Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All About Klout

By Jonathan Menager, Social Media Director

I am addicted to social networking analytics and I’m not exactly sure why. I was never particularly fond of mathematics in school and I can remember celebrating the day I walked out of my last math class in sophomore year, vowing never to take another one again. But something is different about looking at the numbers associated with online engagement. There’s something hidden in those mounds of data and numbers and “likes” and “shares.” There’s money.

Now, if there’s money to be made, then obviously it’s at least a little interesting, right? But there’s more to it than that. For me, analytics provide you with your digital footprint. They are like the ripples in the water that form after you throw a rock into a puddle or a lake. These numbers provide you with an insightful look at your social presence and your digital influence.

So naturally, being a social networking analytics junkie, when I heard about a website called Klout--that takes social networking data from all of your different accounts and spits out a “Klout score” ranking your overall influence, I was intrigued.

Initially, the concept begs an interesting question: Does a Klout score actually mean anything? To be able to answer this question, and it’s one of much debate, it is important to understand how Klout arrives at your score in the first place.

Simply put, Klout provides you with a score based on data taken from a number of different social networks that you provide the website access to.

Klout attempts to measure your influence by considering things such as following count, posts, engagement, retweets, reshares, comments and friend count. It also looks at the type of people you tend to follow and retweet as well as the number of your direct mentions.

But how reliable is the score you’re provided with? Well, as it turns out, it is still too early to say. Although most marketers agree that Klout does measure your social influence to a certain degree, they are often quick to point out that there are still too many variables that can fog up the data.

Whatever the case, that still hasn’t stopped companies from taking the Klout score seriously. UK startup Frostbox originally opened up the company to investors…so long as your Klout score was above 60. The idea was that social media gurus with high influence and great social engagement would help to promote the company. It’s so crazy it just might work.
In the end, whether or not the Klout score is 100 percent correct is irrelevant if companies are beginning to take the score seriously. If you’re serious about your analytics and want to see your influence, Klout is a great way to go and their proprietary algorithms are only improving as time goes on.

It never hurts to start raising that score; you never know when it might be part of your job description, or maybe even part of your grade if you ever find yourself in this class!


  1. Good post, Jon. I checked my Klout score quite often last summer after hearing others talk about it at the Edelman Academic Summit. Interesting see how companies, and which ones, will find it an important tool. My score was in the mid-50s last summer. Looked today, first time since September, and it's 48. So, I'm slacking in the SM influencer category.

  2. This blog was very interesting. Thanks Jon! My Klout score is 56 so it is interesting to see they wanted people to be above a 60!

  3. Thanks for mentioning Frostbox :) We have been working with Klout influencers for around two months now, and so far it's great. Your train of though was pretty similar to ours when we heard about the idea in the first place: "It's so crazy it just might work" and indeed it does. - Maggie @ Frostbox