By now, I am sure you have heard of Klout.
But just in case you haven't, here is a brief rundown on the tool: Klout uses social media analytics to rank users according to their online influence. Drawing on over 50 billion (yes, billion) pieces of information per day, the services attempts to provide a picture of how important and influential users are online. At it's core, it's a measurement of one's social influence.
Using a scale of 1-100, Klout measures factors such as number of social media followers, level of engagement, inbound links, pagerank and Wikipedia ranking.
Keep in mind, however, that not all social networks are monitored. This means if you are particularly active on a smaller or more obscure network, this may not be factored into your Klout Score. Even some of the larger networks (like Pinterest) are not included: Currently the only ones used in Klout’s algorithms are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram and Foursquare.
So, Why Should You Care About Your Klout Score?
Although it may not be perfect, many agree it is one of the best ways we currently have to quantify online influence.
For those of you who are a little bit skeptical about the value of having a strong Klout score, here are a few reasons I believe it can be a powerful tool for measuring influence.
It gives you a metric against which to judge the effectiveness of your overall social marketing efforts.
It is easy enough to track and quantify influence using one, single metric: for instance, Facebook fans. But when it comes to quantifying your overall influence, we simply don’t have a standard method of measurement. Klout helps bridge this gap.
Knowing your Klout score gives you a way to track the effectiveness of your social media efforts. When you have a number you can use as a benchmark, it makes it easier to judge whether your online influence is growing or declining; and armed with this knowledge, you can actually take steps to improve your influence.
In fields where influence is important, your Klout score can give you a competitive edge when it comes to employment.
In industries where online influence is important, having a solid Klout score can certainly give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or competing for contracts.
For instance, a Wired.com article tells of how Sam Fiorella, an influential business consultant with 15 years of industry experience, was turned down for a job, seemingly due to the fact that he:
a) Had no idea what Klout was, and/or
b) Had a low Klout score.
In industries where social influence is important – such as marketing, publishing, or professional speaking – having a strong Klout score could be just the factor that gives you the competitive edge you need.
It can help establish you as a thought leader in your field
If you have no desire or need to establish yourself as a leader in your field, then you probably don’t need to concern yourself with Klout. For instance, if you run a locally based business, your customers, clients and fellow business owners may not care too much about your Klout score.
However, if you are in a field where your online influence is critical for how others perceive you, working on growing your Klout score is imperative. This is particularly true of anyone in the social media industry – consultants, authors, and bloggers.
Practical Ways to Improve Your Klout Score
So, we know that having a good Klout score has some definite benefits. But how do small to medium-sized business owners go about actually improving their scores?
Here are 3 ways you can start improving your score today!
Connect all your social media accounts to Klout
Linking all of your active social media accounts to Klout is important in order to get the most accurate measurement of your overall influence. Just keep in mind that only active accounts should be linked; linking accounts where you only have a few followers, or where you only make an occasional appearance could actually hurt your score.
Be a good social citizen.
It may sound simplistic, but by simply following the ‘rules’ of proper social media etiquette, you have a great chance at increasing your Klout score.
- Consistently post engaging content?
- Respond promptly to questions, comments and queries?
- Give your readers and followers easy ways to share your content?
- Give your readers and followers opportunities to engage with you?
- Focus on building relationships, rather than just pushing your content?
If you are already working hard to be a good social citizen, your Klout score should organically continue to improve.
Connect with online influencers.
The final way I would recommend improving your Klout score is to make a special effort to connect with influential people within your area of expertise. You can do this through retweeting or sharing their content, tagging them in a Facebook post, or commenting on their blog posts.
Any engagement that can potentially get a back-and-forth conversation going is worthwhile, as this is one of the key factors Klout looks at in their ranking system.
I’ll leave you with this infographic from Klout Score Book, which offers some additional tips for improving your ‘business klout’!