The recent addition of LinkedIn to the mix of social media considered when calculating a Klout score has left many wondering about Klout, how to raise your score, and whether it matters after all.
Have you heard of Klout? Do you know your score? As more and more marketing professionals look for ways to measure and manipulate influence online, Klout is emerging as a force too big to be ignored.
What is Klout?
Klout’s algorithm strives to measure a user’s online influence.
Very soon after Twitter’s introduction, it became obvious that you should not judge a Twitter user by the number of followers she has. Klout aims to fill that judgment gap by assessing not only the number of followers a user has, but also the level of interaction, the quality of the followers, and the quality of the followers’ interactions.
Klout added Facebook to its algorithm in October 2010 and recently added Linkedin too.
Why should you care about Klout?
Klout is becoming that thing by which you will be judged in social media.
On HootSuite, your Klout score appears on your Twitter profile whether you have logged into Klout or not. Some Twitter users don’t follow anyone with less than a 40; I imagine some users have a higher cut-off value. Klout Perks and other marketing services are reaching out to introduce new products via so-called “influencers.” When choosing with whom to align themselves, more and more companies are considering your Klout score.
You could be the CEO of a large company, but some who see you have a Klout score of 19 will think less of your potential influence. Even people who think they do not care about these scores can fall under their sway when faced with these numbers on profiles.
Personally, I prefer to think of Klout as potential social media influence.
Obviously, if you have no followers on Twitter, you are not influencing anyone there (though you may be a large influence outside social media). The user with 2000 followers has a better chance of saying something that triggers a response. If you have low quality followers, who always broadcast and never retweet, then your potential to influence others is lower than that of the guy who has 2000 active users who @reply and retweet his broadcasts.
However, like any algorithm, once people start gaming the system, you may find it hard to lend much credence to the findings. For now, with so many already judging you by your Klout, raising your score should be foremost on your mind.
How to raise your Klout score
These tips will help you increase your klout score and your online influence:
1. Connect all your social media accounts.
Klout lets you add your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to the Twitter statistics they already collect; make sure that you do.
If you don’t show Klout your presence in these arenas, then as far as Klout can see, you have no influence there.
2. Talk/Tweet/Post updates.
You have to be active to prove you can influence others. If you don’t talk, nobody is listening. Strive to post something to each stream, each day.
3. Reply to people on Twitter using replies.
Show Klout you know how to have back-and-forth conversations with a variety of people. Klout evaluates how many @tweets you send as well as how many different users you message directly.
Do unto others as you wish done unto you, eh? Help other people spread their messages and they will help spread yours. Again, Klout measures when your messages are being retweeted and by how many different users.
Encourage this behavior by retweeting good tweets. You should also share and interact on Facebook and LinkedIn. Spread the love around.
5. Study your analytics.
Content is king and therefore key to spreading your brand (and trust me, if you have a thumbnail and a Twitter handle, you are a brand).
You have to know what information triggers a response in your audience and give them more of that. Tracking simple analytical data can guide you to more effective communication on all your platforms. (That is, if you care about Klout, how to raise your score and all that.)
6. Cross-promote your platforms.
If you have a Facebook page, invite visitors to follow you on Twitter. Make sure folks on LinkedIn know about your Facebook page. This may feel redundant, but the more ways you connect with a follower, the more opportunities you get to engage with that follower.
More engagement equals more influence in Klout’s opinion.
7. Grow your social media followings.
Yes, Klout measures a lot more, but your total followers counts still form the basis of the assessment. The more people listening to you, the more influence you are perceived to wield.
Find ways to spread your message to more people and grow your influence.
Is Klout a game?
If you do all these things and raise your score, some people might suggest you are gaming the system. I don’t agree. I think understanding the rules and then playing by them will help you succeed. Everything on this list not only increases your Klout score, but also builds your brand and grows your contacts. That spells a social media win/win/win to me.
I should also point out that Klout is not the only game in town. Empire Avenue runs a social influence stock market game and My Likes lets you monetize your Twitter stream. The more criticism we see of these metrics, the more we can expect new competitors will arise claiming to better measure and master online influence.
Like Google and other algorithms, Klout is always evolving to better interpret the data it finds. I would love to hear what you think of this system. Do you know of any factors it considers that I overlooked? Do you judge others by their Klout scores?