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What is Klout?

Social Sonar - Saturday, December 31, 2011

You may or may not have heard of Klout before. If you ask Klout what "it" is, Klout will tell you that it is a way to measure online influence from social networks. Klout uses information from your connected Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare and Google+ accounts to determine how much you influence your followers. They are working to incorporate other social media sites soon. Klout doesn't measure how much YOU put out in the world. It watches how often your followers and friends are interacting with your posts and re-posting your information. In other words, are you in a town hall meeting with lots of interactions or is your voice echoing in an empty cave?

To help encourage activity, Klout also allows users to give each other a "+K" in certain topics, which range from social media to food. It easily allows each user to Tweet or post their praise on Facebook, and then allows the recipient of the +K to publicly thank Klout and the person who gave them points -- free advertising and pats on the back for all involved. The average Klout user has a "score" of 20 (the range is 0-100). Singer Justin Bieber has a Klout score of 100 and is categorized as a "celebrity." President Barack Obama has a Klout score of 86, a score still high enough to be a "celebrity." Social Sonar's Director of Social Media, Lori Myers, has a score of 60 and is categorized as a "broadcaster." 

How does Klout determine its scores? As mentioned before, Klout tracks when your posts are re-shared, re-tweeted, "liked," commented upon, etc. The spread is your Klout score. Your "true reach" is the number of people you are actually influencing, both in your immediate network and in other people's networks as they share your original post(s). It is important because Klout is able to weed out spam accounts who may be following you but are not actually interacting with you. "Amplification" indicates how much you influence people. It measures the probability that your posts are being re-shared. Your "network impact" measures the influence of your entire network. It essentially determines whether you are interacting with other influential people or just regular ol' Joes. 

What does all of this mean? For now, not much. While Klout is worth keeping an eye on, getting into the Klout game means committing time to actively work your profiles to make sure you are an influencer in your topic(s). Especially as Klout adds more social media sites and works out a few bugs, it may be important in the (near) future to help businesses be more influential in their field and connect with others who are also influencers. 

How about you? Are you or your business on Klout? What is your score and how important do you feel like it is for your business?