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Klout Matters… Or Does It? by @ShelleyWebbCSO

simage of a person surrounded by social iconsby Shelley Webb | Featured Contributor

I recently finished reading Gina Carr and Terry Brock’s new book “Klout Matters: How To Engage Customers, Boost Your Digital Influence – and Raise Your Klout Score for Success“.   I also attended their Klout-a-Thon as well as Gina’s presentation for Social Buzz Club on the the importance of being aware of social scoring and why it’s here to stay.

There are 4 major players in the influence measurement arena: Klout, Kred, Appinions and Peer Index with Klout being the most well-known.  Each of them measure slightly different types of influence; for instance, Appinions tends to focus on topical influence.

So what is influence measurement anyway? For those of you who aren’t familiar, these websites measure your reach and social influence across various platforms.  When you look at a certain person’s profile on a platform such as Twitter, you may see that they have a lot of followers, but can you really ascertain how influential they are?  This is what Klout and the others do – determine that measurement of influence for  you by using an algorithm.

If you have a Twitter account you have a Klout score. You do not need to sign up for it and not too far back, many people were up in arms that they were being ranked on without ever having signed up.

While I have some issues with the believability of Klout, Gina and Terry do point out some important considerations for keeping track of your Klout score.

Brands and companies used to pay certain celebrities huge amounts of money to be their spokespersons. Sometimes that backfired on them, such as in the cases of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and several other well-known persons.  So brands have decided to look for regular people of influence to get their message out.  They are willing to give “perks” for this and sometimes will provide monetary payment. Many influencial bloggers are receiving “sponsored post” monies for blogging about certain brands. If you have a high Klout score, you are more apt to be offered these opportunities.

The television, movie and media industries are also paying attention to Klout scores.  If a particular celebrity has a low Klout score, then they may not be able to bring in the big bucks that these industries need in order to make a profit. Two celebrities who do a great job with their social accounts are Zooey Deschanel and Alyssa Milano.

Another reason to pay attention to your Klout score is that it can lead to better customer service.  I know that certain companies will bump you to the head of their “I need some help” list if your Klout score is in the higher ranges. They don’t want to take the chance that a person of influence might broadcast negative comments about their brand.  I also know a person who received an upgrade at a major hotel because of his wife’s Klout score!

And of course, many of us have the heard the story of the job seeker who didn’t get hired because his Klout score was too low.  This might seem unbelievable, but employers are paying attention to Klout scores. Just recently a potential client stated that one of the reasons they chose to connect with me was because of my Klout score.

Still, I do have some problems with Klout’s credibility.

First of all, it can be manipulated.  It’s possible to gather a group of folks together and retweet each others tweets, like and comment on each other’s Facebook posts, like each others Instagram posts, giving each other +K (Klout)  and so forth. This can raise a Klout score by several points, but does that necessarily mean that any of these people are influential in a vaster sense? I don’t think so.

Secondly, Klout ranks certain platforms higher than others. LinkedIn is not as important in Klout’s algorithm and yet, this is a platform which has a high concentration on professionals, who could most certainly be influential.   You Tube is not counted at all because Klout has no access to the api so all those folks who have vlogs with multitudes of followers are not being taken into consideration as influential for that particular platform.

My last objection is that Klout only allows a person to connect a certain platform with one Twitter account (as I mentioned before, your Klout account is connected to your Twitter account[s] ).  So, for instance, if you have two Twitter accounts, you may only connect one of them with your other social media platforms. In my case, I write about both social media AND eldercare, two completely different niches requiring two different Twitter accounts.  I originally had my eldercare Klout account connected with my personal Facebook page and had what is considered a very high Klout score – 86.  Then I decided to connect my personal Facebook page with my social media Klout  account instead and… BOOM… the eldercare Klout score plummeted to the low 50s. Does that mean I am any less influential in the eldercare niche? No, of course not.

Ironically you can retweet your other Twitter account(s) and that adds to your influence.

So there are some bugs to work out.

For the moment though, as Gina and Terry mention, employers and large brands are paying attention to Klout scores, so it’s important that we pay attention to our scores, as well.

What do you think?

*image via GraphicStock


Shelley Webb – Social Influence Expert

Shelley_82headshot 300300ishShelley Webb is founder of On The Webb Social Media, an agency devoted to teaching professionals how to position themselves as an expert in their field using the power of social media.

Having worked as a registered nurse for over 30 years, Shelley suddenly found herself as the soul caregiver to her father who suffered from dementia. She began writing a blog in order to support other caregivers and just by using the power of social media, rose from a simple nurse to an award winning blog owner, “social media rockstar”, sought after speaker and expert writer for Dr. Oz.

People began asking her if she had a publicity agent. Her response: “social media is my publicity agent”. Soon, requests for social media assistance came flooding in and so in January of 2012, Shelley founded On The Webb Social Media Services.

Born in Canada, raised in southern California, she currently resides in a small town in northern Idaho with 2 dogs, 2 tortoises and about 35 chickens.

On The Webb Social Media blog
The Intentional Caregiver blog
Twitter: @ShelleyWebbCSO and @ShelleyWebbRN
Facebook: OnTheWebbSocialMedia and TheIntentionalCaregiver
Google+: ShelleyWebb
Pinterest: OnTheWebbSocialMedia

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