raise your klout scoreIn the last week, 4 people have asked me this exact same question: What is KloutMust 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.

There are also competitors to Klout out there such as Kred and PeerIndex and many others. But Klout seems to be pulling away from the pack.

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.

  1. Create interesting content.
  2. Share interesting content.
  3. Make it easy to share your content.
  4. Become a source of helpful insights of the audience you have.
  5. Seek to grow the audience you  have.
  6. Engage with people on your social channels. Comment. Ask and answer questions. Like stuff you like.
  7. Identify and engage with the influencers around your topics of interest.
  8. Look for a connection between the approaches you might take on social channels and the impact on your score.
  9. Sign up for Klout and connect all your social accounts
  10. 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 what is Klout? Why You Should Care About Klout?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.

Do you hate Klout? Or have you found any tips to increase your score? Let me know what you think in the comments below. And follow the conversation on Twitter,  LinkedInFacebook or Google+.

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

18 Comments

  1. Eileen said…

    I love this blog, Michael – one of your best. Fun read and great tips. My score is 55 – is that any good? It’s no Justin Bieber but maybe an ok start?

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Eileen! And that’s a great number since I think I read the average is something like 20. But remember, it is not the number that matters as much as how what you do on your social channels increases your score. So the trend is more important than the absolute number.

  2. Ray Horan said…

    Great post Michael. “Like stuff you like” sounds simple but it’s a big takeaway. You need to trust your judgement.
    Klout is a very useful service. In addition to providing insightful feedback on your social media performance, it adds a gamification element to your social media presence, incentivizing and motivating you to create and share content regularly.

  3. Sydney Graham said…

    I completely agree, Micheal! Klout isn’t the end all be all, but it’s definitely something that should be on your radar.
    I use the Klout app for the iPhone to stay up-to-date on my clients scores. Very handy and a good way to know if your social media efforts are working.
    I created an infographic and a blog post covering the influence of Klout for b2b marketers also. I’d love to know your thoughts.

    Great post! :-)

  4. Great article. I’m admittedly a longtime critic of Klout and have written a lot about it.

    To me, the bottom line is this: when Klout removes or anonymizes +K, it will have a chance at being a trustworthy system. Until then, it’s essentially a circlejerk of people high fiving each other and undermining the entire platform’s purpose — not to mention it’s heavily weighted towards certain platforms for reasons that may or may not make sense (my score fluctuates between 68-70 depending on how many stupid Facebook posts I make in a week, yet I have almost 60k people following me on Google+, which factors very little into my score even when I’m most active there).

    That said, your advice is basically spot on. I always say that folks should just do what they do (which is behave altruistically through social media – boost others instead of just self promoting) and let the Klouts of the world measure as they see fit.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Christina, Thanks so much for your “common sense” points against Klout. I agree with you that it is a far from perfect tool and +Ks have always seemed a little weird for me too. I appreciate your support for my tips, which should hold true for anyone who wants to grow their online influence, no matter what the tool.

    • Jennifer Quinn said…

      Well said, Christana — I have often had the same thoughts about the Klout +K system – seems like some people use it so they can tweet about it merely to catch someone else’s attention.

  5. Andy C said…

    You need to engage people on their pages also, Michael. This is a part of the analytic. And it makes sense from a personal perspective. If you only engage on your own page, you will lose some followers and also have less chance of gaining others. Plus, more basically, it sends a very wrong signal. In your personal life, do you not eventually drop people who always expect you to initiate first contact?

  6. Jennifer Quinn said…

    VERY common sense! I’m grateful KLOUT doesn’t reveal their algorithm — if they did, it would lose complete credibility. Great article — will bookmark and share as people ask me what IS Klout, anyway!?

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Jennifer, I was honestly expecting a lashing from the social media divas and how evil Klout is. I appreciate your support on my view that it is just a tool, like many others, that you can use to gauge your social media effectiveness.

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