What is Klout?

Do you have clout? How about Klout?

Klout? What’s that?

Klout (www.klout.com) is a company, started by Joe Fernandez, that set out with the goal of measuring your Social Media Influence. Social Media Influence generally defined as one’s ability to drive action to your social media friends. Typically, this would be measured by how likely your content will get liked, re-tweeted, interacted-with, shared, or viewed.

Klout uses complex math to give weight to people’s actions as well.

I have a friend, Liz P., who “likes” a lot of stuff on Facebook. She’s a daily, active user. On the other hand, I’m friends with a lot of “observer” types. Based on what Klout claims, Liz’s interaction with my content will not have the same impact as, others who almost never interact with any content. According to Klout, it’s like saying, “Gee. you must make great content, because that person NEVER interacts with anybody” — and my score goes up.

One’s score is also measured by how much one actively participates and shares other people’s content as well.

Who Cares About Klout?

Great Question.

Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, your Klout score really only matters for the purpose of vanity, if you want to try to get free stuff, or if you are in certain blogging and internet marketing niches. I have personally gotten several free things (Axe hair gel, offer for free + shipping – business cards, discount wine, and other random things). But really, my score (that I know of) has never helped me land a customer. I’ve never gotten free vacations. I didn’t lose weight, get a sweet job offer, nor did I really get anything… EXCEPT… a metric.

This metric, isn’t worth much in terms of influence in the traditional sense. Honestly, I think Klout is too flawed to really be a good metric for REAL social influence –both because it doesn’t measure that stuff very accurately, but also it doesn’t factor in offline influence, nor does it factor in the level of importance of the conversations you’re having online.

But Back to the Metric…

That’s right. You get a metric.

What’s it good for?

I’m a firm believer that the metric is GREAT for reminding you how on-point you are with your social media accounts, how frequently you’re participating, and overall gives you a good barometer of how you’re likely doing online.

Your Score Goes Down if…

  • You quit using social media (or quit using it regularly)
  • You don’t engage (or engage much)
  • People don’t interact with you or your content
  • You don’t maintain and/or grow your follower list

…on the other hand.

Your Score Goes Up if…

  • You talk to people
  • People talk back
  • You share great content (of your own)
  • You share great content (from your net)

The Other Metric Klout Gives You

“Influential Topics” – based on your conversations, Klout will guess, and I do mean guess, what topics for which you are an “influencer.” In reality, this can be bogus. I had a conversation with a Tweep of mine about “Lambs Quarters” in our garden– 3 weeks later, I’m influential about “Lambs” and “Masters Golf Tournament.”

I’ve mini golfed. That’s about it. Lambs are good… with mint jelly. Ridiculous.

BUT — what I didn’t see at the time were terms that related to my professional life. Several months later, I started seeing terms, such as, “Klout, Twitter, SEO, Marketing, Entrepreneurship” — etc.

This means, at the very least, that the content I’m tweeting about is focused on my professional niche, and that people are interacting with it. Job well done.

In The End

The only thing that measures your success is that which you define success by. If it’s a financial goal, Sales, EBITDA,  or Net Income are your measures of success. If it’s how cool I can be online, and how much payola I get — Klout only helps by letting you qualify. The metric is still “how cool am I? How much free stuff do I have”. If you want to measure influence, ask all your friends to complete an action. Ask your friends to buy something. Convince them. — you’ll find how much influence you really have, based on whether or not they complete it.

I love the idea of Klout, and I still check it from time to time (a lot)… but for me, it’s not a measure of influence; it’s a measure of how much am I dropping the ball with my Social Media.

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