Back at the end of April Wired Magazine featured an article on there online blog about internet startup company Klout. The article has produced a huge amount of new traffic towards the service but the article lacks substance for how the truly actually works and what it does.
First and foremost lets address the question of is your Klout score important. The simple answer is maybe it all depends on who you are, but even for those of us it is important for its not the score that actually matters but what your score represents. As the site proclaims Klout measure influence in the world of social media. So is your score important no but if social media is part of your business then what the score represents is extremely important.
Simply put Klout ranks people in very much the same way Google ranks the significancy of a webpage. Using a proprietary algorithm klout.com builds a virtual profile about an individual scanning social media sites, webpages, blogs and more to discover as much as it can about you. While building this profile what it is looking for is not what you are posting on the internet but how many people are listening to you and what they are doing with the content you post. Measuring Facebook likes, google plus’s, retweets on twitter, and much more.
So simply put Klout is measuring your influence as an individual on the world of social media. The question you need to ask yourself is do you even care how much influence you have in social media? Well if you run a business you should. Social Media is one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created. While most business’s spend thousands of dollars a year on marketing with web banners, print ads, and TV commercials, the enlightened have moved to social media. You will notice that most of the major companies in the world are now include #hastags and Facebook url’s in there advertisements instead of there own company URL’s. The process of using social media instead of traditional marketing works because it allows your customer base to interface directly with your business. But like it or not social media is about individuals not about business’s, so if your running a small business and want to leverage social media your Klout better be good or you need to start looking for someone to run your social media marketing for you.
Ok now you get it! Its not the score that matters but what the score itself represents. Since we like to think in simplified terms this score provides us with a single number telling you how good you are doing. You as an individual are scored on three primary factors:
- True Reach: True Reach is the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network and across their extended networks. Essential you are working on a one degree of seperation system. AKA how many friends, followers, etc.. do you have.
- Amplification: Amplification indicates how much you influence people. Do people G+, retweet, like, etc.. your content.
- Network Impact: Network Impact measures the influence of your network. Basically how much influence do the people who are in your immediate network have. Its just like in the real world, its all about who you know.
Now if you add into this a whole bunch of other fun little additions to the formula you are now provided with a score ranging between 0 and 100. 0 Being a social media reject and 100 being king of the world. Much like Google is constantly updating the formula’s they use to determine website rankings so is Klout. Back in October of 2011 hundreds of Klout users reported massive drops in their scores, the cause, simply they where Klouchebags!Essentially what occurred in Klout changed the formula used to determine scores to counter act people that were nothing more then spam bots flooding social media with nothing but garbage. What you ended up with after the adjustment was a score that was more accurate and not factoring in your general asshattery that people were doing to inflate there scores.
How do you know if your an asshat you ask, well for starters if you use things like #ff or #ifollowback then ill save you some time in trying to figure it out you are an asshat! Don’t do those things and want to find out how much of an asshat you really are then check out Klouchebag.com! Klouchebag is basically the complete opposite of Klout. Instead of rating how much influence you have it rates how much of an asshat you are. Klouchebag.com uses a very simple formula to generate a score that measures your asshattery on twitter.com. Like Klout.com Klouchebag.com rates you on four factors:
- Anger: How much do your shout online. Shouting is represented by using all caps in your text. Using to many caps will result in a higher anger rating.
- Retweet Abuse: Pretty simply your content is lacking and all you do is repeat things other people say. Extremely common for news bots and similar. If you retweet more then you provide your own content you get a higher score, the higher the retweet ratio the higher your retweet abuse rating.
- Social Apps: How many stupid social apps do you use. If your tweet is auto-generated is most likely annoys people, making you an asshate! The more you use it the higher your rating.
- English Misuse: Yep you think your cool for using internet shorthand but guess what its annoying. No caps, lots of OMG or LOL, and failure to use periods or proper capitalization are all misuse of the english language. The worse you are at proper english the higher your rating will be.
While your score at Klouchebage.com has no direct effect on your Klout score, the same factors do influence your klout.com score, so it is worth paying attention to. So if you are on a mission to increase your Klout score start off by decreasing your Klouchebag.com score, not only will it help your Klout score but people will like you a lot more.
So lets take a look at three different users, myself being one of them, to get a better idea of how this whole scoring thing works. ” title=”So lets take a look at three different users, myself being one of them, to get a better idea of how this whole scoring thing works.
@azchipka (thats me): Has a fairly low Facebook page fan count, an even twitter follower to following ratio, and a low ass hat score. I provide a number of posts per week and those posts are interacted with by a decent amount of my network.
Sample #1 (a company): High Facebook fan count, a high twitter follower count, a low twitter following count, and 75% of the internet is more annoying then they are. Result is a Klout score that is almost identical even though sample #1 has about 25,000 more followers then I do. The reason is simple there followers are not interacting with the content. So even though they have a ton of people they influence most people are not paying any attention to what they have to say.
Sample #2 (a blogger): Medium fan count, decent ratio of following to followers, but an asshat count that goes through the roof. The massive asshat score is a result of the blogger breaking every rule in the book when it comes to social media marketing. I know the site personally and they have a good amount of user interaction with the content they provide. The cause of the low score spamming the world to help generate new followers has impacted there credibility and as a result the blogger gets a decreased score.
Now this sample is extremely simplified of how it all works but it does reinforce the point that the way to increase your Klout Score is through proper social media marketing and providing good quality to your social networks that your followers interact with.
Great now we know how the scoring system works and you understand that having a high influence in the virtual world is a good thing but what does it really get you?
It actually gets you quite a bit and you may not even know it. There is a lot of money being invested in Klout by a lot of big companies and they are paying attention to who has influence in the social networking world. Many companies are cross referencing the email address you provide them against Klout, in hopes of discovering who is going to talk about the experience they had. This includes hotels, casinos, publishing companies, airlines, and much more. The business’s are giving out free perks to influential people hoping that you will run out and tell everyone you know how amazing your experience was.
In addition to the hidden perks those with high Klout scores are picking up, there are more publicly available perks. These public perks are displayed on the Klout website and those who meet the requirements of a perk are invited to participate. Examples include loaner cars, free product, early access to software and more.
The question that many people end up asking is do I actually need a Klout account, since I’m not concerned with knowing my influence?
The answer to this question is a very big yes! Even if you don’t sign up for one you have a Klout score, your score is based on what Klout is about to find out about you with out you telling it which social media accounts are yours. This can result in a drastically lower score then what is accurate. This can be a huge problem not only because you are missing out on all those hidden perfects from airlines, hotels and similar but also because like it or not people are checking your score. Much like you can’t hide content from the internet you can’t hide your social media interactions from Klout. As a result of all this failure to participate may result in your inaccurate score reflecting poorly on you.