In the last week, 4 people have asked me this exact same question: What is Klout? Must be a New Year resolution or something.
Now I know all you “social media divas” out there who already know what it is, are tracking your score every day, and are praying someone will reveal the secret to a higher Klout score. Sorry. None of that here.
I also am aware that many people hate Klout. Hate what is, what it does, why it exists, etc. I’m not looking to debate the merits of Klout, but to simply explain the tool that it is. (But happy to hear your arguments in the comments?)
This post is for those who are truly looking to understand what Klout is and whether they should pay attention at all. This is an important question because we are seeing an evolution. We are moving from a marketing need to understand, train and enable social media tools. And we are moving to a need to activate the entire social business landscape.
That means marketing needs to work with the business to help it become more social, to engage with the online community and to help our employees grow their personal brands. I think understanding Klout is an important step in that journey. OK? here we go…
What is Klout?
Klout is a tool that seeks to measure your influence in the online world. It measures both the size of your network across many major social media channels. And it measures the amount of engagement you get from that audience. It is a score that ranges from 1-100. If you have an online profile on any of the major social networks, you have a Klout score.
Many people initially criticized Klout because initially it was very focused on Twitter engagement. This caused Justin Bieber to have a higher Klout score than the President of the United States. So Klout updated the algorithm to include wikipedia mentions (a quantifiable measure of offline influence). This caused poor Justin to move from a perfect 100 to 92 and Barrack Obama now has a near-perfect 99.
Why Should You Care About Klout?
You should care about Klout because like your personal brand, you already have one (a personal brand and a Klout score.) You just might not be paying attention to it. Companies are starting to pay attention to it and may look up candidate scores when hiring.
But Klout is not an end in and of itself. It is an attempt to measure your online influence and like any tool has its flaws. A low Klout score does not mean you are a bad person and a high one does not make you better than anyone.
Mostly, I think Klout is just one of many tools that can help you measure the impact that various activities have on your score.
10 Common Sense Ideas To Raise Your Klout Score
As Ben Franklin said, you should either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. So here are 10 simple, common sense ideas to help you increase your online influence and hopefully raise your Klout score.
- Create interesting content.
- Share interesting content.
- Make it easy to share your content.
- Become a source of helpful insights of the audience you have.
- Seek to grow the audience you have.
- Engage with people on your social channels. Comment. Ask and answer questions. Like stuff you like.
- Identify and engage with the influencers around your topics of interest.
- Look for a connection between the approaches you might take on social channels and the impact on your score.
- Sign up for Klout and connect all your social accounts
- Commit to actively engage on social networks.
I do not recommend people take drastic measures like only connecting with others who have a high Klout score or unfollowing people who have low scores. But I do suggest you sign-up, log-in and check it out.
If you are really interested in this topic, check out one of my Best Marketing Books by Mark Schaefer (@MarkwSchaefer) Return on Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing. I read the book and it’s a great read. Mark states that “it is not enough to have great content. You have to have influence” to help your ideas spread and get a return on your marketing investments.