There are plenty of ways to tell how well you’re social media campaigns are working for your business. From metrics such as follower counts or like counts to interactions and, most importantly, sales it isn’t hard to tell if your campaigns are effective or not.
Here’s a few new questions then: how effective are you personally at social media? Are you worth following as a person? What do others think of you personally and your impact on your community?
Answering these questions with any real insight isn’t easy. Sure, we know we’re interesting if we have a lot of Twitter followers, etc. But what does that say about how effective you are at getting across the ideas you want? Are you known as a chatterbox, or a parrot that only repeats the thoughts of others? You might think your influence is on one area, but is that how others really see you?
Enter Klout. Klout is a tool which aims to quantify your social media influence by assigning you a numerical score between 1 (least influential) and 100 (most influential) with an average somewhere around 20. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, Klout aims to quantify the topics you are most influential in and allows others to confirm their assumptions by awarding you “Klout” in a fashion similar to “like” or “+1.”
While I can’t tell you all the metrics Klout measures when computing your score I can tell you that takes into account Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and a host of other social sites while seeming to rely heaviest on your Twitter interactions. As I’ve used it over the last few months I’ve found almost no impact to my score from anything except how active I am on Twitter although I have noticed that the more networks you use with it the higher your score generally is.
Should I worry if my score is low?
No. A low Klout score by itself doesn’t mean much of anything. There might be many reasons for this and changing your habits just based on a score will get you no where. For example if you are new to the service or just starting a new Twitter account your score will be very low and is in no way connected to what you are starting to do. In addition, if you have been offline a while for any reason your score might have bottomed out due to no fault of your own. Regardless of why your score is low it isn’t the number that is really important.
What is important is two things. First is the trend. Is your score rising or falling? If you are trying to build your network and your score is falling you might be missing something. This is usually indicative that fewer people are seeing you on your network and is something that you need to work on by engaging more.
The 2nd important item to watch is the topics your are influential in. If you are a programmer who is listed as influential in beer or food then you might not be communicating your message effectively. This is especially true if someone gives you Klout on a given topic. Is the topic they think you’re influential enough to give you Klout for the topic you think you should be influential in?
Should I pay attention to the Klout score of others?
Yes, you should pay attention to the Klout score of others especially when trying to build your network on Twitter. I use the Klout extension for Chrome as well as the Klout website itself to look up each person I think about following before I do so. Here I’m looking for their general score and trend as if their trends are lower they are probably going to be less interested in engaging back and if their score is too low or too high they probably won’t be a good fit to your network. I tend to be more inclined to flow someone with a similar score to myself as they would be most inclined to not be too spammy while still communicating what they know. Of course in my case this is easy as my account is older and my score is relatively stable meaning I know what I use social media for and what I want to get back out of it. In addition to the score I always look at the topics the individual tends to talk about. I like to keep my Twitter network professional and as such I tend to be more inclined to follow those whose topics align accordingly.
In the end it isn’t the number of the Klout score that matters for either you or your network. What is important is making sure your influence is going in the direction you want it to and that your network stays on the topics important to you. Klout is one of the best tools available for helping you reach those goals.