That’s a great question. If you had asked me this question three years ago, I think it would have gone a little something like this:
Friend: Hey Ryan, what the heck is Klout? I’m hearing some interesting things from my MySpace buddies.
Me: Hmmmm… doesn’t it have something to do with the big toe? I remember my grandmother talking about it. Sounds kind of gross. And hey, by the way, Myspace is getting pretty weird these days, you should probably get off that. People might start judging you.
Friend: Are you serious? You are way off, you’re talking about gout. And no way, Myspace is here to stay!
Me: Oh yeaaaa, gout. That’s right. Wait, doesn’t it have something to do with that famous San Diego Charger’s quarterback? The guy with the beard?
Friend: Seriously? That’s Dan Fouts. This conversation is over, you’ve officially wasted a minute of my life that I will never get back. Thanks for nothing.
Me: Whatever, Myspace still sucks!
Yea. Thank goodness I wasn’t blogging back then, I wouldn’t have been much help to your question. But today is a new day and I’d like to think I know a little more these days of what’s going on in the tech world so please allow me to try and redeem myself by briefly explaining what exactly Klout is, and how it may affect small businesses in the very-near future.
What is Klout?
Founded in 2007, Klout is a company dedicated to adding scalability and measurement to the world of social media. They have developed ratings, known as Klout scores, which according to the company, “… is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.”
- True Reach – the size of your engaged audience
- Amplification Probability – The likliness that your content will be acted upon.
- Network Infleunce – The influence level of your engaged audience.
Ok, well you can check off the impressed box because that sounds pretty smart and sensible to me. And, I for one, am glad we can put a score on twitter accounts that disregard spam accounts and affiliate accounts. I hate those with a serious passion.
But is it legit?
That depends on who you ask because when you are trying to measure a never-been-measured-before phenomenon, doubt is certainly to be expected. Here are a few arguments against Klout:
- You can pretty much manipulate your style to get a better Klout score.
- Bots have been able to achieve a high Klout Score.
- Justin Bieber has a higher score than Barack Obama. (Nevermind, I see no issues in this.)
- “The minute you pay attention to your Klout score is the instant your Klout score stops being accurate.”
- The algorithm is questionable.
Should I trust it?
That is completely up to you. The jury is still out on Klout scores so your guess is as good as mine. However, in my humble opinion, I do believe that Klout’s heart is in the right place, and they have the right principles in mind – They want to figure out the best way to measure social media and its impact – so I see the potential in trusting their methods. At the very least, I am certainly rooting for them.
What has Klout been up to?
Lots. Within the last month, Klout has made two big announcements:
What does this mean for me and my business?
It’s going to be very interesting to see how Klout scores, and the idea of social media measurement, develop in the future, as it has the potential to change the social media game as we know it. This very well may be the next stage in social media’s maturation. But as for today, take Klout scores with a grain of salt. Sure, it’s great to be able to measure your social media efforts and gauge the influence of whom you’re engaging with, but social marketing is still more about human instincts and interaction… until proven otherwise!