Scoring a 100, Justin Bieber currently holds the only perfect Klout Score on the Internet. Knowing that a Klout score had something to do with influence, I had to investigate once and for all what this service was all about. As it turns out, many are not entirely sure themselves. A large number of bloggers have been throwing up articles about Klout scores, and there seems to be a big disagreement about the importance and accuracy of these popular scores. Many writers feel that Klout scores mean nothing, while others say these scores are the answer to all your social media questions. So which is it?
For those who are unfamiliar, a Klout Score is a score that measures your social media influence (this makes the Bieber claim a bit clearer). Every time you interact with users through social media or place content on a social network, you have some sort of influence whether you like it or not. A Klout score simply calculates this influence. This score measures three things:
- True Reach—How many people you influence
- Amplification—How much you influence these people
- Network Impact—The influence of your network
Everyone has a Klout Score, but only those who sign up can gain access. All you have to do to sign up to your Klout Score is visit klout.com and following the instructions for about two minutes. You will be asked to connect all of your social media accounts to a Klout account, and soon you will have all three of the scores (true reach, amplification, network impact) generated for you to analyze. Not only will you get to see your scores, but you’ll be able to see the scores of everyone you are connected with on your social networks. The Klout website allows you to compare Klout scores side by side, and even gives predictions about what kind of social media user you will be in the future.
Sounds pretty cool right? So what do all of these editors and bloggers (who have very high Klout Scores might I add) see wrong with this free service? Consider a few of the pros and a few of the cons that have been circling the web; then decide whether or not the service is worth your time.
Klout Supporters Say:
- Understand Your Influence—The service looks at all of your different networks and helps you determine whether or not your content and comments get a lot of engagement. If so, you will have a higher score and will therefore know whether or not your social media efforts have been successful. If not, you can change a few of your tactics to help increase this score:
- Interact with involved participants in social media through commenting/connecting
- Try to get more people to follow you than people you follow in return
- Follow popular topics to help show you are focused in on a specific niche
- It can’t hurt—Even if the site is a little bit skewed in the way it generates its scores, it can’t hurt to get a general idea of where you stand. Although it may not be perfect, the site can offer you a ballpark range of your influence and help you capitalize on your social media business opportunities. Don’t dwell on the number, but at least take a look!
Klout Skeptics Say:
- Qualitative vs. Quantitative—Not everything you do on social media networks can be calculated into a number. For this reason, Klout numbers really do not matter–they simply cannot measure everything you do online.
- Web Analytics—There are web analytics available that will help you determine the success of your website. These web analytics can be helpful, so people need to focus on these software and/or sites before worrying about a Klout score. If a company owner spends too much time worrying about Klout score, they may miss other opportunities that could have had far more influence.
- Scoring Adjustments Made—Recently, Klout changed its scoring system, which caused most people’s Klout Scores to go down significantly. Many are taking this change to mean the scores never really meant anything in the first place.
There is likely to be a debate about the importance of Klout Scores for a while. Nonetheless, knowing these scores exist (and knowing what their purpose is supposed to be) will help you stay in the loop as this debate continues to unfold. If nothing else, it’s fun to decide whether or not Justin Bieber is actually influential.
Photo Credit: technorati.com