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Klout, Social Media Influence, Social Networks

Social Media A to Z Series: K is for Klout. 10 Ways Businesses Are Using Your Klout Score, Whether You Are A Member Or Not.

Well, in the last post I talked about the influencer in social media. I even went so far as to share a few tips to identify them. What I omitted was how to measure the degree of influence? With social media growing at such a rapid pace, businesses are grappling on how to measure the degree of influence any one individual actually has. What is an effective method of measuring one’s reach, audience persuasion and in essence clout? As a result of this need, a handful of organizations have evolved in attempting to provide metrics on how to measure just that.

Klout is such one company.

Klout is a company that provides social media metrics that measures a person’s influence across their social sites.  It started by using data collected from individuals’ Twitter accounts however as of today, it has included a number of other social sites, namely:  Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin, YouTube, Foursquare, Flickr, Instagram, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and Individuals connect their accounts to Klout, then  Klout assesses their activity and provides an overall rating from 1 (low clout/influence) to 100 (high clout/influence). This is perhaps the simple version of their approach (my mantra) however there is merit in understanding this rating in more detail and its implications.

The Klout Rating

The Klout rating is based on an algorithm related to:

  • Network Reach: Your reach is the size of your engaged audience. It addresses the question of ” How far can your message reach?”
  • Amplification: Your amplification is based on the level of “action” your message or information drives eg  the level of retweets, likes, shares, comments  to a post, article etc. It addresses the question of  “How much does your audience take action?”
  • Network Influence: This measure addresses how “influential” is your engaged audience/connections or “How persuasive is your audience?”.

A combination of all these scores give you one rating known as your Klout Rating

What Influencer Type Are You?

In addition to the above rating, Klout also assigns a behavioral style  based on how you interact with your audience ie your level of listening, participating, sharing, creating, how focused you are with your topics  and the frequency of your shares. The categories or behavioural types are: Observer, Explorer, Dabbler, Conversationalist Activist, Socializer, Syndicater, Feeder, Thought leader, Specialist, Networker, Pundit, Curator, Broadcaster, Taste Maker and Celebrity.

What Topics Are You Influential About?

Klout also reports on the topics that you are influential about. After a period of time on Klout, Klout lists the topics where you have influence and you are added to a Klout topical list. Once your influential topics are listed, other Klout members can recognize this influence by giving you a “+K”.  Collecting these “Ks” is another form of recognition. Below you can see my profile with my overall rating and other components are described.

Klout site as a Social Community.

What I don’t see is a sense of  social community on the Klout site. So although it measures social activity on the internet, I don’t see a social presence on its site. There is very little there to help you improve your social media ability.

So What Does This All Mean To You? And Does It Really Matter?

Remember this rating is based on a mathematical algorithm. It is a useful tool that should be used as guide. The ratings still needs work. I will share the example of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook below.

As I looked up those who are influential on the topic of Facebook, I was very surprised that the CEO had an overall rating of 57 and was definitely not the most influential regarding Facebook. This demonstrates that work is still required. The topics and ratings are not necessarily accurate. I (with my rating of 58) certainly do not have more influence than Mark Zuckerberg (with his rating of 57) and hence the assessments have a few flaws. In our society your level of influence and reach have always been assessed and like it or not are important levers. Having a way of measuring individual’s level of influence is a very valuable asset. Klout has recognized this and is feverishly striving to become the gold standard  for measuring influence in social media. Klout’s excellent marketing strategies have paid off.  Like a credit score or rating, it has become increasingly important to know your Klout rating especially as businesses increases its acceptance for the K-rating. Although it is still very early in its maturity and has yet to evolve to be truly effective, Klout’s increasing popularity cannot be ignored.

Here are 10 examples of how Klout ratings are being used:

  1. Free Flights for Top Influencers: Virgin America has partnered with Klout to extend free flights from Toronto to San Francisco or Las Vegas
  2. Personalized Social Media Promotions on Facebook pages that are customized to your Klout score. There is an App that will enable companies to deliver different pages of their Facebook depending on your Klout score. The term is called Fan-gating where your experience on the site is determined by your Klout score.
  3. Funny or Die access. Top Klout influencers can earn first access to Funny or Die content previews, products and exclusive events.
  4. The Klout Club at The Palms Hotel, LA. The Palm Hotel uses Klout scores to gauge discounts for hotel guest and exclusive amenities.
  5. Marriott Hotel discounts. The Marriot checks you in and checks your Klout score simultaneously to make a decision on whether they will give you an upgrade or not.
  6. Speakers. Some speakers  are being selected for an event as a result of their high Klout score.
  7. Guest Bloggers. Similar to speakers,  some guest bloggers are invited to blog as a result of their Klout rating.
  8. Subway Restaurant gift cards. The restaurant offers gift cards to those with high Klout ratings.
  9. Special Event Access.. As with the header image shown in this post, events are beginning to be catered to an audience with a certain Klout rating. In the case of Bal Harbour Shops Fashion event , you had to have a rating of at least 40 to get in.
  10. The Hiring Process. The recruitment sector is beginning to create a short list of candidates with a certain Klout score as it relates to the job opportunity.

So let me leave you with a last thought and consideration. Your Klout  rating can be assessed without you  joining Klout (as shown the example above). Your connections will be aware of your Klout ratings even if you are not part of the Klout membership.  My advice is, like a credit rating, you should be aware of this score so that you know what information is out on the internet regarding your perceived influence. I would use the ratings as “directional” ie providing a gauge  on  an individual’s presence in the social media arena. However, I would also do the research to acquire additional context for that influence. Without a doubt, one should keep an eye on the evolution of Klout particularly as it influences the way marketers are beginning to think about their audience.

Wow! A little longer than I had intended. Thank you for popping by. If you enjoyed this post, you can help my Klout rating by going into action: like, share and/or comment. Cheers!



About Shirley Williams

I have a passion to create, resolve and build.I have had a pretty dynamic career that some say has led to a solid reputation as a visionary, result-driven and passionate leader. I say, simplify the complexity, work WITH people and you have a formula that not only deliver results but forms bonds that will stand the test of time. I have led numerous initiatives with a geographical scope that has included Canada, US, The South Americas,Europe and Australia. My professional career spans Biotechnology, Brand & Generic Pharmaceuticals, IBM Business Consulting Services, Healthcare, Retail, Electronics, more recently Mining and now Social Media. I am a biochemist and have a Master of Scence degree in endocrine pharmacology. I am a certified practitioner and professional in Change Management (Prosci), Project Management (PMP/PMI) and Social Media (OMCP, Online Marketing Certified Professional). So that makes my full title to be: Shirley Williams, MSc. PMP. CMC. OCMP. Having spent many years in the LifeSciences (you can check my career profile on Linkedin ) I have now directed my attention to bridging strategy and goals with social media. Loving it! In fact I am passionate about it. I have also produced and currently host my own internet radio show. My programs to-date have included Rise Of The Patient and Give Startups A Chance. I consider myself as an Experience Enabler. I facilitate and advocate for improved experience from the consumer perspective. Thank you for stopping by to check me out!


16 thoughts on “Social Media A to Z Series: K is for Klout. 10 Ways Businesses Are Using Your Klout Score, Whether You Are A Member Or Not.

  1. Thanks Shirley! An interesting post! I’m sure, Klout will become more importance in the online and offline world in the next few months for everybody. I have shared this post on all my social media. Cheers! Martin

    Posted by Martin Gysler | October 21, 2011, 5:40 am
    • Thank you Martin!!
      I agree – as more and more businesses adopt the rating and incorporate it into their business/marketing strategies the more Klout will gain momentum.
      Thank you for the share!

      Posted by Shirley Williams | October 21, 2011, 4:10 pm


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