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What You Can Learn from Klout


Most people who use social media for professional reasons have heard of Klout, a service that uses a unique set of analytics to rank its users in terms of their online “influence.”

To have heard of it doesn’t mean to like it, though. Klout has plenty of detractors, those who either question the algorithm it uses for measurement or who simply disapprove of a third party taking the liberty of ascribing a number to their social media status.

So yes, Klout has its critics. But don’t count me among them. I’m one of its fans.

A Klout score may not be the be-all and end-all of what it means to succeed in social media, but if you ask me, it’s a great gauge on how you’re doing there. Launched in 2008, Klout scores you based on your ability to drive action on the part of your followers, fans and friends. And as a career direct marketer, someone whose job it is to get a response, that’s right up my alley.

I use social media because I enjoy connecting and communicating with others, but also because I know that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like can be used to build brand and business. The interactivity between people and companies is where it’s at in social media. And that’s where Klout focuses its attention.

Whether you like Klout or not, there’s still plenty you can learn about the time you spend on social media from how it measures your score…

  • The number of connections you have is less important than how people engage with you and your content.
  • It pays to be active across a multitude of networks.
  • Online influence doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Who you are offline doesn’t necessarily carry over to your online reputation.
  • It isn’t how much content you share, it’s how many others are paying attention and responding to it.
  • The better you are at building meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships across social media, the more likely you are to be using these online communication channels successfully.

The bottom line is that the social in social media is where the rubber meets the road. Behaving like a human being – talking, listening, smiling and waving – will reap rich dividends. Share plenty of timely, relevant content with your audience. But don’t forget to be extemporaneous and convivial, too. A strong voice and an engaging personality will go a long way toward getting more people to respond to whatever it is you have to offer them.

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