Does Your Klout Score Actually Mean Anything?

Hey guys, what’s a Klout score?

Klout measures your online influence on a scale from 1 to 100. The average Klout score hovers somewhere around 20. Justin Bieber has a perfect Klout score of 100. Klout itself has a Klout score in the 80s, meaning the site is apparently less influential than a 17-year-old pop star (but then again, I guess we’re all at least slightly less influential than The Bieber).

What do you mean by online influence?

Well. You can link various social sites to Klout, but it only measures your activity and friends/followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. Additionally, Klout measures:

1. True reach: The number of people you influence, which is different from your number of followers. Klout claims to filter out spam and only focus on those people who interact with and respond to your posts.

2. Amplification: How many people are sharing your content and how often they’re doing it.

3. Network Impact: A measure of people in your True Reach with a high Amplification (i.e. how important your friends are).

So how exactly do I use Klout, then?

One potentially useful aspect of Klout is the list of topics that you appear to be influential about. For example, Zen Media employees are overwhelmingly influential about social media, Facebook, marketing, and other related areas.

Sometimes the influential topics have slightly more mysterious origins.

The good news is that Klout makes it easier to find the most influential people on a given topic or in your industry, and other Klout users can give +Ks to people who influence them on topics – hopefully making the system more accurate at some point in the future. The bad news is that the most influential person for “snorkeling” might not actually tweet about the topic on a regular basis.

Sounds good! I don’t understand the problem.

If you’re a business using social media marketing, take Klout’s metrics with a grain of salt. As tech blogger Aliza Sherman put it in a recent post, “Klout isn’t any more measuring your success using social media or your influence over others any more than Foursquare is making you the actual mayor of anything.” Are people clicking on the links you’re posting? Klout has no idea. Your social media marketing strategy should be to push traffic back to your website first, and then to build relationships with people. Getting the most influential people on the internet to follow your social media accounts isn’t really that high on the list of priorities, and might not do that much for you in the long run.

What’s the verdict on Klout?

Paying attention to the rise and fall of your Klout score probably won’t do you any harm, but we don’t feel that there’s any real proof that it’ll help you. Our suggestion? If you choose to pay attention to Klout, pay more attention to influential topics and don’t put too much stock in your numerical Klout score.

What do you think? Does the rise and fall of your Klout score determine your every move? Are you just hearing about Klout for the first time? If you don’t use Klout, how are you measuring the impact of your social media program? Let us know, we love hearing from you!


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