Manipulating Klout

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Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase

Klout.com is a website that generates a metric for folks engaged in social media. The idea is that the higher your Klout score, the greater the influence you have on your audience. As I’m a person that likes to understand cause and effect, I’ve been actively monitoring my Klout score for the last few weeks, trying to sort out what makes it tick. Here are my observations.

  • Klout only watches your public posts on Google Plus. This is a little silly, in that the greatest draw of G+ are circles. So purely for the benefit of Klout, I’ve moved to sharing everything publicly.
  • I’m not sure what Klout does with Facebook, as it doesn’t know your statistics like it does with Twitter and public G+ activity. That’s pretty much okay with me, as I don’t use Facebook for very much other than disapproving when people tag me in high school pictures. (Some of us never left the 80′s, I guess.)
  • Klout will talk to WordPress.com hosted sites (like this one) from what I can tell, but not to a self-hosted WordPress site. This is a bummer for me, as I get a large number of page views when I blog at PacketPushers.net. It would be nice if Klout provided a plug-in or other mechanism to allow self-hosted blogs to be included in the metric.
  • Inactivity drives the score down. This makes sense. It’s hard to influence anyone if you aren’t saying anything. On days where I don’t have time or interest in social media, my Klout score almost always takes a small hit.
  • Reactions matter more than activity. Therefore, say things that will be responded to, retweeted, or +1′ed. One of the largest Klout score jumps I saw came the day after I asked for an opinion about the MacBook Air from current owners. I received perhaps 20-30 responses.
  • Sometimes the influence topics are way out there. You can select from Klout’s auto-generated list what topics you want to be considered influential for, which helps with the more bizarre selections. Although I kept “unicorns”, by golly.
  • Scores tend not to change much from day to day. A few tenths in either direction is all I’ve ever seen for my level of activity.

I’m not quite sure ultimately what Klout means. Does it mean people care what I say? I think that’s what Klout wants it to mean. But Klout lacks one significant element – context. My Klout score is up against famous actors and the like, who have scores far higher than mine. However, no one cares what famous actors say in the context of topics I’m influential about. So why does my Klout score measure up against their’s? It’s not logical. Klout scores would be much more meaningful if they were attached to topics of influence. That’s something you could hang your marketing hat on.

 
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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your observations of Klout. I have also been evaluating and analyzing it in recent months. Here are some thoughts on your article:

    1. Klout scores generally don’t fluctuate much. The exception is when a special event is made public on Facebook – birthdays, hospitalizations, deaths in the family. When a birthday occurs, Klout score can increase significantly. I call that the Klout Birthday Boost.*

    2. Klout counts what goes on in your Facebook personal profile but not groups or on Pages.

    3. Klout currently counts Twitter, Facebook personal profiles, Linkedin, Google+, and Foursquare.

    4. Since October, Klout looks at the past 90 days versus the 30 days it looked at previously. However, there seems to be more weight put on recent activity.

    I also wrote about the “Klout Birthday Boost.*” I listed your post as a related article. I’d love to get your thoughts on my post.
    http://ginacarr.blogspot.com/2012/02/klout-power-how-to-raise-your-klout.html