t know all the accounts to link together, so your score won’t be a full representation. The wider and stronger your influence, the closer to 100 your score gets. This score is then broken down into three parts – True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Influence.
In order to calculate these scores, Klout measures 25+ factors, and does some fancy math that calculates each person’s score. According to their website, the factors they evaluate include: Followers, Mutual Follows, Friends, Total Retweets, Unique Commenters, Unique Likers, Follower/Follow Ratio, Followed Back %, @ Mention Count, List Count, List Followers Count, Unique Retweeters, Unique Messages Retweeted, Likes Per Post, Comments Per Post Follower Retweet %, Unique @ Senders, Follower Mention %, Inbound Messages Per Outbound Message, Update Count, List inclusions, Unique Senders, Unique Likers, Influence of Followers, Influence of Retweeters and Mentioners, Influence of Friends, Influence of Likers and Commenters. Yup, that’s a lot!
What Klout is attempting to do is look beyond just the number of followers a person has, or the number of times they’ve tweeted. The goal here is to determine their influence. This influence is measured in part by the number of followers… but more so by the number of those followers who act on their message. This action could be to retweet, like, leave a comment, or reply to a message.
So why do I care?
This is another tool I can use to measure my performance in the Social Media world. And, it is a number that potential media partners might use when deciding to work with me.
As I see my score go up or go down, it gives me insight into my performance in Social Media. And there are perks. Literally. If you register with Klout, depending on your score, you can get free products. This ranges from movie tickets to deodorant, and comes no-strings-attached. In order to take advantage of any perks offered to you, all you have to do is say yes. Tweeting, blogging, or posting on Facebook about your free perk won’t affect your score or your eligibility for future perks (although it is encouraged). Currently, most of these perks are US based.
For me, it is a cool tool, that comes with treats. Well, if you consider the four-pack of deodorant that showed up on my doorstep last week a “treat.”
Aside from potential perks, if you’re someone who keeps an eye on the number of followers you have on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, then you’ll enjoy Klout. Learning what kind of influence you have over your followers will give you a better idea of how you impact your audience.
What’s the downside?
No single number can give anyone a full picture of a person. The major flaw for me in the Klout scoring system is that it only measures social media profiles. It doesn’t measure the influence I have on my blog. And as a blogger, that’s a big gap. It also only allows me to add a single twitter handle. I’m also not convinced on how great a job it does of measuring Facebook influence. Many of us bloggers have influence on our personal Facebook profile, as well as our blog’s fan page.
Klout provides a list of what it thinks you’re influential about. Among the topics I’m considered influential about are crafterminds, sewing, and creativity. Cool! Other topics Klout thinks I’m influential on are parties, Las Vegas, and children. I’m not convinced on the accuracy of these last things… I’m not exactly a party gal (unless you count linky parties), I live in Las Vegas but wouldn’t consider myself influential on the subject… and I’m confident that I have no influence when it comes to children. I have a 2 1/2 year old who I exert absolutely no influence over on a daily basis. Regardless of effort.
I’m also unsure about the whole “giving someone +K” thing. Every day that I log in to Klout, I can give up to 5 people “+K” on a topic they are influential on. However, I haven’t read anything that tells me that it will affect that person’s Klout score in any way. It looks like it is more of an “affirmation” rather than a part of the measuring tool. Which seems strange to me because this means that giving someone +K (an action that happens on the Klout platform) has less impact on a person’s Klout score than re-tweeting, replying, or liking that same person’s actions off of the Klout platform.
Although Klout isn’t perfect, it is a good start, and I can see more marketing companies looking at this score as they consider which social media “personalities” to work with. I would recommend setting up your profile with Klout, adding any profiles you’re comfortable adding, and checking in on your score every now and then.
I should add that Klout is still in “Beta” mode. They’re still working on the program and updating it to make it more powerful. In my opinion, if they add the ability for a user to add multiple profiles per platform, include Facebook fan pages, and recognize the power of blogs by offering bloggers code to put on our sites to measure traffic stats, and track keywords… they could have the most powerful metric currently available for agencies and brands to decide who they want to do business with.
More reading on how Klout works: