Do you have Klout?

What is the appeal of Klout, a service which provides social media analytics that measures a user’s influence across their social network? The Klout Score uses data from a user’s social networks like Twitter and Facebook in order to measure:

True Reach – This measures the number of people you influence. It concentrates on the people who act on the content posted by a user, by responding or sharing it.

AmplificationHow much do you influence people? When a users posts a message or other content, how many people spread it further?

Network Impact – This measures indicates the influence by the people in my “True Reach”. How often do ‘top influencers’ (think Robert Scoble or Lady Gaga) share or respond to a user’s content?

The analysis is done on data taken from sites such as Twitter and Facebook and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content. Klout recently added LinkedIn, Foursquare, and YouTube data to its algorithm. Scores vary from 0-100, with 100 being the most influential.
Apart from giving you a score, Klout will also provide you with a ‘label’ based on your score and online behaviour; for instance, am I a ‘celebrity’, a ‘tastemaker’ or ‘thought leader’? To me personally these kinds of labels don’t mean that much to me, but I can well imagine that people will look at their scores and labels, which brings me back to the original question,what kind of people do care about their Klout Score and why?
  1. Social media junkies – I can well imagine that if you spend a lot of time on platforms like Twitter or Facebook you want to see what your impact is, even it’s just for fun.
  2. Am I having an impact? Klout will help you in figuring out the impact of the content you put out through your social media networks; who is responding to it and how?
  3. Am I making the right impact? I’ve seen posts from social media consultants advising people to use Klout as part of their ‘influencer strategy’, which I guess comes down to assessing whether you’re acting as a ‘thought leader’ or ‘tastemaker’ and if you’e reaching your target audience.
  4. Tailor your content strategy – Using Klout to generate insights regarding points 2. and 3. can help you in (re) assessing your content strategy and in making sure its customised to meet the needs and interests of your target audience.
  5. Other business related stuff – This is where things in my opinion get a bit murkier, but there are social media consultants who suggest using Klout scores to for example create candidate shortlists for job interviews, to put certain people on guest lists or to accept speakers (with a minimum Klout score) for an event.

Main learning point: Having looked into it, I can imagine who would use Klout and why. If you’re very active in the social media space, have got something to sell (be it content, a service or a product) or are generally interested in finding out your social media impact, then Klout can be a helpful tool. However, by its own admission, the Klout score is susceptible to people gaming the system and pulling all kinds of simple tricks to improve their score. Especially in cases where businesses start using the Klout score to select job candidates or invite people to events, it all becomes a bit too tricky for my liking. In short: I can see why people use it but it wouldn’t be for me!

Related links for further learning:

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