Klout 201: Beyond the Numbers

In my last post, I introduced Klout and its features. Now, I want to really get into what makes Klout so interesting to me… the controversy that surrounds it! I also want to get into what it could mean for Millennials entering the job search in the near future and what it could mean for businesses and their brands.

At the core of the debate is the question of whether or not measuring influence on social media is really possible or accurate. First, I think it’s important to keep in mind that Klout is the first tool of its kind to try to do this, and its still very young. It might not be perfectly accurate, but as time goes on and algorithms continue to be modified, it will only become more and more precise.

I do think that it is possible to do what Klout has set out to do, and I honestly think it’s a really cool idea. How many of us have ever complained to our friends about how stupid or pointless a certain friend’s Facebook statuses are? Or stopped getting a friend’s tweets sent directly to their phone because they tweet 11 times in 25 minutes? If you are anything like me, these things happen a lot. We all have ideas of how social media should be used and opinions on who’s doing it the best… Why wouldn’t we want to put a solid, concrete number on that?

What I think is the best part of Klout is that it’s not just telling us who is doing it right. Obviously, a bias in that would be that Klout employees would be determining right from wrong, and nobody gave them the final authority in that decision. But Klout is also telling us what kind of social user we are via Klout Style. A thought leader is different than an observer, who is different than a specialist. These individuals are neither right or wrong, however, and I love that Klout distinguishes between different types of user in that way.

I think I like Klout mostly because of what it could mean for the future of job searching. Obviously, social media influence would not be necessary when trying to get a job as a teacher, or a nurse for example. But as a student eventually seeking a job in PR or social media, it could be really important. Imagine walking into an interview and being able to cite a high Klout score as a way to prove that you know what you’re doing. If, over time, organizations start buying into what Klout has to say, that’s entirely possible. If accurate, I like the idea of having a credible source telling a potential employer, “yeah, he knows his way around social media.” I think of it like an extension of a portfolio.

I firmly believe that the key element to any social media startup staying in business is connecting users to businesses. Klout is trying to do that through Perks. Not only does Perks get businesses involved in the process, which is crucial to revenue, it also gives users another reason to be somewhat concerned with their Klout and use of social media. I mean, who wouldn’t want to receive perks?

I think that Perks has the potential to be an awesome PR tactic for certain businesses. What if one perk was to be admitted into a big event? If a business was holding an event, and wanted to create some online buzz about it afterwards, they could invite people to the event that are influential in their niche. All of a sudden, the event just got a lot of credible, hopefully (and most likely) positive endorsements from the people that matter most in their field!

Of course, Klout won’t mean anything ever if people don’t think that it’s accurate. But I have to say that in my experience, it really has always been accurate. For example, I am influential, according to the service, in social media, Facebook, and Klout (ironically). When I think about it, a lot of my social media use is focused on those topics, which is further evidence by this blog post!

Klout says that a friend of mine, Taylor Bachorski, is influential about New Jersey, College, and Rutgers. As a girl that is in the Rutgers Marching Band, I don’t think that she would object to those! Similarly, Lupe Fiasco is influential about hip-hop, music, and oppression. He is a rapper and a very outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Does anyone else see a positive theme here?

My Klout score is relatively stable and gradual, as well. I have heard people complain of large jumps in their score for no reason at times. I think that occasional bugs and mistakes are common, which is why I think we need to be patient as well as take the scores with a grain of salt at times. However, my score has been between a 48 and 51 for the last 30 days. Klout recently made their scores reflect action over a 90-day period, as opposed to a 30-day period, which will definitely help to keep scores more stable and gradual. I’m really excited to see other changes that Klout makes over time to continue improving their scoring!

So what’s your Klout score? What are you influential in? What’s your style? Head over to www.Klout.com to find out!


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