Klout was established in December 2008 in San Francisco, with the purpose of measuring your social media activities by using analytics tools. Klout’s objective is to score the influence of any individual through his or her social networks which are – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare and even Klout itself.
What is your Klout Composed Of?
The score is calculated tracking well over 400 signals, using 10 different networks at this time, over a 90 day period. Your social media activities from four months ago have no bearing on your current score. Below are the components used to generate your Klout score.
If you receive likes, shares, and comments on the content you create, that indicates that your content has sparked engagement. If you receive mentions, that is an indicator that others are engaging with you and that also contributes to your score. The number of friends and subscribers have some bearing on your score but is somewhat insignificant. If you do not interact with them, the numbers do little good.
The number of retweets and mentions received on Twitter are an important contributor to your score. Being placed on list is also helpful to your score. The number of followers has very little impact. However, it is recommended to have more followers than users you are following, as long as the followers are real active accounts.
Google Plus Activity
All +1s, comments, mentions, and shares received on your Google Plus content play a part in your Klout score. As with Twitter, your follower count does not add much to your overall score. It is important to remember that your shared content must be public. Posts to individual circles are not picked up by Klout.
If you receive likes, comments, and mentions on your Instagram content, that will help your score.
Any saved tips and likes you receive on your check-ins help your score as well. While I have a high Klout score, I don’t use Foursquare much at all. I feel that your activity on Foursquare does not have the same impact as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Your LinkedIn title has some affect on your score. The higher level it is, the more impact it will have on your score. While number connections helps, the number of recommendations is most pivotal to your Klout score. Endorsements do not really help the cause. Receiving likes, shares, and comments on content you post is important. Like Foursquare, LinkedIn seems to be less important.
Giving and receiving +K’s from others in your networks has very little bearing on your score but nevertheless it does help. It is believed that if you receive Klout from anyone who you appoint as an influencer that it will help raise your score. From what I have witnessed, I have my doubts.
If you have a Wikipedia page, it will increase your score as having a Wikipedia page indicates that you are influential offline as well.
If you have pages and relevant articles you have written that were tagged on Bing that will help contribute to your score. Tagged article on Bing indicate that your influence goes beyond social media. However, Klout recently made changes to how Bing affects your score and are still going through changes with that as you will have to re-tag your pages through Bing.
Good Answers to Questions
The question and answer platform was introduced in May. Well endorsed and shared answers that you may have given contribute to your score. This feature does not help a lot, however it has some effect on the score.
Tumblr is currently being tested by Klout so we should see that network added in the near future.
The score is given a number from 0-100, 100 being the highest which no one currently has. At the same token, to score 0, you must not be involved on any social media at all. The average Klout score is 40, and 5% of users have “high” scores of 63 and above and 1% of users have a score of 77 and over.
Why Klout and Who Cares?
Should you care about Klout? Well it depends. And the fact of the matter is that anyone who deals with the public on a professional level is active on social media. A strong social media presence is expected of professionals involved in any kind of marketing, PR, coaching, writing, politics, music, entrepreneurship and more. One way to find out how engaging you are online and whether or not others in your networks are receptive to your content is your Klout score. As a matter of fact, employers especially in marketing firms require that applicants have a high enough Klout score to indicate that they are active on their networks or they may not get the job at all. Not to mention better customer service, hotel upgrades, and other perks can come with having high Klout scores- once more companies are aware of Klout and understand its purpose, they will reward people in their own ways for having high Klout scores.
Now if your only purpose is to run a local plumbing or electric business, you will still need a social media presence however having a high Klout score is not a necessity because customers who need an electrician or plumber are not going to look around to see which plumber or electrician has the highest Klout score. They will be more interested in reading up on the reputation of the company online before hiring.
How the Klout Score Can be Built
This infographic/collage will show you the basics, however let me elaborate on what you need to do to help your score increase.
1. The crucial thing to do before networking is to fill your profiles correctly. Make sure that your “About Me” sections are completely filled out, or hire someone to do it for you on microgig sites like Fiverr. Remember that a compelling “About Me” section alone will attract people to your tribe.
2. Klout claims that it measures influence, however, if you want to be truly influential, be sure to share compelling, tasteful and even some niche-related content all over your networks. Keep in mind that too much niche-related content can be a turn-off and some off topic content is encouraged. If you do all of that constantly you will receive responses and engagement which will help your score increase.
3. When you have enough content on your profiles, be sure to join networking groups in order to add more people to your networks who will engage with what you share.
4. Always talk to others on your lists, and show as much interest in what they put out in their networks as they show for you. If you are retweeting their tweets, liking and commenting and sharing their content on other networks, they will be more likely to do that for you too.
5. Consistency is the key and make sure you are consistent with your social media activities. This means don’t be active for one day, and then absent for days after. If you are unable to participate in your social networks, either have a friend give you a helping hand, automate posts, or even hire a VA to help keep your online presence strong.
6. Be sure to give users votes or +Ks in their topics of choice and they will do the same to yours as well. Though this kind gesture alone has only a small effect on your score, you will end up with more engagement on your networks from those whom you connected with this way and it is a great way to build your tribe.
There are people who do understand Klout’s importance and plenty more who, refusing to accept it, make misguided judgments about Klout without fully understanding its purpose. Below is a video on the common judgments made about Klout by those who refuse to accept it. This video is several months old and it is based on a post I had written back in January What you Must Know About Klout.
The Truth About Klout and Online Influence
Klout markets itself as a tool to measure online influence, however does the company really live up to its own hype? Yes, it is very important to have an attention-grabbing high score if you are in the fields described above that would need it. However, as mentioned in the video, you can still gain a high score by receiving engagement on nonsense which I know for a fact Klout is working on correcting. In order to make the best of Klout and to be truly influential online, be sure to share useful, relevant and compelling content that will easily intrigue high quality individuals into interacting with you and being part of your growing networks.
One of people’s complaints about Klout is that it is inaccurate because it does not measure the contribution from your blogs. I have to say that is untrue. If you put out good blog posts and they receive comments, likes, +1’s, retweets, and other shares then that is an indicator that your blog posts does indeed have an impact on your Klout score. Besides, who will know about your new blog posts if don’t use social media? Not to mention, your blog will show up on search engines quicker if they are shared through other people’s social media networks.
Keep in mind that Klout is frequently evolving and improving. And like any other business they will be dealing with growing pains and struggles like they had revealed back in September. See my post Klout May Be Struggling Now, Later it’s Gonna Rock.
Be sure to grab the copy of the ebook that Carly Alyssa Thorne and myself had written up, Straight Talk About Klout and Social Media Influence.
Be sure to check out the following books as well on Klout! Highly Recommended!
KLOUT SCORE: Social Media Influence, How to Gain Exposure and Increase Your Klout, by Susan Gilbert.
Klout Matters: How to Engage Customers, Boost Your Digital Influence–and Raise Your Klout Score for Success, by Terry Brock and Gina Carr.