Whether we like it or not, we all care about our standing amongst our peers in one way or another. Am I taken seriously? Are my views well regarded? Do people think I am professional enough? These are questions and insecurities that many of us have experienced at some time or another, regardless of how confidently we present ourselves to the outside world.
Well, now you have a way of empirically measuring your clout with Klout, an online algorithm platform that will tell you (and others) how influential you actually are when it comes to your online presence.
Klout calculates your influence by taking data from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. It then assesses the size of your own social network, the content you’ve created, and how other people interact with your social profile and with your online content.
Having calculated all this data, Klout will award you a ‘Klout Score’. This score runs on a scale from 1 to 100, with 1 being the lowest and 100 being the highest. The nearer to 100 your Klout score is, the more influential Klout perceives you to be.
Klout claim that your score is update daily and is visible on social networks such as Twitter as well as through social media management tools such as HootSuite and TweetDeck. For a long time it was only Justin Bieber who ever reached the perfect Klout score of 100, although President Barack Obama has overtaken him now due to Klout’s recent algorithm changes.
What is a little unnerving is that Klout is not an “opt-in” service. You will be awarded a Klout score (which would be visible to others) even if you have not registered with the platform, and chances are it will be a low one if you haven’t. This is because Klout will be unable to tie all your social media activity together to form a united, singular profile and therefore won’t give you an accurate score. To remedy this, you’ll need to sign up with Klout and curate your online presence through a Klout profile. You can also opt out of Klout altogether – but, again, you have to be proactive about this.
Does any of this really matter?
But, in all honestly, does any of this really matter? If you were to approach the average British worker in the street or in the pub and ask them what their Klout score is, you would probably get a baffled look in return. However, within certain sectors and in certain countries, Klout is becoming a metric upon which you will be judged and rewarded.
There is anecdotal evidence of people being asked their Klout score in job interviews (and losing out as it was too low), while American Airlines recently made it policy that air travellers with a high Klout score could use their first class lounges at airports for free, even if they were not travelling on American Airlines itself.
However, there are many who remain sceptical on the merits of Klout, seeing it as a stupid way to assess someone’s worth or influence (as the Bieber/Obama case proves). Would you judge someone only using a singular metric generated by the internet based on what others have posted through social media? It also arguably encourages people to distort their social media activity, leading to a frenzy of needless, excessive posting and engagement.
What should I do about Klout?
The first thing is that you just need to be aware of Klout, in the event that someone challenges you on your score. If the concept of Klout is clearly not for you, you are perfectly entitled to disregard it and to give your reasons to anyone who queries you on it.
However, in certain sectors such as the media, creative industries and in roles that require a decent online presence, you should not be too quick to discount the possibility that a low Klout score may reflect badly on you in the eyes of others, and that you should take some action to remedy it.
The most basic thing you can do to improve your Klout score is to register with the platform and indicate all the social network platforms that you want Klout to consider when calculating your score. Only add social networks that you are actually active on, as indicating a dormant Twitter account (for example) will do your score no favours (and you should think about deleting that dormant account while you’re at it).
Once registered, you’ll able to view how you’re performing in the eyes of Klout through the various dashboards and analytical tools it provides.
Beyond that, if you simply follow the best principles of online marketing, your Klout score will go up regardless as a by-product. If you are posting good, engaging content regularly and are proactively engaging with other users on social networks, you will soon get a good (i.e. over 50) Klout score. However, you should be doing this anyway if you have an effective online marketing plan in place.
The jury is still out on Klout here at Full Media Ltd, but we would be interested to hear your opinions in the comments section below.