Does Your Klout Score Determine Your Value?

social media book reviewsWhat makes Adele a better singer than Rebecca Black?

Is it her magical vocals or her higher Klout score?

And if Seth Godin (Klout score: 0) chooses not to interact on Twitter, does that mean he’s less influential than Uncle Pete, whose Klout score is 35?

These are some of the tricky questions that are being asked since the emergence of new systems that attempt to measure people’s online influence through social scoring.”

But the question is this: How exactly is “influence” measured? And how do those who make such personal yet inflammatory verdicts decide the scores?

seth godin twitter

Twitter would look very different if Seth Godin were on it.

You Have Become a Number

If you have a social media account, your value as an influencer is already being calculated based on how often you tweet, connect, share and comment.

The measure of your “personal power” is your Klout score. The higher your score, the more “powerful and influential” you are. A high Klout score (say 70 and up) will almost guarantee your chances of getting a better job, higher social status and maybe even better luck on the dating scene!

tom webster twitter

Influence determined by social scoring is the new way of online marketing.

Believe it or not, there are people who are taking this number very seriously. Some have even started to question the wisdom of going on long vacations after working so hard to build up their Klout scores.

In his book Return on Influence, Mark Schaefer explores these controversial new developments, discusses why they’re important for businesses and why you should be taking notes.

If you want to become more influential—or just want to figure out who the influencers are—here’s what you need to know about Mark’s latest book.

Author’s Purpose

mark schaefer pic

Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence.

Mark Schaefer wrote Return on Influence to help you understand how you measure up on the social web and what that score means to your career or your business.

“Why must I measure up?”, you ask. Because there appears to be a fascinating connection between unprecedented business opportunities and this new thing called personal influence.

For the first time ever, companies can now identify, quantify and even reward valuable word-of-mouth influencers who have the power to drive demand for their products.

While the idea of being rated by some obscure online system seems outrageous, the fact is you ARE being judged whether you like it or not! And so you need to educate yourself about this issue so you can make some important decisions of your own.

What to Expect

roi book coverAt 206 pages, Return on Influence (ROI) is a highly readable and provocative book. It introduces the notion of “personal power” on the social web, but it also cautions that influence is by definition elitist.

Through dozens of stories, interviews and case studies, Return on Influence will sway the way you think about your own power, how to leverage it, and of course, how you can increase it (if that’s what you want!).

Fair warning—If you’re lucky enough to have a high Klout score, you will LOVE this book! You’ll even pay closer attention to the care and nurturing of “your number.”

But if your score is low or mediocre (50 or less), then prepare to be thoroughly unnerved. In fact, you’ll probably be offended!

Highlights

#1: The Citizen Influencer

When Virgin America opened their Toronto route last spring, they asked Klout to find a small group of influencers to receive a free flight in the hopes that they would effectively spread the word.

Calvin Lee, a graphic designer from L.A., was one of the lucky ones on that free flight simply because he was a prolific tweeter. Lee, who describes himself in his Twitter profile as a “social media ho,” is a human news service. When Lee tweets, people respond and his growing influence has won him celebrity-status perks.

Lee says, “I tweet at least 200 times a day… I look for interesting links from my friends and sift them through for good stuff… I think people feel that I’m a real person who is part of their lives.”

These days, you don’t have to be George Clooney or Lady Gaga to get an invitation to the exclusive world behind the velvet rope. Brands are turning to regular folks (like you!) to tell their stories. Instead of spending millions of dollars on television ads, they’re inviting thousands of people—citizen influencers—to talk about their products and influence their friends.

#2: Klout, Social Proof and Reciprocity

Social proof is the idea that if you have a high Klout score, thousands of followers or hundreds of retweets on your blog posts, then you’re worthy of people’s attention. But let’s talk this through, shall we?

There are those in the online world who appear to have power and influence, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or accomplishment.

Matt Ridings, founder of MSR Consulting, has a slightly lower Klout score than the mayor of his hometown of St. Louis. Both of them, however, have a lower Klout score than one @common_squirrel, a (spammy) Twitter account whose content consists only of posts such as “acorn,” “sniff” and “jump, jump, jump.”

spammy twitter account

Just about any online system can be gamed and Klout is no exception.

While he (Matt) engages on a one-to-one basis with his followers and tries to deliver useful content, the other account doesn’t engage, network or do anything for anyone—it simply doesn’t care.

So the question is, how did Klout assign this spammy account a higher measure of influence than an authentic person?

Mark concludes this section by reminding us that true and lasting influence is not the ever-changing badge of scores; rather, it’s about humanity, credibility, meaningful content and an engaged group of followers.

Reciprocity too is another thorny issue.

That’s because much influence on the social web is built on a promised return of favors; for instance, “You retweet this and I’ll retweet yours” or “I’ll like your page if you like mine.”

The trouble with reciprocity, as we know, is that it’s not always clear if you’re leveraging your relationships or just using people. Doing favors so that people owe you favors should never be the motivation behind developing relationships. But who knows what someone’s true intentions really are?

#3: Increasing Your Klout Score

Increasing your own Klout score boils down to three practical steps:

1. Build a relevant network that includes a content strategy and a network strategy.

Provide content that delivers some kind of personal or business benefit to a targeted audience that is interested in you and what you’re doing.

Have more people following you than you follow on Twitter. However, the size of your network isn’t as important as having those people react to your content.

Don’t just accumulate followers or only send links. Followers who never interact with you will not help your score. Neither will sending out links 100% of the time because it says that YOU can’t be influenced into acting.

2. Have a strategy to provide exceedingly useful, helpful, interesting and entertaining content.

You can either curate content or generate original content. However, creating original content from your own blog is a key element for success with Klout.

Create the kind of content that will survive longer and be passed along for several days—this really rocks your Klout amplification.

Finally you must be consistent. This is one of the most controversial policies of Klout, but if you stop participating in the social web for even a few days, your score begins to drop!

3. Systematically engage influencers who are most willing to distribute your content.

Klout has made it clear that engaging with people with higher scores will tend to increase your own score as well.

If you’re able to engage with influencers and they in turn respond to you, this is a validation of your potential power.

Try to connect with your offline friends and turn online connections into offline friends. In both cases, these people will be more willing to engage with you and share your content along.

When networking offline, make sure people know how to find your online platforms so that they can engage with you there as well.

klout score

Engaging with people with high Klout scores increases your own score.

Personal Impression

Mark’s latest book has definitely earned itself a space on your shelf. It’s highly significant, extremely relevant and you’d be ill-advised not to read it. But the subject matter is not pretty—quite the opposite, frankly.

Consider the evidence:

  • A system that cold-heartedly defines “the valuable” and “the irrelevant” members of our online society
  • The same system proceeds to encourage you to hob-nob with the former and toss aside the latter
  • This system can deem you influential and powerful, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or education
  • That one can devote so much time, effort and even brain cells just to increase a silly number that has no bearing on the quality of real life is remarkable
  • And when you consider that Klout is still in its infancy, you wonder how anyone can take such a flawed system so seriously

But to Klout-less rebels such as myself, Mark would argue that it has some value: Companies can now (cost-effectively) identify the people they should be interacting with, Klout helps to monitor and filter engagement and it opens up new marketing channels.

Mark presents a fair and balanced perspective on this hot button issue and he doesn’t sugar-coat the problems with Klout either. He is not saying that Klout is good or bad—just that “it is what it is” and that people are taking note of it.

In the end it’s your call, but Mark wants you to answer this question for yourself: What is true and lasting influence? After all, Seth Godin had clout even before Klout was Klout.

Social Media Examiner gives this brilliant and extraordinary book a full 5-star rating.

Over to You

What do you think? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Patricia Redsicker

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She is the Social Media Manager at US Pharmacopeia, a public standards setting organization. Follow her on Twitter at @predsicker. Other posts by »




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  • Graham

    the problem with klout is your klout score can easily be manipulated, a new account with just a few tweets can easily acheive a klout score of 50+ from gaining twitter retweets from services like 
    http://twiboost.com/twitter-marketing/retweets and also @replies from services like 
    http://retweet.org

  • http://twitter.com/SteveJDownes Steve Downes

    Interesting post. I think the measurement of influence is the biggest single factor facing social media marketeers. Here’s my view on the subject http://bit.ly/RKPKHO

  • Erica Lane

    Patricia, I have done my best to ignore Klout for as long as I could and then I read your post.  Thanks for the book review and for writing in such a way that I am now at least thinking about giving it try.

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  • http://twitter.com/MarkEStillman Mark Stillman

    Enjoyed reading the post. I see a Klout score as a number designating the potential to influence or affect change. Just because you reach a large mass of followers does not mean the content being shared is of substance or value. Although, if it has substance,  the more people you reach with your message, the greater potential there is to influence. What that being said, Klout seems to measure an individuals reach and potential to influence but not their actual influence.

  • predsicker

    That’s true Graham – gaming is one of the major weaknesses of Klout. I hope they figure out how to fix this problem else it’ll continue to be a major turn-off for many people.

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Erica. Glad you found the review helpful.

  • predsicker

    Thank you for reading Mark and you’re right about ‘potential to influence’. Unfortunately the general ‘perception’ is that Klout measures actual influence and they themselves use language that feeds that perception. 

  • http://twitter.com/redgals Archele

    Thanks for the information. I just hope that people/brands don’t get so caught up in a Klout number that they forget about what social media is really all about. If you have great content and you’re passionate about it, I don’t think it matters what your Klout number is. Maybe you want to update your resume to show potential employees how much influence you have? I could understand that. I guess people may find it gratifying that their efforts are recognized and they might just want to wear that Klout number as proof. I just wrote an article on how people get so caught up in the hype in social media, that they neglect to make sure it’s effective.

    Feel free to check it out: http://wp.me/p2DlKn-1O

    -Archele

  • http://www.velocitydigital.co.uk/blog-social Mike McGrail

    First of all I want to say that I loved ROI and urge anyone to read it. It talks so much sense about influence and makes perfect sense even when you remove the mentions of Klout. I’ve got pretty strong opinions about Klout and the false sense of influence it can breed. I wrote about my concerns just today actually - http://www.thesocialpenguinblog.com/2012/08/16/will-klout-turn-us-all-into-douchebags/

  • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

    I find Klout to be a complete disappointment. When I first signed up and connected all of my social media, my score raised to 49 immediately – they just gave me points for having accounts, not for using them. Now that I use social media 10x more, my score remains steady at 49, raising or dropping slivers of a point. Ridiculous.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Mike. Klout is really a ‘hate it or love it’ type of thing isn’t it? And I love the way you put it, “false sense of influence’. That right there sums it up for me although you gotta admit, Mark’s book give’s a very fair assessment of this thing.

  • http://LouiseM.com/ Louise Myers

    Darn! Just when I was thinking I was getting a bit too obsessive about my Klout score! Thanks for the informative article – I’ll be checking out the book too.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Archele. Yes you’re definitely right — I suppose it is gratifying to have your efforts recognized. But when obsession becomes the new normal, then it’s time to throw Klout out of the window :)

  • http://LouiseM.com/ Louise Myers

    My score was stalled at 47 – 48 for months while I focused on my FB fan pages and Twitter. Turns out that your FB personal profile was the biggest influencer of Klout, and I raised my score 5 points in a week by focusing on that instead.  Soon we’ll be able to see what’s influencing our score when “Moments” goes live.

  • predsicker

    Hi April, thanks for reading! Perhaps you should hire @common-squirrel – he seems to have better luck than most real people :) But seriously April, I feel your pain and the book addresses this problem as well.

  • predsicker

    Sure thing Louise – thanks for reading! You’ll enjoy the book :)

  • 57thdraftpick

    This is a really good article!  I recently had knee surgery and took some days away from my computer, my Klout score dropped dramatically!  Scheduling tweets was not a priority.  Maybe Klout should include contingency planning for folks who take time off.  But in all serious I agree with your point regarding perception, you have so many people on the web claiming to be experts on one thing or another when they are not, but the Klout will indicate something otherwise.  That’s where it becomes scary!

  • David Good

    This article is further proof that Klout is irrelevant to real influence. If I miss a job opportunity based on my Klout score then that employer has done me a huge favor because I wouldn’t want to work for anyone that uses Social Media as the main indicator of a prospective hire. The fact that Seth Godin, the most influential person on the web, happens to have a 0 Klout score should tell us something. We all need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and swallowing what is being fed to us on the Internet. Klout is nothing more than an internet version of the “high school cool people” claiming they are better than everyone else.

  • Eric

    I found the article Very interesting, it shared some facts I did not know; My Klout score is a 70 and I welcome anyone that wants to interact; that being said, I am FOR the people & want to help anyone to increase there Klout score; Please connect with me http://klout.com/EricRoutenberg and we will ALL raise our Klout scores. Hope everyone has a tremendous day :-)
    Eric

  • http://www.breakthroughbroker.com Nathan Froelich

    My Klout score does not define me as a person, it’s the number of friends I have on Facebook that defines me. ;)

  • Eryl Talbot

    True. I noticed that too. But Google+ seems to have a powerful effect.

  • paulawhidden

    Hi Patricia,
      You’ve got some great insights here and I haven’t been caught up on the Kloutness of it all, but when you started with a stat about Seth, I found it necessary to check.  FYI, Seth’s Klout score is currently 80.  Thought you might want to know.  

  • JasonAvant

    This Gizmodo article about how Klout is easily gamed tells me everything I need to know. (And yes, I have a fairly decent Klout score.)

    http://gizmodo.com/5896818/can-a-dumb-social-media-tool-turn-this-chump-into-the-internets-top-mom 

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    The recent updates a couple days ago make it more difficult to game the system. Now Klout is giving more credibility to sharing valuable content as you mentioned Patricia, and much less for retweets of low value content.  Plus, they are giving value to Wikipedia pages and trying to factor in offline influence via such things as job titles on LinkedIn. As a result, President Obama is now 99 and Justin Bieber has slipped a few notches. :)

  • http://socialmediasun.com/ Adam Justice

    I’m pretty sure they discount that stuff graham – it’s easy enough to do because that kind of stuff goes through the API, I wonder if they discount Triberr though.

  • http://socialmediasun.com/ Adam Justice

    They didn’t succeed there, but they did make that kid pretty influential, so it didn’t necessarily game Klout. He was driving hundreds of user actions, which is what Klout claims to measure anyway.

  • Jennipher

    I really appreciate this blog post. I found it interesting. But may I ask… how does Klout play a roll when you manage several different businesses? How can they be included?  I find my clients social network pages to be more “Klout” worthy than mine. I know that doesn’t sound good but it’s the truth. Any suggestions. Thanks again for this!

  • joecheray

    I use Klout as a way to keep myself on task with engagement. Even tho I admit to liking the perks I get from having a higher Klout score. I got a cool wine kit from Bing this summer from their Summer of Doing perks.
    I think for social media managers/consultants it is a useful tool to help them as a way to demonstrate to their clients where they can make improvements on engagement for their brand.

  • http://twitter.com/hytare Pamela Diaz

    I had never checked my klout score before, I did now, and it’s so saaaad hahaha
    and who knew I was an influencer in shopping! xD…
    either way, I don’t think I can take it to seriously, just as a reference sometimes…

  • Ann Mullen

    There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that gives a person value based on what others do and say about them. And shame on any business that won’t hire a person with a low Klout score. I happen to be a ghost in the business world. I may help others get Klout, but get none myself and someone is going to judge me on that? Honestly.

  • predsicker

    Hi Paula,
    Thanks for reading – I stand by my stats.
    That is not Seth’s Klout score – it’s his blog’s score. Notice on that profile (@ThisIsSethsBlog) that there is zero conversation or interaction, only automated links from his blog. This goes against everything that Klout is telling us to do if we want to achieve a higher score. What does that tell you?

  • predsicker

    Yes, I read about that. It’s a sad day in America when Justin Bieber has more influence than the President. Glad that Joe Fernandez and Co. took care of that :)

  • http://buhlerworks.com/wordpress JEBworks

    People believing their Klout score has anything to do with their real life influence on what matters are having a serious problem with self confidence and sense of worth. The fact that a guy like Seth Godin has a score of 0 is to me a huge tell. Sure, I have a profile which I last checked weeks if not months ago. Has it had any impact on both my professional or personal life? Absolutely zero!

  • predsicker

    Hi Jennipher,
    In the past, Klout has not cared if you’re a person, a business or a squirrel. The system scored you based on how many times you (or your profile) tweeted, commented, shared content and how often other people (especially influential people) responded to you on the social web. 

    It could be, that you were paying more attention to your clients’ online presence more than your own (as it should be) and your Klout score slipped as a result. I think you should just not worry about this silly number until they make major changes to overhaul the system (which they’re currently doing, I hear). Meantime, just focus on helping people, sharing great content and developing good relationships – all the things you would do offline anyway. My 2 cents anyway :)

  • predsicker

    What kind of wine? Just kidding Joecheray :)  

    Perks are nice when the game is fair and everyone understands the rules. But there are folks who are killing themselves (staying up late and tweeting to kingdom come) but getting nowhere – and the opposite is true too. My thought is, be normal online (don’t be obsessed with this thing) and if the perks come great – if not, no problem!

  • predsicker

    Good on you Pamela. Glad to hear you’re not losing sleep over your score :)

  • http://youtern.com/ Dave Ellis – YouTern

    Klout is like Kim Kardshian… she is “important” because the Great Unwashed have given her their attention and have assigned a value to her presence.

    If you’re influential… you are. Not because a website proclaims you to be.

    Einstein lived and died before Klout was created. So, why do we even consider him relevant? Hopefully the Dalai Llama has a high Klout score or he’ll be deemed to have been a fraud all this time…

    Klout the company tells us that its measuring system is important, that way it can stay relevant as a company.

    Real influence is how you impact people’s lives and make a difference… not a number on a website.

  • D²D London

    The influence of any Social Media account can be easily recognised by any expert, or even semi-expert,  eye from just looking at the rough figures associated with the account and a quick browsing of the content. Twitter, for example, by a simple click gives the 5 or 6 basic quantitative measures needed to value an account in qualitative terms. The inherent problem with all SM scoring systems is that they deviate massively from the basic rough figures to generate qualitative scores that are quite meaningless and then reuse them in evaluating and scoring other accounts. Great scoring should be built on a single derivation from the basic/rough figure not a multiple derivation. No motor driver is ever interested in the g value of his/her movement, while the speed of the movement is of a paramount importance (g is the 3rd derivative and speed is the 1st. Acceleration, which comes in between, still has no value to a diver but to a pilot). Improving the quality of the rough figures given by Twitter is certainly a necessity and someone will come up with proper derivatives very soon. Tweetreach is currently using a time derivative that proves more & more of practical and comparable use. Have not yet properly investigated the new update of Klout, but wish they, as well as Peer Index, have taken these points into account. A great review of an interesting book. Thanks

  • chiMaxx

    Klout is the “page hits” of this decade–a highly touted numerical score that is basically meaningless without a lot of other context.

  • joecheray

     Exactly be yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. Your audience will like you better for being genuine than if your fake for the sake of numbers.

  • http://twitter.com/nmodali Neelu Modali

    The gaming impact is minimal in the long run.  Take it from someone who has been gaming it for a while. At the end of the day, it’s tough to sustain an unnatural level of engagement. 

  • debrasimpson

    I agree. When I made sure to incorporate Google+ my score rose.

  • http://jureklepic.com/ Jure KLEPIC

    Rebecca Hi, 

    there is a difference between power and influence and this two can not be mixed. Influence is define as power to sway. In order to sway you need trust. In order to be powerful and make a change you do not need trust. Klout says influence is the ability to drive action even though they don’t even measure actions which are measurements and indicators of behavior. Nobody questions their definition of influence because Klout tells us we matter (or don’t matter) and that we have personal power (or don’t have personal power), a manifestation of the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that for self-actualization. And who doesn’t like to hear that?! You are talking about content, but creation of content is not a influence. So goes for sharing, sharing is not influence is just sharing. What are you talking in this post is not influence but awareness and that’s exactly what Klout and others are measuring. Klout also fails to explain the forms of influence they measure. The forms of influence are charismatic, authoritative, and bureaucratic. Their definition of influence falls mostly in charismatic form. 
    Klout doesn’t influencing anything but ego of people. 

  • debrasimpson

    I agree with you completely. Klout helps me gauge how engaging I could be, which can be hard for people online, to connect with others. At least it’s one of several metrics you can use to make sure you’re as visible as possible online.

  • debrasimpson

    When I find a cool new online tool for blogging or social media, I start my tweet with “Cool Tool Alert”. Klout decided I was an expert in tools. You have to take all of it with a grain of salt.

  • debrasimpson

    I loved the book. It was sent to me because of my PeerIndex score. The publisher was looking for people in my arena to read and review the book.

    I think Klout can be one of the tools you can use to measure what you’re doing online and how you can improve your visibility. Really, we are all judged on a daily basis, whether we like it or not. We are judged by the car we drive, the clothes we wear, our haircut, do we have tats, etc. You can’t get wrapped up in it, but you can derive some useful info on how you market your business online.

  • http://twitter.com/hytare Pamela Diaz

    hahaha I think I’m a expert in shopping because I mentioned I was going to the shopping mall once… at least I think… xD

  • http://www.razchorev.com/ Raz Chorev

    Thank for the review, and bringing this book to my attention. I was browsing through the comments belw, and there is a lot of talk about Klout, as I’m sure the book has as well. I find it is weird that no other influence measuring tools are mentioned, such as Kred, Peerindex, Peekanalytics, to mention a few.
    I’m not sure that Klout is the ultimate influence measurement, but if your are measuring people’s online influence, it may be beneficial to compare the scores from different algorithms and metrics..

  • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

    I play the Klout game though most people inside the system realize it is proves nothing. I play since it is a metric in several blogger ranking boards. I wonder which score is more pointless Klout or Alexa ranking? 
    EDIT- So I just checked my Klout as I do once per week..they’ve done some changes. I was a 42, but have jumped up to 52…anyone know why?

  • predsicker

    Probably because of some major changes they made this week. See this article on Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/08/14/new-klout-formula-delivers-change-we-can-believe-in-obama-99-bieber-92/ – it explains why bloggers are seeing sudden jumps in their Klout scores.

  • predsicker

    Hey Raz – thanks for reading. You’re right the focus of this article is Klout because the book talks mostly about Klout :)

  • predsicker

    Hi Dave — I couldn’t have said it better if I tried. Thanks for your awesome comment :)

  • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

    Thanks for the link! Klout can only get better…now if they could only give away some decent prizes. 

  • http://jureklepic.com/ Jure KLEPIC

    That’s tells me exactly how Klout doesn’t measure influence Patricia. Your argument here is wrong… As well why would we need instruction on how to achieve higher score, isn’t that part of manipulation? Klout assign you low score on the beginning on purpose and ask you to do what they want you to do, connect more profiles, like us on facebook, invite your friends… which of this action do show any signs of influence? can you explain that to me? Again they are only actions to drive awareness    

  • http://humanwebsite.com.my/ Kent

    I think I will need to buy the book since I still don’t know how Klout can measure the quality of relationship.

  • claudeoggier

    Great post and I also give the book a full 5-star rating! Another interesting part of the book is where Mark tells you more about how people try to game the system in order to get a higher social scoring. Not really something you should follow to do but certainly good to know about;-)

    Social scoring is definitely a hot topic with great debates;-)

    Cheers,
    Claude

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    This was article was a breath of fresh air, or should I say air that sometimes we forget is out there to breathe into our businesses. I totally agree while everyone is rushing out there to get social profiles. They have forgotten the good stalwart advice of being listed on a great directory. Klout Score is definitely one of them.

  • Simon Rogers57

    Influence is what other people bestow on you because you affect them. If the people you affect are not on Twitter and there are still millions who are not, then a Twitter centric view of the world is flawed. Influence is also dependent on field. Gary Linneker is a retired footballer and now TV presenter. Would he be taken seriously regarding Economic forecasting for the Euro Zone? Would his words move stock market values? No, of course not! But his view on Man Utd and Robin Van Persie would be of interest. Klout and other tools like it are interesting but not really very valuable unless you focus on the detail.

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  • Marc Zazeela

    Sites like Klout measure popularity, not influence. There is a big difference. Does having a million Twitter followers make you influential? How many of those millions are bots or companies? Think you influence them too?

    From what I understand Klout scores are based on certain algorithms that produce numbers based on the number of responses, clicks, posts, sites visited, etc. I don’t see how that can measure influence.

    Sure, I may respond to your Tweet. So, I suppose you  have influenced me to respond. But, what if I responded with some snarky comments simply because I thought what you said was stupid? Is that how you want to be influential?

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  • ldpaul50

    To Klout or not…this is a terrific book review!

  • Aryehmailbox

    After reading through all of the comments I feel there are a lot of gems revealed that we as social media marketers and enthusiasts need to remember and pay attention to: paying attention to what influence is and how it is measured regardless of the platform, the importance and value of our own original content and carefully curated content, and lastly our intent; are we not doing this for a purpose other than our own fame and importance? One other key note to all the readers is to remember that social media is global, and in some countries like Vietnam and China, Klout scores reveal nothing because either by cultural or legal influence platforms like Twitter and Facebook are not used. For those of you curating or gauging influence outside the West I recommend sticking to your pre-Klout strategies.
    Cheers,
    Stephen

  • http://www.websitebegin.com Joe Boyle

    Does Klout determine my value? No way. I’m great. When I say great, I mean that I’m probably the best person alive without a doubt. Even though my Klout score is low, I’m still up there with John Lennon, George Harrison, Steve Jobs, and George Washington. Klout just doesn’t know it yet.

    Okay, now that I’ve pretended to be a conceited, ignorant *insert term that would describe how I just acted*, I’ll get on with my real opinion – no. It really isn’t possible to judge a the worth of a person based on an algorithm. There’s far too many factors to consider.

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  • http://www.60SecondMarketer.com Jamie Turner

    Thanks for another great article, Patricia. I’ve read Mark’s book (disclosure: he’s a friend and we meet regularly on Google+) and it’s a terrific book. Not only does he have a great premise, but it’s packed with useful tips. I highly recommend it.

    Patricia — you must do a ton of reading! Great job.

    Cheers,
    Jamie Turner

  • http://www.thenerdynurse.com/ The Nerdy Nurse

    Nice Klout tips. Thanks

  • http://malharbarai.com/ Malhar Barai

    Nice post!! My biggest grouse is about the gaming aspect of Klout which may not be a true reflection about the content the user shares. Not sure if influence can be truly measured!!!

  • predsicker

    Hi Jamie,

    Good to see you and thanks for reading. This was my first time to read Mark’s books although I follow his blog from time to time. Yes, I read 2 or 3 books a month :) – your last one was terrific by the way. Can’t wait for your next book Jamie. Cheers!

  • http://www.60SecondMarketer.com Jamie Turner

    Thanks, Patricia. You’re too kind!

    I’m in the very early stages of exploring the next book, which may be written/edited by several marketing authors who have written for SME in the past. Stay tuned!

    Cheers,
    Jamie

  • Lawrence Fisher

    Klout is a good idea but it has so many bugs that it simply does not work as promised. Many of us have stopped using it due to the plethora of problems which Klout recognizes as bugs but do not attend to or they take over a month to fix.

  • predsicker

    Thank YOU for reading Nerdy Nurse :)

  • predsicker

    That’s right Joe…”too many factors to consider”. Btw, you’re probably right – the only difference b/w you and those other guys is opportunity and timing, wouldn’t you agree :) Cheers for reading my article!

  • predsicker

    Thank you for reading!

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your kind comments OBVA — so glad you enjoyed the article :)

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  • http://www.velocitydigital.co.uk/blog-social Mike McGrail

    Thanks Patricia, appreciate that! Mark does indeed give a fair appraisal of it.

  • http://www.verticalelevation.com/ Carol Schultz

    Patricia:  Great post!  I got on Klout some time ago as an experiment.  The more I interacted with social media the more it went up, but when I stopped for a day or two and it began to decline.  I was spending so much time worrying about my Klout score I didn’t have time for actual revenue generating business.  That is a problem.

    I think the larger issue is the “nation of sheep” mentality that people have.  Are companies that naive to determine who they want to do business with based on some arbitrary “influence” score?  Is a high score really directly related to one’s ability to do business effectively?  I say NO!  I’ve got a score of 47 and have no clue as to how this happened.  I have been been so busy I have been all but missing on social media for about a month.  I’ve been so busy I haven’t even contributed a post to any of the media sites I contribute to.  

  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Jure, you are a supporter of Kred, right? The two companies do exactly the same thing – dissect social media content and assign a score. And Kred uses far fewer data points. It is illogical that you can support one enthusiastically while ripping the other to shreds. Fundamentally, they both do the same thing, friend. Of course both companies have made PR mistakes but either they measure influence or they don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Klout has nothing to do with offline influence. If you read the book you will understand the small sliver of influence Klout is trying to monitor and assess.

  • madeline gutierrez

    I didn’t see this mentioned yet –

    Here’s the thing.  Maybe you are very important to a very small niche group. While Klout looks at interactions etc – they do look at numbers – and the numbers your fans/followers have including the number of their interactions.So you may be great at what you do – but if it’s selling custom egg cartons to backyard urban chicken raisers… Your Klout may be low.Somehow – not fair.

    By the way – there is a small company that does just that – custom printed egg cartons in low – noncommercial quantities. 

    http://MadelineHere.info 
    Madeline Gutierrez

    And meanwhile – yeah I am working on my Klout – for the Klout Perks – and a “just in case”.  So contact me on twitter and I’ll chat with ya!

  • http://jureklepic.com/ Jure KLEPIC

    Mark Hi,

    yes i am a Kred Leader and i am open on that to public.  And I know that you indeed read my posts on Influence. Is fair to say that I gave an objective critics to Kred and Klout in them,  indeed i even went so far to say which part of data can be useful. I will say non of the platforms measure any kind of influence. Influence is power to sway, so definition has 2 parts. Power and Sway. Klout, Kred, Peerindex and others are good at first part of definition which is power. Retweets, likes, comments, shares and so on, are not indicators of the most important part of definition = sway. This actions doesn’t tell us if anyone was swayed. Influence is not just getting people to take a passive action like retweet, like, share or comment, but to get a person think about and do something they otherwise might not do.

    Let me get back to content, creation of content or ability to spread content is not influence. Creating a reaction only give us a reaction. Creating of content is creating awareness or building it, an old style of marketing, there is really nothing new here Mark. Is there any scientific study out there that would confirm the theory that creation of content and ability to spread message creates the change in behavior? 
    Here is an example Mark, You remember the tweet of Kenneth Cole last year in march… Numeros reactions were created, message went indeed viral, their Klout score increased in 24h for 30 points, so they became very influential in Klout system. But here is the reality…. Kenneth Cole reported that its profit share dropped to 3 cents per share from 5 cents per share year before.  The lost revenue for 2Q was 5.3 %. Of course there is many others factors that could cost lost of profit, but this  Kenneth Cole example is
    demonstrating the opposite of what one would want “influence” to achieve. 

    I agree with you that Kred at this point of time uses fewer data points, but at least they dont inflate their capacity like Klout does. Klout said we use over 400 variables in order to calculate your score. Really??? They currently use data from 5 social networks ( i am not counting Wikipedia in it ) so how many actions can user do on this 5 networks in total ? If you really stretch out to every single possible combination that user can do, you will come to a number of 40… So where does Klout get the rest of 360 variables from ???? And here is my big question if they are able to use 400 different variables how come non of them indicates any behavioral change, when we know that influence is power to sway. Klout said “Influence is ability to drive actions”, but non of their variables measure any actions either, they only measure awareness. 

  • http://www.confluentforms.com/ David Kutcher

    Having interacted with too many clients lately who have questioned me about Klout (and also Hubspot which seems to actively promote Klout as a measuring stick), I finally broke down and wrote a somewhat lengthy post about why I believe focusing on Klout could be detrimental to your business: 
    http://blog.confluentforms.com/2012/08/klout-focus-bad-for-business-hubspot.html

    I think the gamification of this aspect of social media, and the packaging and selling it to businesses who don’t know any better with a level of fear, is doing harm to the entire industry. One business in particular has spend over 30k US on Hubspot and yet you can’t find them in a Google search without using their corporate name in that search? Yes, I just transitioned from Klout to Hubspot, but my article does a better job of tying them together.

  • Dawn Mentzer

    Enjoyed your post, Patricia! I’ve always admired Mark’s insight on Twitter, but hadn’t bought his book yet. I will now. :) Although the accuracy of online influence measurements are often flawed, the reality is that people (potential clients, biz partners, employers…) are factoring them into the equation when making decisions. We need to pay attention to how we rate whether we like it or not!

  • Dawn Mentzer

    Ummm…I meant “Although the accuracy of online influence measurements IS often flawed…” Apparently my proofreading skills don’t kick in until after my second cup of coffee. ;)

  • http://enjoyingthefreelife.tumblr.com Adeline Yuboco

    Thanks so much for posting this, Patricia. You’ve convinced me to grab a copy of this book. I’ve been trying to understand this whole Klout thing since it started. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that it seems to give the most weight to Twitter than other social networks. There was one instance where I was quite active in Facebook compared to Twitter, joining in comment threads and such, and yet it went down. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like Klout is one huge guessing game. 

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Adeline. Twitter certainly is the key ‘influencer’ (pun intended) of your Klout score although other social interactions factor in as well. I know they’re currently making some changes to this platform and it remains to be seen how these changes will create a more credible scoring system. Meanwhile, if Klout means a lot to you then hang in there and keep doing what you do best and let’s see how things pan out. Cheers for reading :)

  • predsicker

    Agreed! And that’s the gist of the book – if it matters to you, pay attention to it. Otherwise, don’t. But the book is great for covering all perspectives. Happy reading! 

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your feedback David.

  • predsicker

    Agreed Lawrence. Do you intend to check back from time to time and see if they fixed those bugs?

  • Lawrence Fisher

    I check back and have seen that they have not even with the new algorithm.  It does not even work well with Facebook. I get Klout requests on FB all the time and I am unable to do anything about them.

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  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Unfortunatley I am quite sure there is nothing I could ever say that would enlighten you on this subject. I am not a defender of Klout (and don;t agree with everything they do or have done), but I am a defender of the legitimacy of the social scoring trend. You are carrying around an outdated notion of influence based solely on the offline world.

    In the online world, the mechanics of influence are vastly different and the ability to create content that is shared (we can certainly measure that) and reacted to (an ACTION that is also measurable ie, a click or a RT) is certainly a source of influence. You are a living example of it. How much of your personal power would exist if we were having this conversation in 1999? I know that you would have zero impact on me (and vise versa) because we would be unaware of each other’s content.

    Futher, companies are now connecting the dots between online conversations and offline buying behaviors. It is converging and that is historically important. I hope you don’t ignore these trends Jure. As you say yourself in your comment, the Kenneth Cole example is inaccuarate.  You can;t hang financial results on a single errant tweet. Why even use such an example?  You’re stretching to confirm an illogical argument. Push the emotions down and live in the world of data my friend. It’s certainly not perfect, but it can;t be ignored either.

  • http://influitive.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I am one of those who is aware of his Klout score but I am sincerely not obsessed with it. I focus on doing my work and pursing things and people of interest to me. If my klout score happens to go up then that is fine. For me at a personal level – the social web should be a fun and authentic place and by worrying too much about increasing scores such as Klout or Kred or PeerIndex, et….. then that takes the fun element from me. Having said that – I think that professional marketers or others in similar positions do need to pay attention to such things because they are out there and they are becoming part of how people are valued online.

  • D²D London

    Just a week ago we postulated that a better scoring for INFLUENCE or social media is a ‘necessity’ & that someone will come up ‘very soon’ with a first degree derivative from the ‘rough’ figures given by Twitter. Statuspeople.com has just come up with ‘Fake Follower Check’ Twitter App to just measure the percentage of FAKE followers of any Twitter account. It is amazing & astonishing how big fat Twitter ‘Celebrities’ who scored 70+ & 80+ on Klout can now be easily singled out as 90% or more FAKERS. No examples will be given here, but a reminder of a world wide news of Obama & Ladygaga scoring 70%+ FAKE is just a 
    collateral damage of this genius application; more disappointments with the ‘Scoring System’ will bubble soon. @predsicker:disqus scores 0% fakers .  We expect and accept that most SM gurus are ignorant in basic physics/statistics; they have been building their perpetuating empire on posting links to Mashable’s ‘this & that’. We understand that what we explain here is hard to understand by the FAKE gurus.

  • http://www.blakestrategiesgroup.com/ Jonathon Hyjek

    Klout score is completely useless in my opinion. My Klout score has floated up and down by as many as 20 points in just a few days, so I doubt it’s value and accuracy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577703516 Lawrence Fisher

    I have opted out of Klout. A total waste of time and I have them quite amateurish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=577703516 Lawrence Fisher

    There are so many bugs on Klout. Do not get upset if your score fluctuates for no logical reason.

  • http://www.freedoctopdf.com/ Lucy Toretos

    Enjoyed these tips, Charlene, and believe that inviting people to comment is a key bit of advice.  Not only asking, “What do you think?” but also setting the right tone.

  • http://www.INSTANTCASHADVANCEPAYDAYLOANS.COM/ Rolino

    Thanks
    a lot for being our lecturer on this topic. I actually enjoyed your
    article very much and most of all favored the way you handled the areas I
    regarded as controversial. You happen to be always extremely kind to
    readers really like me and let me in my existence. Thank you.
     

  • http://www.winterolympics2014.org/ Benly Denver

    Thanks for the tips Patricia.. I will try Klout :)

  • http://www.coffee-shopping.com/ Sophia Andersen

    After reading this article and the comments above, it makes me excited of trying Klout, i haven’t try it before but now i’m really confused bout it. thanks Patricia for this post, really opened my mind to try it.

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  • http://www.masseffect3.net/ Simon Lopez

    That’s right Sophia. I really enjoyed reading what they were comments in this blog.

  • http://twitter.com/hytare Pamela Diaz

    I checked my score for the first time when this article came out and now and I checked again today and I’m a 55, and aparently I was a 60 a few days ago. I wonder how? lol, I haven’t done anything and my twitter and facebook is for personal use only, I don’t use it for my business. So I have a 55 score because I talk a lot with my friends in facebook? aparently klout doesn’t take my facebook page score, but my persona account score,… kind of stupid lol

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