Klout, PeerIndex, Kred, and Percollate are today's social influence reporters. Like it or not, marketers, brands and individuals are getting scored, ranked and labeled as a specialist, a celebrity, a curator, or even a taste-maker.
Facebook is a Tastemaker and has a Klout score of 80. Mashable scores an 88 and Google is an 80, both tagged Celebrity.
Cathay Pacific is a Specialist with a 58 Klout score. American Express comes in with a 78 and is a thought leader. As for Search Engine Watch:
Klout, the San Francisco-based startup, measures social media users' "influence" in the online world and is one of a handful of companies offering personal and brand analytics on the topic of social influence. Though it started as a result of Twitter, today Klout pulls data from as many as 12 social media platforms, depending on the user’s preference. But take note – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have the most impact according to unofficial sources.
How Klout Works
The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:
- True Reach: How many people you influence
- Amplification: How much you influence them
- Network Impact: The influence of your network
Brian Solis defines influence as the ability to cause, affect, or change behavior. But what exactly does a good Klout score mean to a marketer, a brand or an individual? The power of social influence is getting serious and perky! The question is: does your brand embrace the power of online influence?
Ego Power or Brand Strategy?
Internet marketing experts say brands should pay attention to Klout and individuals should forget about it.
In the book "Return of Influence" by Mark W. Schaefer marketers gain insight into the rise of social influence, what it means to a brand, and how to play the game. Schaefer reminds readers social media popularity in terms of number of friends and followers doesn't equate to influence. It's more about having the ability to move content through an engaged network.
Whether it is Klout, Kred, PeerIndex, or the offline world, building a social network that delivers a strong ROI has some common foundational elements. In Chapter 10 of "Return of Influence", Schaefer outlines the necessary DNA to gaming the Klout system that resulted in increasing a Klout score by 30 points in 45 days.
How to Increase Your Klout Score - The Basics
- Build a relevant network.
- Have a compelling content strategy.
- Systematically engage influencers who can push your content virally.
Klout Score Influencers
- Twitter and Facebook carry the most weight.
- LinkedIn and Foursquare don't seem to pull much rank.
- Google+ matters.
- There is some correlation between number of +K's earned and high Klout scores.
What Can You Do Right Now?
- Check your Klout Score.
- Make sure it accurately portrays your brand profile, persona, and influences.
- See how Klout can fit into your business model. If it makes sense, spend more time with a strategy, if it isn't a fit, don't waste time worrying about it.
- Not sure? Try it out for 30 days and see what happens.
- Don't obsess over it.
- Check your score in real time with iPhone app.
How to Improve Your Klout Score
- Stay active 5-7 days a week (reminder: social media is more than a full time job).
- Keep visibility on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ steady and flowing on a daily basis.
- Facebook seems to be the favored network.
- Interact with other influencers.
- Post engaging and electrifying photos with visual impact and messaging.
- Find more friends and followers = larger network of opportunity.
- Participate in Twitter chats to build reach.
- Stay on topic with content, content you want to be associated with.
- Optimize your Twitter schedules with tools like Buffer.
Why do Marketers Think About Klout?
Brett Tabke, founder of PubCon and WebmasterWorld, said he used to closely follow Klout (several times a day) when it was entirely about Twitter, which was important to his marketing model. Then Klout started adding other social networks and the Klout scores became "watered down" and less relevant to his business, he said.
“It slowly became apparent late last year, that Klout was no longer a metric we felt held enough value for our clients,” Tabke said. “We dropped our Klout data feed earlier this year and no longer check Klout scores of speakers or attendees."
Alan K'necht, co-host of #SocialChat, said that on the surface marketers shouldn't care about an individual's Klout score in isolation, what they should focus on is what they intend to achieve with the individual.
“If planning a Klout Perk give away, look at topics the person is influential on and their score within the topic (not publicly available),” K’necht said. “If deciding whose complaints to respond to, never assume a low Klout score is indicator of ‘so what.’ It only takes that person with a Klout score of 5 to be best friends with a person with a Klout Score of 85 and you have a social marketing disaster on your hands. All customers must be treated equally regardless of their Klout score.”
Rand Fishkin, CEO and founder of SEOmoz, said marketers shouldn't necessarily care about their own Klout scores, but they should care about public and brand perception of Klout, PeerIndex, FollowerWonk or whatever other scores are being used and cited by the press or other institutions (including big brands).
“I don't regularly follow my Klout score personally, but I am constantly interested in how the marketing world, online and off, leverages data,” Fishkin said. “My hope is that someday, Klout more accurately correlates to some important metrics (such as traffic driven by shared links). Today, it's hard to find a use case apart from those that are ego-driven."
Michelle Marie, social media strategist, says she keeps an eye on her Klout score but doesn’t put a lot of weight in it other than being a perk-filled competitive game not much different than gaining a multitude of mayorships on Foursquare.
“Most people seem to take Klout much too seriously. Improving your score can be a bit tricky especially if your score is already on the higher end,” Marie said. “Staying very active is essential, two or three days of low activity can really impact your score and drop you down rather quickly but being hyperactive won’t necessarily have the opposite effect either. Getting people to engage with your posts via reshares, retweets, and mentions will give you a good boost but you have to maintain that same level of engagement or your score will go back down."
Marie offers these tips to improve social scores of influence:
- Start conversations on Twitter.
- find great content to post on Google+.
- Routinely get people to follow you if you want to see your score increase.
Raising your score isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming since you have to be persistent.
The Perks of Klout
Last year Klout introduced Klout Perks, exclusive products or experiences individuals earn based on their score of influence. Brands can now recognize the impact of social media and virility, as well as the power of the individual voice on social media channels. Klout Perks allows brands to connect with social media influencers and spark conversations about the brand.
So what's Klout got to do with it? Everything…and nothing. If you fall into the category of those who "love to hate Klout" it might be hard to pass up this recent Klout perk launched this month: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) visitors using the Klout for iPhone app showing a Klout Score of 40 or higher get access to the Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounge. Not a bad perk.
If you're attending SES San Francisco,, this might be a Klout Perk worth downloading!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!