What is Klout?
Klout is a mobile and web application that was designed to aid social analytics. The site was launched in 2008 by founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran. The goal of Klout is to measure the influence a person has across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and other platforms. Using an algorithm, Klout pulls in all the information is has from these networks and uses it to establish your Klout Score. Your Klout score is a number between 1-100. The higher the score, the more influence you have… according to Klout.
How is it measured?
Your Klout score is based on an algorithm and there are many factors within that algorithm. Some are known, most are not. The company changes and updates this algorithm regularly.
Why People Care
Since it’s launch, Klout has differently attracted a bag full of mixed opinions. Back in 2012, Klout spokeswoman
likened the site to an ‘SAT Score’ and similarly to the way SAT Scores affect your ability to get into a University, has openly said they should be used as a factor in choosing the best person for a role in your business or another business. Around the same time,
their interest in using this metric as part of the recruitment process.
Many business owners began putting increasing their Klout score as a main priority believing that it would provide high authority among their communities. Specifically, they believed this authority would turn them into social influencers that could easily attract new opportunities they could cash in on. Social Influencers that become socialites with celebrity status so to speak. Many still do and take their Klout Score extremely seriously.
Should You Care?
This is where the controversy lies. Your Klout score is a number. It doesn’t take into account the real status of people on a quantitive level and other than a few subject areas, it doesn’t go into any real detail about what you are influential in.
The reality is that it’s a surface static. It’s something that you can keep an eye on and if it suddenly increases or drops, it should be explored. It could lead to valuable data that can be used to enhance your social media strategy on a consistent basis. However, it’s still just a surface stat… it holds very little relevance as a small business owner especially if you are location based.
Many of the mass population don’t even realise Klout exists and very few use it to determine which business they buy from. The reality is we
are not numbers, we are people. You have to scratch below the surface to see our values, our abilities and our potential. You just can’t quantify someone’s worth like that.
If you are location based, you might be extremely influential in the community you serve online and offline but are completely unknown to the wider world. This might not be reflected in your Klout score but is extremely relevant to your business because that local influence can convert sales.
It can also be gamed. You can type Klout cheats into Google and it will give you a ton of ways to ‘hack’ the system. The company has made multiple updates and algorithm changes to make this more accurate and a lot less easy to game e.g. the introduction of content curation. However, it still does happen. When it does, communities see through this.
The best advice I can give you…
Instead of worrying about increasing your Klout score, focus on the metrics and more importantly, the people that matter to your business. They are the ones that pay your bills, build your business and allow you to do what you love every day. Spending time engaging with them, nurturing those relationships and showing them why you are a business they would want to invest their money in.
Sales are quantifiable. That’s a metric you should prioritise.
As for social media, focus on building relationships with people that hold the influence over that metric, your customers and your prospects.