Can Klout Really Measure our Influence on Social Media?

by Sherryl Perry on August 17, 2011

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There are a lot of tools available to help businesses and entrepreneurs measure their social influence. Some are free and others are for a fee. Do we need a tool to measure our influence? How does one measure social media influence anyways? Even if we use a free tool, our time isn’t free. Our time is valuable and any effort that we expend needs to evaluated. Whatever our goals are, we need to ensure that what we’re doing is achieving the results that we want.

Social Media Analytics:

So how exactly do these tools work? How is influence measured? Are we measuring it with sheer numbers of followers? Do we measure it by who is following us? By how many followers they have? Are these numbers important at all or are they merely numbers?

Klout Score “Measures Influence Based on your Ability to Drive Action.”

The above is a direct quote from the about page on the Klout website. Now, I’m not here to review Klout. I’m writing this because I can’t seem to be online for more than an hour or so without being klouted, klouting someone or reading about Klout. There has been a lot written lately about measuring social influence and a lot of very knowledgeable people are on both sides.

I visit Klout (almost) on a daily basis and my score hovers around 60. Personally, I don’t know if Klout can accurately measure my influence. I don’t know if there’s any tool that can. I don’t participate in Klout because I’m trying to increase my score. My score is of less value to me than the opportunities that participating in Klout affords me. So am I wasting my time? (I’m sure some of you think I am.) I don’t think so. I believe that Klout is just one more tool in my arsenal.

3 reasons I pay Attention to Klout:

1.)    By looking at the topics that Klout says I’m influential in, I can see if I’m building awareness in the niches that I’m targeting. Ideally, I’d want to score high in entrepreneurship, business strategy, social networking and blogging. When I look at my score, I can see that I’m not ranking in business strategy at all but I am ranking for American Idol. (For those of you who remember, I wrote a post on lessons bloggers can learn from watching that show.) So, I need to start tweeting more about business strategies and make sure I’m using the right hashtags.

 2.)     Klout is an easy way for me to reward influential people in my circle of influence and to attract new people to my blog. When I give someone a +K, I send out a tweet which often gets RT’d. The recipient of the +K feels good about what I’ve done and often will reciprocate. It’s a win-win for both of us and it’s a quick and easy way to build awareness. (I’ve been klouted by bloggers who I didn’t even know knew me. If I look at their profile, I often see that they’re a follower of someone I gave a +K to.)

 3.)     When someone gives me a +K, the hash tag of the topic is tweeted along with my twitter name (if they choose to tweet it which I believe most people do). So, it helps me to build awareness and establish me as an authority in the areas that I’m scoring well in.  Since I spend about 5 minutes a day on Klout, we’re not talking a big investment of time here.

 ROI – Return on Investment

One of the reasons that I am active on Twitter is that the ROI for me is very good. On average, I spend roughly 15 minutes to a half hour a day on Twitter (occasionally more). In return, it has been my number one source of referral traffic consistently for the last eight months and the percentage of traffic that it is generating is consistently increasing.

By incorporating Klout into my Twitter time, I have a fairly streamlined process that hasn’t really altered what I was already doing. Not only am I driving new traffic to my site, I am attracting readers who are genuinely involved in conversation and the exchange of ideas. So, for me personally, I intend to continue building relationships using tools and networking sites like Twitter and Klout.

What do you think? What is your take on Klout? Do you think it’s a waste of time or do you think it’s worth a shot? Have you paid any attention to it at all and if you have, what is your experience with it? If you haven’t and don’t intend to, please feel free to share that too. I can practically guarantee you’re not alone feeling that way.

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Mitch Mitchell
Twitter:
May 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I’m wondering after so long if you still believe in Klout. I killed my account years ago because I didn’t like what it was promoting then. Now I believe it can be gamed, as I become aware of just how many people are doing things for nefarious reasons while driving traffic to their websites and looking like they’re a big deal.
Mitch Mitchell recently posted..7 Blogging Beliefs You Interpreted WronglyMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 1, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Hi Mitchell,
It’s not so much that I believe or don’t believe in Klout. I just never saw the harm in keeping my account open. I rarely look at my Klout score. The last time that I did look at it was because I had received a “perk”. I also checked my score recently because I received a message that my score had increased. I don’t know what it increased from but (if I remember correctly) my score was 57 (which is 2 points lower than when I wrote this article).

I agree with you, it can be gamed. How? I have no idea . . . because I’m not a gamer. 🙂

It’s great to see you here again. Lately, I have not been able to visit as many blogs as I used to. I spend to be taking longer commenting on the ones that I do visit though.

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to weigh in on this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

John Ernest
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 5:17 am

Thank you this will be a very great tool. Also, I am quite new to using this so it is important for me to know what benefits I could get from using this tool. So far, I think this will be a great help in tracking my influence around social media circles.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi John,
I think Klout can be valuable as a tool if you’re engaging with other bloggers who are trying to raise awareness. As long as you’re not spending a lot of time on it, it can be useful especially when combined with Twitter. I’ve formed some strong relationships with people who klouted me and then we started chatting online. Many of these people still share my content on other sites.
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Val Adams
Twitter:
March 19, 2012 at 3:24 am

They could just ignore Klout at that time but maybe their patience ran out or something like that. It seems Klout’s results are not dependable, is that right?

Anyway, thanks for the info Sherryl,
Val Adams

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Hi Val,
I don’t know if the verdict is in on Klout but there is definitely a continued interest in being able to measure social influence. From the articles that I’ve been reading recently, some employees and companies are taking Klout scores seriously. I don’t spend any time of my time on Klout but I’m not about to delete my profile either. Perception is everything and if we reach a point where Klout is one of the accepted measurements, then I think it behooves us to have a presence there.
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Lisa January 25, 2012 at 8:15 am

It’s becoming increasingly important to track the performance of your online marketing efforts. Many businesses are very invested in when, where and how their customers are online using “Klout” it can measure all of social networking activities by how much engagement they generate.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Hi Lisa,
It’s interesting to see how Klout is being used. I am not paying any attention to Klout but unlike some people who deleted their profiles in protest of their practices, I left my profile intact. I absolutely respect the position those individuals took but I didn’t personally feel as strongly as they did. Time will tell what if any impact Klout has on helping businesses manage their social media presence. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.
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Ram
Twitter:
January 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Thank you for sharing this post Sherryl, I definitely have a much clearer explanation of Klout. Definitely see Klout being more accurate in the future.

For now its still an “activity measurement” in my opinion. No tweets for a couple of days etc = score falling. Higher number of tweets = higher score for some since they get “more” retweets etc. What do you think?

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Rob,
I’m glad you got me thinking about Klout again. Last Fall, after Klout changed their algorithms, my score dropped about 20 points into the mid-40’s. Turns out that I was penalized for interacting with and sharing for people with a lower Klout score than mine. In early November, I wrote another post and there was a lot of reaction. Many people chose to delete their profiles on Klout. I still have mine but as of December 2nd, I no longer pay any attention to it. After reading your comment, I decide to check on my score. It’s 48 now and Klout informed me that it hass risen +1 in the last 30-days. That’s fine with me. I never cared what my score was and I still don’t. I find it interesting that my totally ignoring the fact that Klout exists didn’t affect my score at all.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

Stan January 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I don’t even bother to try and measure the influence on social media, it just seems too chaotic and random to me. Who tweets what, who likes what, it’s huge if you take it piece by piece. If Klout can help sort these out i might just have found my new obsession.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

Stan, I agree with you. Social media is so difficult to measure. I look at it at the big picture level. What are my biggest sources of referral traffic? Then, I concentrate my energies there.

Please let us know if you find Klout valuable. It’s been a while since I’ve heard either pros or cons about that site.
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Mark December 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

We’re just starting to dip our toes into social media marketing but it’s interesting reading this blog and learning some of the ins and outs. We’ll have to check out Klout…although Sherryl is not a big fan..

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Hi Mark,
I’m not a big fan of Klout but I have not deleted my profile either. I have been saving a lot of time by ignoring it though. Interestingly enough, my score has remained the same as it was when I stopped participating by +K’ing people.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

That is such a true statement Abel. I know many bloggers who are so upset over the recent practices by Klout that they have deleted their accounts. I have not taken that step yet but I stopped giving +K’s and it’s interesting to see my score pretty much stay where it was. Since I really never believed that their measurement was accurate, I’ve never cared what my score was. Having said that, I don’t personally believe that I would benefit by deleting my account. I do respect anyone who feels strongly about this issue and have deleted their accounts.

For an interesting read, check out the comment section in the article that I’m attaching to this comment. Both sides of the issue are well represented there.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Does Your Klout Score Fit Into Your Social Media Strategy?My Profile

Abel Pardo
Twitter:
December 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

Klout is one of the more loved & hated ebsites in the last months. I don’t like the changes in its algorithm, but people needs to valuate things, and of course, influence.

At the moment in that Klout gives as numbers, we can use the to increase our ROI, and showing all our costumers we are pofessionals. Why? klout says it…

Astro Gremlin December 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Klout is interesting but its opinion of my activity often hurts my feelings. Klout recently described me as a “dabbler.” Ouch. Perhaps I am not all that active on Twitter but it’s kind of like a friend telling me, “That outfit makes you look fat.” True, sure, but a friend could be a little more supportive and maybe say, “Have you considered vertical stripes?”
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Klout has lost all credibility with many bloggers. I haven’t actually deleted my account yet but I’m seriously considering it.

I really like your take on it . . “like a friend telling me, ‘That outfit makes you look fat.’” That made me smile!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Utilizing Social Media to Build Brand Awareness and AuthorityMy Profile

Al Spaulding
Twitter:
November 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Lately I have been seeing a lot of complaints about people offended at Klout compiling scores about them. But if your tweets are public record then how can you fault a company for rating them? I think that this can be good if used the right way. Klout shoul doffer the option for account deletion though and as of yesterday they removed the option to do so. Not good. For now I will use it and see where this goes. thanks for the post and info.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Thanks for the update Al. I hadn’t heard that Klout had completely removed the option to delete your account. Do you know if there’s an option to somehow block them from scoring you if you never signed up in the first place?
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