If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur that is active on social media, and would like to know exactly where you stand, check out your Klout score. It's a quality ranking tool that will display your place in the world of social media.
Are you reaching your audience, having conversations, and sharing information that pushes them to action? How influential is your business across your various social media accounts? With Klout you can analyze how well you are reaching your audience on social media and use it to improve your results.
What is Klout?
Klout is a San Francisco based company, launched in 2008, which calculates a score for social media users based on their online influence. According to Klout:
Influence is the ability to drive action. When you share something on social media or in real life and people respond, that’s influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Score.
For each user, Klout calculates a score from 1 to 100, which fluctuates over time, depending on your current reach in social media. While the exact formula used is proprietary, Klout recognizes your influence on a variety of online networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Foursquare, Instagram, and more.
New networks are being explored regularly. Klout has also been forming strategic alliances, such as with search engine Bing and Microsoft’s Yammer, popular with Fortune 500 businesses.
Celebrities and politicians tend to maintain the highest individual Klout scores: Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, and Justin Beiber tend to hover around in the 90-100 mark. For businesses, top brands tend to command top scores: CNN, The New York Times, Juicy Couture, American Airlines are some high rankers.
How Does Klout Affect You?
Some people place great weight on their Klout scores, checking it regularly and taking active steps to inflate it. Others remain indifferent, recognizing it as a computer-generated score based upon one section of the bigger picture. While the level of value you place on your score is a personal decision, for any entrepreneur, it’s worth recognizing how it affects your business.
A high score indicates you’re reaching your target audience; a lower score may suggest you should rethink your social media marketing strategy.
Aside from obtaining a basic measurement of your online influence, your score can help you assess your online marketing efforts. A high score indicates you’re reaching your target audience; a lower score may suggest you should rethink your social media marketing strategy.
In some cases, your score can give you an edge over your competition. Potential employers or clients are increasingly looking to Klout as one more tool for evaluating prospective candidates. If yours is an industry where reach is important – such as social media, public relations, or marketing – a high score can be an asset to your portfolio.
With Klout’s recent partnership with search engine Bing, information will be shared between the two companies. While details of the arrangement have not be fully disclosed, it seems reasonable that having a high score may place you in better favor in search engine results. And if your name or brand is frequently entered into Bing searches, you may see a positive impact in your score.
How to Use Klout for Research
Beyond what your score means for you, Klout can be a valuable research tool for any smart business person.
If you’re hoping to establish yourself in a target market, you can look to Klout to find out who’s influential in that area. Keeping an eye on top influencers will keep you abreast of current news and trends. Even better, attracting the attention of these individuals can be a smart business move.
To examine a person or brand’s score, type their name into Klout’s search box. You'll see their current score and a list of their top influencers:
Another prospective use is to check into the scores of your customers, particularly if you are in a high visibility business. Since a high-scorer is said to be someone to whom people listen, knowing that news of your job might be spread through social media can be important information.
How to be Seen as an Influencer
Klout’s formula is tweaked regularly. While there’s no specific recipe for boosting your numbers, there are some methods have a positive affect.
1. Think Before You Interact
Klout is a measurement of your influence, not simply your activity. That means that sending out a daily “good morning!” tweet or updating your Facebook six times a day isn’t going to guarantee a boost in score. If it did, then students and pre-teens would be commanding top rankings.
Instead, share focused information that directly helps your readers, particularly those in your target niche. Think of what readers may share or respond to. For a small business owner, this can mean circulating your current specials, tips, photos, or video of stellar jobs completed.
2. Account for All Your Networks
Klout considers your influence across social media outlets, so make sure you are set up properly.
Log onto your Klout account, and your home page will display the social networks that are linked to your account:
Klout reports that your score isn’t penalized for an account with less activity, so even if you’re not regularly active on a network, include it anyway.
3. Go Beyond the Pleasantries
When you interact with your followers, aim for conversation. Tweeting at a follower to say “Great post on gardening!” is good, but “Great post on gardening, any tips on how to thwart Beatles?” is even better.
Think in terms of initiating conversations.
Think in terms of initiating conversations. Instead of “Can’t believe we’re facing another day of rain!” engage your entire audience with “How are you enjoying summer on this 10th straight day of rain?”
As a rule of thumb, try to answer and ask questions, share a compliment, or link to someone else’s useful content. And always respond to anyone who reaches out directly to you.
4. Consider Your Timing
If you habitually interact on social media during specific time windows - such as during a lunch break or when you’re winding down from work - you may be limiting the time zones in which you have influence. Try to spread your interactions out over the day.
5. Learn by Doing
Your score is going to fluctuate over time. While you don’t want to become preoccupied with checking and rechecking it, keeping watch on it at reasonable intervals over time can help you understand what drives it. When your score takes a jump, ponder what recent activity you’ve been taking. If it shows a dip, see where you’ve slowed down.
Benefitting from Klout
Klout has a strong and growing presence. While it is an algorithm-based service, it's emphasis on analyzing social media interactions is a good way to measure reach, both yours and those around you. Other similar sites, such as peerindex.com, kred.com, twitalyzer.com, are also gaining steam.
Try not to become too obsessed with analytics, but rather use the data to see how your overall social media reach is growing, and to determine 'who's who' in your target audience. Consider making Klout a part of your weekly business review sessions.