does klout actually have any?

This post will make my Klout score go up.

Klout, the social media influence measurement company says that I have a “Klout score” of 58 (as of June 22, 2012). It has been as high as 61 and has dropped consistently over the last month or so.

Klout’s an interesting concept. In exchange for monitoring your social media activity and generating their score, they in turn connect users with brands for “Klout perks”. These perks are free offers for trial products (a six pack of horrible tasting mint-flavored waters) or experiences (a 3 day free loan of a Chevrolet Volt). The brands provide the product (and apparently pay Klout) in the hope that consumers will create or participate in social media conversations about the product. It works, to a point.

My Chevy Volt loaner caused me to make a few tweets prior to its arrival, but the limited amount of time I had with the car (I don’t drive much during the week) and my inability to find a convenient charging station left me in the end where I didn’t feel like I could say anything pro or con. Other friends who’ve received the same Klout perk have been more proactive. For Chevrolet it’s a good deal and probably costs less than running hours of commercials on local television.

So how does Klout choose who gets what perks? It’s based on a Klout “score” from an algorithm they have devised but not disclosed. It changes from time to time, and last October when the scheme was updated scores dropped radically causing a host of user complaints. With companies now starting to use Klout scores to determine who gets special customer service handling how the score is determined really means more and more, even if you don’t buy into how accurate it might be.

In monitoring my own Klout score I’ve watched it go up and down. I’m a fairly active social media user, but tend to post to Facebook and Twitter more regularly than I blog, and am posting my Instagram photos all the time. While some of my Facebook posts generate a lot of activity, that doesn’t seem to matter to Klout. My average tweet with get 2 or 3 shares, and a response from a friend or coworker but since I’m not followed by tens of thousands of people they rarely move the Klout needle.

After seeing my score move I have finally tracked down what seems to be the one element which really moves the score up, and you’re reading it right now. In order to move your Klout score you need to be blogging on a regular basis, and posting links to those posts to all your social media profiles. When I blog regularly either writing long posts like this or short infographics and cartoon posts, sharing those to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn always moves the score up. The content doesn’t have to be compelling it just has to get an audience, albeit small. Nothing else seems to correlate.

Take a look at the chart in this post. See the upticks? I can map each of those to a post on this blog in the 24 to 48 hours prior to each increase. Make a post, see the needle move. Get busy at work and leave the blog alone for a few days, the score trends ever downward.

So right now, by just opening up this web page, you have moved my Klout score up just a little. You’ve done enough to help me get the next discounted experience, or free loaner car. You’ve moved my needle just a little and all you have to do to turn the tables for yourself is start typing.

What do you think about Klout? 
Do you use it? 
Is it important to you or your career? 
Would you use it to judge a potential job candidate?

Published by Steve Banfield

Kentucky born, Seattle based. Entrepreneur. Team Builder. Photographer.

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  1. I'm about as baffled by Klout as I am by trying to figure out wtf FB is doing with business pages. Yet, like Twitter (I was an early adopter), it seems to do my business some good. Oh, and we did get Chevy to move our Volt test to the weekend. We got one based on my rankings in sustainability, so when I told the fleet scheduler that I was hosting an event on that subject over the weekend, they switched my dates so the car could be parked here then. We didn't get to drive it much — no dogs allowed, and my dog goes everywhere with me. And, of course, I was stuck here hosting an event most of the time. Still, am trying to leverage that trial to get other car companies to do the same so we can test out a few as we shop. So far, I seem to be klouting, um, I mean shouting, into a big empty void.


  2. Unless they can provide someinsight into how this is quantified, marketers and those of us who care (I don't) about Klout scores will tire of the mysterious black box that determines our popularity much like we tired of those arbiters of popular in school. But we're now older, more clever and at the first opportunity will upset this apple cart. Klout can't own the mysterious algorithm and "score" people for long without a clear indication of metrics. Google can do it with sites but when it's personal, it's well, personal. I see this coming apart at the seams and gamed to the point where it's irrelevant and untrusted. Do marketers need to know who these people are who actually move the needle? Yes, and the tool does sort of work to help see that but it's gen 01 and too clunky / vague / dispassionate.This is something that would be interesting as visualized data. Like Skyrails.


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