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Do You Have Enough Klout To Fly The Friendly Skies Or Land The Perfect Job?

Klout is to 'personal influence' what Google is to 'page ranking.' While the Big G's algorithms determine the relevance of the Internet's every web page, Klout supposedly ranks the influence of every person online. As a 3-year old start-up, it's raison d'être is to measure influence based on the digerati's ability to drive action.

While their algorithms are a mystery to most, it's become apparent to many, Klout scores could score you incentives when you travel, and perhaps even determine your fate on a job interview. So for instance, in my case where my Klout score is clocking in at only "52" - I was disquieted, because if I had received THAT grade in school, it would have been considered failing.

However, upon further investigation, it appeared I wasn't doing "half" bad. Labeled a "Specialist," the blow of a 52 grade was softened with their following description of me:


Lifting my spirits some, I was quickly brought back down to earth, when I noticed that some of my Twitter and Facebuck buds had racked up scores that exceeded mine by 25-35%. Yes, Jackie Bigford, Shelly Kramer, Michelle Mangen and Michelle Harris were receiving "passing-or-better" scores, when compared to my previous school grading analogy.

Klout Heavy-WeightsKlout Heavy-Weights
But is Klout all about "bragging rights?" And if so, should I not dismiss spending any more time thinking about improving my Klout ranking? Or does one's Klout score actually provide folks with motivation to keep feeding the beast?

Then I learned about Klout Perks. Comparable to the brand loyalty programs so popular in the last century, one can actually be incented with products and experiences to become more of an Klout super star. Perks enable brands to connect with influencers in their area of expertise.

In Klout's TOS, they explain how one can become eligible for Perks:

Since brands have greater access to end-users today, Perks enable brands to connect with those who are proficient in specific areas of expertise. According to Klout, "Influencers have taken a new Audi for a weekend-long test drive, gone with their kids to an early screening of a Disney movie, and brought home new HP laptops loaded with films," all as result of high Klout scores.

And if you're thinking brands are not biting on this whole Klout-thing, just this past month, Hong Kong-headquartered Cathay Pacific Airways announced a promotion for travelers departing for flights out of their international airport terminal in San Francisco. According to the promo, any one with a Klout score of 40 or higher will be allowed into the airline's executive lounge, which is normally limited to Cathay's first class and business class passengers. Wow, my 52 Klout score actually qualifies me to a shower and a noodle bar the next time my travels take me to San Fran.

OK, so maybe not such a great a reward and perhaps the geographic location is a little limited.  

But then I read, Klout scores could also affect my livelihood. Last spring when Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency, he thought he had the job in the bag before he got blind-sided. Midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.

His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says, learning later that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.” Damn, with my 52, I would have also lost out on that job opportunity.

Long story short, I guess I need to spend more hours contemplating how to make and influence more online friends and how to turn my personal brand into one that has more reach, and yes, more Klout.

However like Google, it's hard to put your head around what more one needs to do to get those extra Klout points. Like the Big G, one has to wonder if there isn't a Wizard of Oz standing behind the curtain, making random determinations as to who's entitled to the big scores . . . and who has to settle for a 52.

Your thoughts Klout proselytizers? Provide us with more insight and words of wisdom as to how we too can get to burn a fire under our cable companies, when next our service goes on the blink.



Comments
May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout is NOT the standard for influence measurement

I think Klout is ridiculous. Not accurate in any way, and when brands - or anyone - relies on it they (1) don't know any better and (2) are making a huge mistake. Influencers are influential not because of a score applied to them by Klout. Klout is gameable and many have and do game the system. Anyone I know who is serious about the online space knows better than to rely on Klout without asking a lot of questions. And once you start asking questions, you quickly find out that Klout is not the gold standard of influence measurement that they'd like others to believe they are.

I rarely make sweeping generalizations but this is one I'm comfortable with.

Educate yourself about Klout - there are a myriad of excellent posts out there - by Danny Brown, Tonia Ries and a host of others, but those are the two that spring most quickly to mind.

Klout, is a bit like Radian6. They're not the best tool out there. They're not the only tool out there, but they spend so much on marketing that people who don't know better think they are the best. And that, my friend, is very, very far from accurate.

Shelly Kramer
@shellykramer

May 10, 2012
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Klout is NOT the standard for influence measurement

Hats off to Ms. Kramer's candid assessment. It appears that her KLOUT score of 76 doesn't impress this marketing guru! 

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

I find Klout entertaining,

I find Klout entertaining, and even think it has some value in terms of discovering other people.

But I certainly wouldn't base business decisions on a Klout score. That's akin to punting and not thinking for yourself. Any scoring is only as good as the methodology behind it, and no methodology can possibly consider everything for every industry, every situation.

- Anita Campbell
@smallbiztrends

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Has Caused People To Become 'Unsocial'

Totally in agreement with Shelly 100%

I know of 2 groups of people whose whole presence on SM has now become to game Klout and/or EAV

All things to all people and who am I to say who should do what? :)

Personally I just think being yourself and a friend to many - not a slave to a marketing machine/trying to play games with a select few is best way and more productive in the long run.

Paul Steele
@paul_steele

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout Scores

I really enjoyed this article and not because I noticed my face smiling back at me. You write with genuine humour and that always makes me want to read the entire article.

As you point out, Klout Scores are a mystery. I have no idea why some are higher than others. From my observations, if you want to use Klout as a tool in your portfolio you should start by reading their blog posts to get a feel for what the site is trying to achieve.

You should also consider connecting all of your Social Media Sites that Klout gathers your activity from. Twitter is a major factor in your score and it is all about engagement and steady growth. I have noticed a jump in my score recently because of my increased activity on Google+.

I am not fanatical about my score but I do keep an eye on it, after all my business is providing Social Media Services to small business, so what they monitor becomes an important tool for me as well.

You can find me on Twitter: @JackiesBuzz ..please say hello and if you have any questions I am always happy to point you in the right direction.

PS: The Klout goodies are nice as well...I am currently striving for a Klout T-Shirt :-)

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout is out for me!

I did try Klout, Empire Avenue etc mainly I think as I was afraid that I was missing out on something if I didn't.

I soon came to see them as a pointless waste of time which really only distracted me from the real purpose of social media in connecting with people in a genuine way. So I'm with Shelly and Paul on this one, I'm enjoying it all so much more again without the silly games.

Well done on generating a lively discussion Ron :-)

Tony @TheTop10Blog

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Waste of Time

I agree with all of the comments so far Ron, Klout is (K)crap. Whether or not someone is an influencer has zero to do with an algorithm or a score. If employers are basing hiring decisions fully or in part of a klout score, or similar system, they are completely missing what a person has to offer and how that person may or may not be influential. Determining if someone is influential based upon numbers, followers, etc., is simply stupid.

John Lusher
@JohnLusher

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout Scores

I have just read thru the comments posted above and the comment directly above is mine. I did not sign it as I thought it would automatically show my avatar.

I just want to add that there is a split camp about Klout because some people do game the scores. I have an above average score not because I game anything. I do not automate and I do everything manually on every site that I am active in.

Those that spam put those of us who are genuinely active in Social Media and are true engagers in a bad light.

Paul Steele you know me well and you know that I am a real honest to goodness person on the other side of the screen.

Klout is simply a measurement took like many that are out there.

Jackie Bigford
@JackiesBuzz

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout Scores

I could have written a post with the answer I just wrote LOL So I am shortening it. Thanks for including me in your post. It was most enjoyable to read.

Klout is not an accurate measure at all - it can be easily gamed - However some of us have to work. :)

I prefer Kred I have a much higher score LOL

Klout used to be just for twitter, as a heavy twitter user this worked for me ..... now its supposedly spread over all the networks as I am a little more now. My advice - spread yourself out :)

Klout perks...... in England we can't get them .... either that or we have to pay for postage which makes it not a perk anymore ! :)

We can however get Peer-perks :) I've had one, and now another is ready.

Thanks @MIchelledh Michelle D Harris (techieminx)

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Passing Grades?

I agree with everyone above, and that is rare. It's nice to see someone like Shelly, who has a 'passing grade', go after them like that. I've spent way to much time reading about and participating on Klout. I think it's average at best. The topics function is cool, but I don't think it is being utilized the right way. I don't know what their plan is, but it better be a good one that is very diverse if they plan to stick around.

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Perks are nice but I don't put much stock in Klout

I'll admit I've gotten a number of perks in the past from Klout, all of which I enjoyed. At one point I had gotten caught up in the "popularity contest" that social media can sometimes be and I used to check my Klout on at least a monthly basis. After their changes back in October I dropped 16 points from 78 to 62. I've hovered around 65-68 since then (based on what others have told me, not because I've checked).

I really became somewhat disenchanted with Klout after reading a blog post (I believe from Danny Brown) about how Klout had data on a child that Klout had not been granted access to (or something like that).

Since October I've logged into my account twice. Why? Primarily because I no longer look at social media as a popularity contest. I love it for chatting and keeping in touch with people but not necessarily to get free deodorant, Subway gift cards or $25 AMEX gift certificates.

@mmangen

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

accuracy is laughable

I agree with Anita, for me there's still some entertainment value. How well do you know exactly what your twitter friends do for a living? It's fun to try to visualize their "tag cloud", and klout gets me doing that more often. That helps me remember how to refer them business in the future.

But after Danny Brown's post on his authority with Sheep, and noticing Robin Moss was supposedly an authority on Motorcycles, it has become laughable. Both of them deserve a huge score in my book, but when topics are so wrong the whole thing loses value. Maybe future tools should focus on topic scores rather than a single score?

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Woops, didn't mean to be Anonymous

Ron great post, this is Bear Files @evolutionfiles :)

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Marketing and Branding has always been a "game"

It is just that now it has got personal and some people like that and some have decided that they do not.

We all have different personalities.

Klout is my favourite social network because of the way it connects and promotes people in an organised, friendly way. It also supplies up to the minute most influential content.

Nothing to like or dislike. It just is. Use it if you want and if you do not just shut up.

Michael

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Oh sorry

@mqtodd

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Importance

Yes I do agree the community of Klout is great and even more so Empire avenue
Which I know some don't understand. These scores
are all there for us to use as we wish. I do use
them all as a guide to performance.
@michelledh

May 10, 2012
by SEOcopy

Klout... value?

What Klout measures or values is of no importance to me, nor should it be to anyone that has any sense. 

Gabriella @SEOcopy :) 

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout Scores

There are 2 sides to measuring influence with a score.

One is the fact we do not understand how the algorithm works or if it works at all, I have seen up and downs for no apparent reason. I've seen people that clearly has more influence than me with lower scores and viceversa.

Or the simple concept of measuring how influential we are with a number. I certainly find myself in disagreement with this and pay little attention.

As @mqtodd says, we have the option to care about it or not.

But then there is the other side, something that Mark Schaefer points out in his book "Return of Influence". If HR departments are taking this score in consideration to hire talent or your prospects to sign a deal with your firm, then you have to care a little.

@socialmouths

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout - Merely as a reference

Ever since that Klout (sort of) became one of the influence indicators in social media world, I was in - "should I or shouldn't I?" dilemma. In the end, I decided to go with my own preference and deleted my account. Personally I'm not quite fond of adding all the social media sites just to check on the score, and let the amount of activities/accounts decide who I really am. But I do respect those who found the app useful and work hard to push up their scores - as long they are contributing 'quality' content. Same like any other apps, it's not for everyone. I may treat Klout as a reference (a very, very, very tiny portion) to someone's social media presence, but all in all, the content & how he/she carries him/herself to others will be my ultimate decision how influential & whether I want to follow him/her.

Thanks for the enlightenment everyone and Ron, for bringing up a good question to ponder.

@wchingya

May 10, 2012
by Anonymous

Not Anonymous

Also - I didn't include my name above - @DanielleSmithTV ....

May 11, 2012
by Ron Callari
Ron Callari's picture

Thanks for all this

Thanks for all this insightful feedback - spirited convo here - folks really feel passionate about hating or loving KLOUT - not a lot of fence-sitting on this topic. I guess what I've learned from this social exchange is that if perhaps the company could redesign itself in a way that wouldn’t encourage either neurosis or competition, it might have a shot at surviving these early growing pains. If not, the "exclusivity" and "cache" factors are going to be it's undoing, and ironically KLOUT will eventually lose its own influence.

 

May 11, 2012
by Anonymous

Proud to be a Zero

As per usual, Shelly is spot on. Many excellent articles were written several weeks ago (@dannybrown, @tonia_reis, and many more) pointing out in very clear detail the security failures of Klout, especially in the area of dealing with minors. I was moved to disconnect my accounts immediately, and haven't looked back.

Jeff jacobs
@jeffreypjacobs

May 11, 2012
by Anonymous

Meh

Klout honestly solves a problem I do not have. People who use klout as any type of serious measurement device are not friends I need to keep.

May 14, 2012
by Anonymous

Klout = BS

1) Influence is relative.
2) Klout, and it's ilk, can only tell how often you talk about a subject, not if you actually know anything about it.

If someone were to ask me for my Klout score in an interview I would first check to see if they were kidding and if they weren't I'd politely explain that Klout is not a measure of knowledge or experience. 2 things you want in a potential job employee.

Klout is a meaningless metric that is easily gamed and turns social media into nothing more than a silly game.

@JoshSPeters

May 29, 2012
by Anonymous

Great post

Great post, this is informative and well made.