Klout: What's your True Social Media Reach?

Klout is an analytics tool that measures your online influence, i.e. your ability to generate good discussions and make useful connections. The company describe it as, ‘a social credit score that will increasingly impact your life.’ I’m not sure comparing it to a credit score is an entirely great idea… when I think of the words credit and score, side by side, I go a bit dizzy.

Once you have registered your Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account(s) with Klout, you’ll be given your score and a charming little label. I’m a ‘specialist’ and apparently my opinion, in my specialist area, is second to none. Well, you know.

Your score is based on a large number of factors, some of the obvious include the amount of retweets and @mentions you receive and also the amount of comments, likes and shares on Facebook. Other less obvious factors taken into account are your @mention count, your list count, your unique likes and unique retweets. To get your head around Klout’s scoring system take a look at their beginner’s guide.

Your score is analysed by three factors:

  • Network Influence:  How well you influence the people you are already engaged with.
  • Amplification Probability: The ability to create compelling content that spreads across not only your own network but across others too.
  • True Reach: Size of your audience that is actively engaged with you (for example, my reach is 348 but I have 700 odd followers, quite handy to know how many of your followers actually engage with your content). Not entirely sure how this applies to Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare.

Klout recently introduced Perks in the US – a clever way for the company to create revenue by integrating brands. For example, Virgin America gave away free flights between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles to top Twitter ‘influencers’. Those who won the Perk were not asked to blog or tweet about their experience but it’s likely they would have. Klout describe this as a more targeted form of receiving a free sample in a supermarket. Mashable has covered the Virgin America Perk in far more detail here and in case you were wondering, the winner of the free flight had a Klout score of 42. My score is slightly higher than this so when Perks are introduced in the UK, I’ll be expecting a freebie… a round trip to Croatia or something would be alright. And I could blog about it on here, are you reading this Klout Perk people?!

Yesterday, Spotify launched in America and they partnered with Klout to give away free accounts to top influencers in the entertainment industry. The Perk was so popular, Klout collapsed. This shows Klout has the potential to be a very powerful promotional tool.

Last month Klout partnered with Involver, a Facebook page management company, to allow companies to target their fans based on their Klout. The idea is for brands to award consumers based on their social influence, different users will view different Facebook content based on their score. The Klout app is built in Involver’s Social Markup Language (SML) and this is the language that allows brands to choose what they show to users based on their online influence. Klout use the term ‘fan-gating’ which is similar to ‘like-gating’ – you have to ‘Like’ a page to view its content. The same goes for fan-gating but it is related to your Klout score, which will determine the type of content you see and the perks you receive.

I’m not so keen on this idea. Brands can only target consumers based on their Klout – what about the die-hard fans who don’t have a good Klout score? They won’t receive any freebies or perks because they aren’t popular enough? Maybe I’m missing the point but I don’t like this idea.

There are aspects of Klout that are clever and original, there’s no other social analytics tool that measures a person’s online influence in as much detail. At the moment, Klout seems to me like a popularity contest and (easily led) people are starting to believe a Klout score actually means something. Look at your score as an interesting way to measure your social reach, but don’t get sucked in, it’s really not worth it.

Clair ONeill
  • Written by on 15th July 2011 at 10:25
  • “Clair O'Neill is a copywriter at Fluid Creativity.”
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