If you haven’t been paying attention to your Klout score lately, maybe you should.
What is Social Influence?
If you rely on what friends or experts online say about a product or service before making a purchase, that’s social influence. They influenced your decision to buy.
In a recent article, FastCompany reported on the power of social influence: “81% of U.S. respondents (in surveys) said posts from their friends directly impacted their decision on purchasing something, and 80% or respondents said they’d tried new things based on suggestions of friends.”
According to Klout, I’m an influencer in Blogging, Writing and Entrepreneurship. Those are my niches so should I be worried about my score if I don’t care about influencing, say, forest rangers?
Yes, if I ever want to get a job in a company or agency sometime in the future.
Wired reported that a candidate for a top marketing position was disqualified for a having a low Klout score. It may not matter if you’re a physicist but it will matter if you work in the marketing/communications/social media space.
How Klout Works
The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:
- True Reach: How many people you influence
- Amplification: How much you influence them
- Network Impact: The influence of your network
There is a lot of controversy about Klout and the mysterious algorithms it uses to rank your social influence, as I reported in a post last year, when my score was 44. A recent article in EContent gives it reasons why it thinks Klout is a lousy idea.
On the other hand, Mark W. Schaefer, a marketing consultant who writes frequently about Klout, is an advocate. Even he, though, dislikes the whole idea of being rewarded for your influence with badges that you display on your website like the AdAge Power 150.
His book Return on Influence about the power of social scoring and influence marketing received rave reviews when it was published earlier this year.
Social Media Scoring is Becoming Sticky
You may not like it. But social media scoring is here to stay. Klout and newer competitors are tracking you. A respectable Klout score is becoming influential to companies who are hiring candidates and consultants and promoting products.
That’s why I decided it was time to take my Klout score seriously.
Klout labels me as a “Socializer.”
You are the hub of social scenes and people count on you to find out what’s happening. You are quick to connect people and readily share your social savvy. Your followers appreciate your network and generosity.
Hey, then why isn’t my score higher, Klout?
Why My Score Sank (I Think)
I’ve dropped to 37. I didn’t think that was very good until I read on the Klout website that “The average Klout Score is not 50; instead, it is around 20.”
I’ll never know for sure because, like Google, the Klout algorithms are a mystery. But I can take an educated guess. Before you can get an accurate score, you have to allow Klout to link to your social media accounts. Currently, Klout tracks your influence on Facebook, Twitter, and, most recently, LinkedIn and Google+.
I discovered that I had linked Klout to my Facebook personal page and not my business page where I post almost all my content that people can Like. So I’ve just changed that and it will hopefully raise my score.
Blogging and LinkedIn are my primary social media activities.
To my surprise, though, I recently discovered that the Klout link to LinkedIn wasn’t working when I received this error message.
Groups are at the heart of the LinkedIn experience where you connect with other members, follow them, comment on their discussions, and Like their posts. I was disheartened by this message from tech support at Klout:
Please note that LinkedIn stats will only populate from public posts within the last 90 days when you receive likes and comments from other users on your personal profile. We do not currently Score LinkedIn group posts but are looking into that for the future. It appears that you are properly connected.
So, if LinkedIn Groups are where I’m building and interacting with my social media community, isn’t my Klout score misleading?
Klout does seem to think I have influence because it rewards influence with Klout Perks. These are freebies from companies that hope you’ll tweet and share your experience with your followers.
I just redeemed a Perk for a free Shutterfly hard cover photo album. Just in time for my brother’s big birthday celebration next weekend.
But while a Klout Perk is nice to get, it isn’t enough recognition for my social influence.
As you’d expect, people are already trying to game the Klout system to raise their scores. Not for me. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing because hopefully I’m adding value to my readers and clients.
What do you think of Klout? Do you believe it matters to your business?