Do You Have Enough “Klout”? Does it Really Matter?

Posted by on January 25th, 2012

If you are an active participant in the realm of social media, you actively gauge three things: 1) How many followers you have on Twitter (ahem); 2) Who you should ignore on Facebook for unwarranted and over-the-top political rants; and 3) Why did your Klout score drop again. Ok, ok, maybe those aren’t the three most important factors to you when it comes to gauging social media, but there are some people, particularly those at a growing company in San Francisco, who may disagree.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Klout. For those of you not in the know, Klout ‘actively’ measures your online social media influence over a 90 day period. Some of you are probably asking, “How is this done and who really cares?”

Your Klout score is measured on your ability to extend influence throughout social networks. Generally speaking, every time you post a message on Twitter or comment on a Facebook post, you are influencing others. Klout uses an algorithm that pulls together data from your various social outlets and determines the following:

True Reach: How many people you influence
Amplification: How much you influence them
Network Impact: The influence of your network

According to the company, Klout uses five different networks to calculate your score: Twitter (Retweets and Mentions); Facebook (Wall posts, Comments and Likes); LinkedIn (Comments and Likes); Google+ (Comments, +1’s and Reshares) and Foursquare (Tips). You can link your Klout account to other services such as Facebook pages, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, Flickr and YouTube, however they will not affect your Klout score as of yet.

Klout scores vary from 1 to 100 – a higher score deems an individual a more superior influencer on social networking sites. Lady Gaga, for instance, has a Klout score of 92. Quite the influencer some might say. According to Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez, the average score is around 20 with anyone over 50 being a major influencer.

So who cares how high your Klout score is you might ask? Well, advertisers and marketers certainly do as companies in multi-billion dollar industries are looking for ways to broaden their product reach and are turning to Klout as a way to increase awareness.

Enter Klout Perks. Klout Perks are given to those who have higher Klout scores as well as individuals who are major influencers on specific topics. One example of a Klout Perk involved Chevrolet. Last November, Chevy, through Klout, arranged 139 three day loans of Chevy’s new car, the 2012 Sonic, to people with Klout scores of 35 or higher. The individuals who received this perk were not under any obligation to post positive comments about the Sonic. It was up to that consumer if they wanted to write something positive, negative or in several instances, nothing at all. Microsoft is another company that just partnered with Klout to send 500 influencers free Windows phones. Not too shabby if you ask me.

So how do you increase your score? It’s all about the content and how much you and others engage with it. The more engaged others are, the higher your score. You don’t necessarily have to be the one to create the content, just as long as you are engaged in the discussion. Simple as that.

Does your Klout score really matter? There are many companies looking for ways to measure online influence and eventually use that to ring the cash register. Even job applicants are posting Klout scores on their resumes. So is Klout the answer? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, if you are looking to increase your Klout score and become that influencer you always dreamed of becoming, I leave you with three simple words to remember: Engage, Engage, Engage.