Everyone who promotes anything online knows that using social media is an absolute must-do. Your website’s mere existence, no matter how search-optimized, will not reach out to where your audience is hanging out and pull them in. That’s what social media does so well, and now that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are requirements for any online marketing effort, how do you know if you are getting anywhere with it?
Let’s face it – social media is free – but certainly not in terms of time. You can spend a LOT of hours and energy on it, and still not be to sure if you are building a receptive audience or just reconnecting with old coworkers.
Aside from general website stats that will show you the amount of traffic coming from your SM profiles, you now have a new (free) tool to gauge your social influence: Klout.
Klout seeks to provide you with a numerical score of several social media metrics – which change daily! So – you can get a daily “EKG” of sorts of your impact on the social media universe. If you have a Twitter account – you have a Klout score – but you do need to sign up to connect other social accounts to your profile in order to get a more accurate number. Your Klout score is a number between 0 and 100, with the median being 20. The higher your score – the harder it is to increase… so to go from 15 to 20 is relatively easy – to go from 65 to 70 is harder.
Here’s a few sample celebrity Klout scores (as of today) to help illustrate how Klout measures influence:
Justin Bieber (@justinbieber)
13,042,542 Twitter followers
Klout score: 98 (this is the highest Klout score that I know of)
President Obama (@BarackObama)
10,330,159 Twitter followers
Klout score: 87
Deepak Chopra (@DeepakChopra)
634,200 Twitter followers
Klout score: 87
Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk)
7,801,820 Twitter followers
Klout score: 84
Klout just doesn’t count heads, it also takes other very important factors into account – the style of your posts, whether or not they are shared or retweeted, and the influence and reach of those who do. So, if you look closely at the celebrity examples above – note that Deepak Chopra has a mere 5 percent of the follower tally that Justin Bieber has, but has a relatively huge Klout score of 87, the same as President Obama (who has 10.3 million Twitter followers!) – and even higher than legendary Twitter king Ashton Kutcher. This tells us that Deepak Chopra’s online audience is not only engaged, but also influential.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that a 15 year-old Justin Bieber fan will have less social media influence as very famous expert Yogi and author Tara Stiles (@tarastiles) who is also Deepak’s yoga instructor. In a nutshell, Klout measures follower quality as well as the quality of your online content (as reflected in sharing by followers).
So how can Klout be useful to you?
1. Klout is a way of measuring your social impact and motivating you to engage more effectively. For example, my Klout score today is 47.56. I have a goal to get over 50 by the end of October. I have a habit of checking it every few days to see if things I post are influencing it. If, for example, I see a significant jump in my score after I post this article… that tells me to do more articles like this one.
2. Klout provides a metric of the influence of those that follow you – or those you want to follow you. Yes, this is online social climbing—but for better or worse, this can be really useful for marketing if you are seeking out contacts or JV partners who have a large audience of their own.
3. Specifics about your score provides insights. Klout also tries to categorize the type of influence you have. They have a matrix graph that shows how you appear – with categories like “Thought Leader” or “Specialist” or “Curator”.
4. Additional numbers show other factors, such as topics in which you have influence, specific people you influence, amplification (which measures how likely you are to be retweeted) and the size and influence of your whole network.
Klout also extends “Perks” to influential users. Perks are basically targeted marketing campaigns that recruit influencers in specific topics to try a product or event. So, as in a recent promotion, influential Klout scores in the parenting topic were invited to a free screening event for Disney’s new movie, Tangled (PDF).
If you are at all engaged in social marketing, it’s worth 10 minutes to complete your Klout profile and connect your profiles with it – there is a lot that you can find value in, even if you aren’t a serious online marketer. If you are like me and just find it fun to get that score up a little bit every week, it’s worth trying out.
So, have you used Klout to measure your social media progress? What do you think of having such metrics publicly available?