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May 18

The Clout of Klout

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about something called Klout.  You have most likely heard of it  or seen tweets announcing that someone received a +k in some topic or another or even announcing that a particular person has a specific Klout score.  Undoubtedly you are probably curious about what exactly all the fuss is about and more importantly is it even something you should be concerned about.  The answer is not as clear cut as a simple yes or no at this time.  However, there are changes happening in business, human resources, and even airport noodle bars in San Francisco that just might make Klout something you should be paying more attention to.

First off, klout is a numeric representation of your social media reach which is based on your activity on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and your other social media networks.  It takes into account how many followers you have, how much engagement you get from them, and how much klout the engagers that interact with you also have.  In a nutshell if someone with a large following shares your content, it is worth quite a bit more than if someone with a small following does the same.  Your Klout number ranges from 0 – 100 and a score in the mid-thirties is actually considered average.  Once you pass the 40 mark, your score tells people that you have influence and then considerable influence once you cross a 50 Klout score.

Klout began as simply a metric based ‘game’ that you played via your social media activity but has become much more than that today.  The reason is that it has attracted serious attention from the social media community and businesses at large.  Companies realized quickly that people with more influence where worth more to them when it came to promotions and utilizing the person’s influence.  Klout scores very simply became the perfect measuring tool that allowed a business such as Schick or Neutrogena to target higher klout scores with free gifts or perks as klout calls them.  I have received gifts from both of the exampled companies and they have received a few positive endorsements from me as a result.

Perks are very awesome as we all love free stuff.  However, Klout is beginning to progress beyond being just a number and a source of some free perks.  Some employers, especially in marketing and other social media based employment, have begun to factor in a person’s Klout score as part of their hiring process.  There has been one instance in Toronto, Canada where a more experienced candidate for a marketing position with a Klout score of 34 lost out on the position to a lesser qualified applicant who had a Klout score of 67.  It is happening and it is exactly why you cannot afford to ignore Klout.  On the lighter side, there is a current promotion being run by Cathay Pacific Airways that provides free access to their First Class lounge to anyone with a Klout score over 40.  The lounge is really nice with workstations, showers, and even a noodle bar.

Now that we have established that it is probably a good idea to have at least a 40 or higher Klout score, it is time to discuss just how to get there.  If you are new to social media and you don’t have a lot of followers or your network is kind of new then you don’t need to worry too much about Klout initially.  You do though need to sign up and get your social media networks connected to Klout.  Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are mandatory and I recommend you attach anything else you have.  Numerically, Facebook will have the highest impact on your Klout score followed by Twitter and Google+.  Once everything is connected to Klout, you need to be working on building up your networks by increasing and engaging with your followers.  As you build your networks, your Klout score will rise without much effort.

Once your networks are starting to look good you can then begin to really focus on your Klout score and how to hone your online habits to keep it on an upward trend.  It does get harder to raise the higher the score is and you will probably hit your first plateau around 50.  Don’t let this discourage you, as it is just a number and keeping up your engagement with your followers is what is really important.  You can also begin to work on specific +K topics.  We have not talked about the topics or specialties yet and that is because they do not impact your Klout score.  They do, however, provide you with a peer endorsement which could be useful if you are applying for a job with a Klout concerned employer.  Imagine if you were up for that marketing job in Toronto and had a decent Klout score and were in the top 10 +K getters within the marketing category.

There is a lot more we could talk about in regards to Klout and as such you can be sure that we will be revisiting Klout in the near future.  Obviously, Klout is not something you should ignore and if the trends continue it will become an essential part of securing employment.  If you are not signed up to Klout, do it today and start working towards a respectable score.  Don’t be left behind when Klout is no longer considered a ‘game’ but becomes just as essential to employers as a social security number.

Candace Mountain

Candace Mountain is the author of the supernatural thriller The Daughter of Man which is available on Amazon for the kindle or as a trade paperback. Candace is also one of the major contributors for digiLAUNCH which is due out in 2012.

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21 comments

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  1. Kirsten Massebeau

    Thank-you for such an educational and informative article about Klout. I hope that by using your great tips I can get my Klout score to rise considerably:) I now recognize it’s importance and it makes perfect sense that Klout would factor into a job application as social media is becoming a huge part of today’s world so having some “Klout” is a great way to showcase your skills.

    1. camountain

      In the next Klout article I will look at topics and speculate on where it may all be going.

  2. Paul Shirey

    Thanks for helping to explain Klout and some tips on using it! I wrote a post yesterday about how someone was denied a job because they had a low Klout score. Can’t wait to see your next posts about Klout!

    1. camountain

      It is great to see you here Paul.

  3. Leigh

    Wow, I’ve seen this Klout thing being bandied about but neglected to look into it (trying to avoid shiny things is not always good). I can certainly see how it would especially benefit any person looking for a marketing position. It makes sense that a business would prefer someone who can increase their customer base with not much more than a few posts to Facebook or whatever.

    1. camountain

      Interaction and engagement is so important in any for of social media based employment.

  4. Vic

    I had no idea Klout was so influential. If employers are looking to it, that’s a real sign of its importance. Good article!

    1. camountain

      Thank you Vic :-)

  5. Renee Pawlish

    Great article, I’m on Klout with a 40+ score but never gave it a lot of thought – I obviously need to do more :). Thanks very much for the info!

    1. camountain

      You should check out the Perks, you may be eligible for some free goodies ;-)

  6. David Allen

    I have been using Klout for quite some time and I look in there once in a while. Mostly I keep forgetting about it as I am so busy with all the other stuff needed to be done.

    1. camountain

      The beauty is if you are being busy on the Internet with Social Media, Klout pretty much takes care of itself.

  7. Joanne

    Great advice on klout. I know a lot of people complain about it in some of the groups I belong to, but I like it. I’ve gotten some good perks from them and it’s a fun tool. :-)

    1. camountain

      Thank you Joanne, I agree ;-)

  8. Daniel Doherty (@danieldoherty)

    Hi Candace,

    Thanks for this article. I fall in and out of love with using Klout, currently out! They change an algorithm and lots of peoples score crash. Adding multiple social networks doesn’t seem to make a jot of difference and they don’t measure blogs or LinkedIn Groups etc. Also I recently went on holiday, unplugged and my Klout score just dropped.

    I read of one campaign around a fashion week (I think in the states), where he agency ran a competition to allow people with influence (High Klout) a ticket to a free glitzy party. They picked a good sounding/high number but Klout actually had to explain such a few people attain a high number and that 40 was actually very good!

    Or here’s a discount based on Klout Score http://blog.compete.com/2012/03/13/gilt-looks-to-score-sales-from-klout-promotion/

    Klout is just one of many influence measuring sites that you can log in with facebook or twitter. There is Kred, PeerIndex and I’m sure others.
    http://kred.com/danieldoherty which seems to give points for every interaction so goes into more detail.
    http://www.peerindex.com/danieldoherty

    All these sites

    Once people realise not to take all this too seriously they will really enjoy Klouchebag – Klouchebag measures how much of an asshat you are on Twitter.

    Nice to find this blog and this reply probably proves this lady was right…

    @tentontroll Isn’t this Klout obsession a bit OTT? RT @danieldoherty: How to Cheat at Klout via Social Media Today

    All the best,

    @DanielDoherty

    1. camountain

      You get the award for longest comment. Actually, you do make a lot of very good points as to why some folks may get disillusioned with Klout. The algorithm has been changed as they have added new networks and is not divided equally between the big three networks. In fact, Facebook holds more weight than Twitter or Google+ in the determination of Klout.

      1. Daniel Doherty (@danieldoherty)

        Hi Candace, Thanks for the reply and the longest comment Award : )

        Actually worked on my comments a little more and turned them into a blog post about it here http://www.grafform.com/1/post/2012/05/what-is-klout-all-about.html

        Thanks for the great post.

        All the very best @DanielDoherty your newest twitter follower.

  9. Jenna

    Finally I know what all the klout stuff is about. I didn’t realize it was an aggregate score across different platforms. In my book that gives it a solid bit of a differentiation from all the other social media sites out there.

    1. camountain

      It is not perfect but it does seem to present the most accurate picture of the available scoring based sites.

  10. Kasia

    Hello,
    Interesting piece giving a good introduction to Klout scores.
    My first thought is that while Klout does allow you a quick measure of how active and engaged someone is on the major social networks, it isn’t necessarily a good tool to judge a potential candidate for a job. There are many different arguments but the simplest is that it measures your personal accounts, and the way you engage online is in general not a reflection of skill but of personality (and time!) Sure, there are all sorts of techniques for timing your posts, increasing click-throughs and so on…But personally I like nothing better than coming home from a day at work spent staring at a screen and just unplugging. Cooking, going outside, reading a book. So my personal online engagement is lower, but is that a reflection of my actual skill in online marketing? Of course not. I would be happy if I could manage to spend even less time online, but am still keeping a close watch on the latest trends and trying new tools.

    Employers should take these scores with a grain of salt and try to get a more rounded picture of a candidate. All the same, I’ll give a little bit of thought to my score so that I don’t end up needing to argue for work-life (and online-offline) balance in an interview :)

  11. Roy

    Yes, I know about Klout and have been registered for a month plus. My score has gone over 40 in a short time going up with my facebook and twitter action. The score went up after I started my blog: http://www.conniesbrother.blogspot.com , which interviews and reviews only Twitter Writers’ Books. Those writers, some of which, would have to wait a while to be interviewed or reviewed by an established reviewer. I have the credentials so I decided to help my fellow Twitter Authors.

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