Klout is publisized by their byline as The Standard For Influence which basically means that they measure an individual’s clout on the internet.
What Is Clout And Klout About?
Clout, by definition, is a noun which means “influence or power.” The interesting part is the pronunciation which is /klout/. Now do you see where I’m headed? Yeah, that was quite a brainchild to name an application after the pronunciation of the word which is actually the definition of it’s tagline.
Klout is an application which measures a person’s clout on the internet. You have to admit that the concept is quite interesting.
Why Is Klout Important?
For the average internet user who searches for the address of a new restaurant, looks up the definition of a word or forwards a family member an email, Klout and clout on the web is not important. These people use the computer and the world wide web as a way to gather some needed information and an easy avenue of communication. They do not have an online store, blog, upcoming musical concert, play or movie, nor are they running for political office.
However, the rest of the population have something to gain with an expanded realm of influence and social recognition. According to the Klout blog, “One of the inspirations that led us to build Klout was the frustration of having sat in dozens of marketing meetings talking about how ‘we just need to make this go viral;”.
If you’re sitting in a doctor’s office with body aches and a runny nose, “viral” isn’t something you want to hear. But a musician, author, business owner, blogger, marketer or politician who has something they want to “sell” to the public, going “viral” on the internet is like winning the lottery.
Let’s use this store that sells collector Barbie or American Girl Doll beds and other elegant things as an example. Suppose Demi Moore (Movie actress who is a doll collector) found the elegant collector beds at Beautiful Things by TJ and just HAD to buy one for herself. Not only that, but while Demi Moore is on set with Morgan Fairchild (Television and Movie actress who is a doll collector), she tells her all about the doll bed purchase. During the break, they both get online to check out the store and they ooohhh and aaaahhhh over the elegant beds. Morgan Fairchild picks up her cell phone and makes a quick call to her friend, Kathie Lee Gifford (Television and Singer) because she also collects dolls. It is only a matter of minutes later that Kathie calls Anita Pointer (singer) since she also is in the same group of people that love collecting beautiful dolls.
No big deal, right? Just four women who buy a bed from an online shop.
The women post pictures on their Facebook account and talk about it in Twitter tweets. Demi Moore currently has 3,637,792 followers and they all see the message she sends out shouting accolades of her newly purchased collector doll. People everywhere are checking out the little shop, tweeting, blogging, posting on Facebook and buying items from the shop. Within a week, the collector doll bed at Beautiful Things by TJ has gone viral and sales are booming.
That didn’t really happen, however, the goal of every online store is to have one of their products go viral because it creates an awareness that is spread quickly through all avenues of networking. It is more effective than an ad in the newspaper or magazine because it is a testimony by an influential person validating the product based on their own experience. If a person’s realm of influence is large, the potential for creating the viral marketing effect is evidently greater.
That is clout and that is the effect that is measured by Klout. If you have an online store, wouldn’t it be a great advantage to know which people on the internet have influence that could further your sales by driving the masses to action? You bet it would and that is why Klout gives everyone a score.
How Is Klout Measured?
The Klout score measures your overall online influence or clout. The score ranges from 1 to 100 and the higher the number, the more people you have the ability to influence. Using my example, Demi Moore may only be one woman, but she has a larger influence than The Redhead Riter. (The sound of an obvious, “Duh!” can be heard echoing across the world wide web.) Another big difference is that my realm of influence has a lot shorter attention span and memory than does a famous celebrity, so the score is not forgiving of a few days of not tweeting on Twitter or posting on Facebook as seen in the huge dip in my Klout score (shown below).
This influencing power that is presented as a number is calculated by using over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to come up with a Klout score that is then divided into three categories:
True Reach: The size of your engaged audience which is measured by using the number of followers, mutual follows, friends, total retweets, unique commenters, unique likers, follower/follow ration, followed back %, @ mention count, list count and list followers count.
Amplification Probability: The likelihood that your content will be acted upon which is measured by using unique retweeters, unique messages retweeted, likes per post, comments per post follower retweet %, unique @ senders, follower mention %, inbound messages per outbound message and update count. Basically, how often are your messages retweeted and are conversations started because of your messages?
Network Influence: The influence level of your engaged audience to drive their actions which is measured by using list inclusions, follower/follow ratio, followed back %, unique senders, unique retweeters, unique commenters, unique likers, influence of followers, influence of retweeters and mentioners, influence of friends and the influence of likers and commenters. In other words, how powerful is your audience and do they support you by engaging in your activity?
Obviously, Klout includes many, many factors and it isn’t just one thing you do online. Quite simply, the Klout score shows how much power, influence or clout you have to get people to do something. Of course, nothing is a perfect science especially in our often fickle society.
Starting June 1st, +K For Your Influence
Klout started a new feature called +K. This feature lets you give your peers something like a “high five” in front of millions of people.
If someone has influenced you in a particular topic, all you have to do is give them a +K in that topic to validate them in that subject online. The +K button is next to the topics for each user and only needs to be clicked once. There is also only a limited amount of +K’s that can be given in a day–5 actually. The topics are generated by algorithms now, but in the future things may change so that users can submit topics too.
Passing out peppermint candy, giving “High Fives” or clicking +K for others has no impact on their Klout Score. Receiving +K on a particular topic will keep those influential topics first on the list and on the list longer.
Klout and Twitter
I talk to everyone unlike other Twitter users. No, I will not name names. Let’s just say that my nose is not tilted towards the sky. Because of that fact, I do not check out the Klout score of people, but I needed a visual for this post to show that you should pay attention to your Klout score. I have the option to see or not see the Klout score in my tweet reader namely Hootsuite. So today, I activated the Klout score and started scrolling. I didn’t scroll far before I came upon this exchange with Georg Grey:
You might be saying, “Big deal! So what! Georg told people to follow you.”
Does your attitude change when you see that Georg Grey has 87,914 followers that read his tweets?
Until I started writing this post, I had no idea that he had such a high Klout score or that many Twitter followers. I treat everyone the same and apparently he does too.
Social media tools can help give your product a nice boost on the internet and is well worth the effort made to build relationships. If you don’t have a Twitter or Klout account yet, now is definitely the time to start having greater control of your online influence. Who knows, maybe Demi Moore or Justin Bieber will tweet your product and it will go viral! By the way, Justin Bieber has a Klout score of 100.