Klout: Gauging Social Media Influence as You Find and Connect with the Twitterati

Written by James GunterFebruary 21, 2011

How Influential Are You?

If you’re in the social media marketing game, you know that more important than having a large number of followers is getting influential people to follow and share your content. As a social media brand manager this becomes even more important. If you are on Twitter, sharing links and publishing great content, you want the most influential people out there digging your stuff and sharing it with their hordes of followers as well. This will not only increase your Twitter following, but it will most likely raise the awareness of your brand and result in more profits.

However, the problem up to this point has been finding the most influential people on Twitter and connecting with them. Sure, there are celebrities and well-known thought leaders like Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet, but there are also a large number of “unknown” influencers across the social web who don’t get their names in the press. But how do you find these people and target your social media effort toward them?

Klout

Enter, Klout. Klout is a social media temperature gauge of sorts that measures each person’s social media reach and influence, assigning an overall score to individuals across the web. Originally, Klout started as a way to gauge influence on Twitter, but it has recently expanded to include Facebook and LinkedIn in its overall Klout score.

The Klout Score

Your overall Klout score is based on an average of three score categories: True Reach, Amplification, and Network Influence.

  • True Reach: is a measurement of the size of your engaged audience. Not just followers, but the number of active accounts that are following you and your following/follower ratio, as well as the number of RTs, comments, and other interactions with your content.
  • Amplification: is a score based on the probability that the information, links, etc., that your publish will be shared by your followers.
  • Network Influence: is a measurement of how influential your followers are. The more influential people that follow you, the more influential you must be.

But all those scores and how they are calculated are much less interesting than the ways that Klout helps you raise the awareness of your social media profile.

Getting a Baseline

First of all, when you sign into Klout, you get an almost immediate Klout score based on your Twitter profile. Your score is broken down for you and explained, giving you some direction as to how you could improve your score. Often this involves interacting more with others and having your content acted upon more frequently by more people. This gives you a pretty good baseline to work from as you move forward with social media marketing campaigns.

Connecting with the Twitterati

Getting a baseline is great, but where Klout really shines is the way it gives everyone a score. You don’t have to signup for Klout to get a Klout score. If you have a Klout account, you simply have to enter any Twitter account into the search bar and you’ll get a score for any individual on Twitter. This gives you the ability to gauge the importance of each of your followers and anyone else who is connecting with you or acting on your content.

Armed with a knowledge of who are the most influential people on Twitter and the rest of the social web, you can target those individuals and make sure that you are interacting with them on a regular basis, building high-quality relationships with the most influential people on Twitter and across the internets—the Twitterati, if you will.

Some Twitter desktop apps, like Seesmic, even include a Klout score next to all tweets, so you remain in constant appraisal of who your should be interacting with to raise your profile status.

Grains of Salt

Of course, the Klout score needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It is only a general measurement of influence based on a set of algorithms. And we all know that algorithms can be fooled. Based on its scoring criteria, some Twitter bot accounts can get an unusually high Klout score, even though there is no real presence behind them. As well, the algorithms can’t actually “read” your tweets, so Klout can’t measure the subjective quality of tweets, only the actions that people take on them.

All in all, this simply means that you can’t rely too heavily on a Klout score as your only measure of who is influential in the social media landscape. You also have to take into account your own experience and the quality of each influencer’s messages.

Klout Has Clout

Overall, Klout is a great little tool to use, not only to gauge your own social media influence but also as a way to find and connect with the Twitterati, those individuals who are going to get your message out to a larger audience and could potentially be extremely influential brand evangelizers.

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