Klout social media influence measure

Do You Have Klout?

Klout social media influence measure“What’s your Klout score?” It’s latest version of the cheesy pick-up line. Social media lovers have been talking about Klout.com for a while, but the app is actually still in beta. It’s surprising how “important” one’s Klout score has become to some social media factions already. So important that people are already developing “grey hat” techniques for manipulating scores.

What is Klout?
Here’s what Klout.com says about themselves:

The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence
  • Amplification: How much you influence them
  • Network Impact: The influence of your network

Quality vs. Quantity
Recently in Halifax, Nova Scotia a social media consultant has been trying to manipulate Klout scores and follower ratios of his clients using questionable Twitter techniques. These accounts, follow a pile of accounts and then about a week later unfollow the accounts. Next week, they follow us all again and the cycle continues.  Right after unfollowing a large number of accounts they would have a more desirable follower ratio, which improves the Klout score.

I feel bad for these business owners. The social media agency is annoying many potential customers in the Halifax area in an attempt to improve the clients’ Klout scores. The social media manager is focusing on quantity. It makes more sense to me to find people who are actually interested in following a business and are located nearby. Quantity is not the most important aspect of social media ROI, but many are still using numbers to win over clients because it’s easier than true engagement with customers.

Easy vs. Hard
That’s right. Focusing on Klout scores and follower ratios is the easy way out. A quick search on Google will point out programs, apps and accounts to help you build your following—if you don’t care who the followers are and where they are located. These “grey hat” methods take much less effort than actually getting to know your followers, engaging with them, asking & answering questions and building a following organically.

If your social media advisor is suggesting these tactics for your business you need to ask yourself some important questions. Is it more valuable to have 4,000 followers from who-knows-where, or to have 1000 followers who are actually interested in what you have to say and might actually live in your city? What will give you a better ROI—numbers or engagement? Are you going to be the “volume” discount player or the “quality over quantity” player? Is your ego more important than your bottom line?

My services certainly can reach way outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a social media manager my work is mainly done over the internet, so as long as you and I can connect via e-mail, social networks and Skype, I can help you with your accounts. Even so, I can see that it’s more important to build a local following that will convert to sales. I’ve been an active Twitter user for over a year now. That’s long enough to accrue 10,000 followers or more if I wanted to employ certain techniques. I have about 1000 followers today. Most of them are located within a hundred miles of Halifax, Nova Scotia. That’s my bread & butter…where the majority of my business will stem from. I have no desire to have 10,000 followers from India or Malaysia right now because I’m not likely to do business there. The only thing that would do is stroke my ego, but it would be artificial. I’m not interested in artificial. I don’t believe my clients are either.


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Comments (13)

  • DarrinSearancke Reply

    It’s no surprise that Klout rhymes with Crap. Oh, wait a minute …

    November 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    • Anonymous Reply

      HA HA.

      November 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm
  • Missy_d5 Reply

    Your choice of font is distracting to the eye and annoying to the reader.

    November 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    • Anonymous Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful commentary on the content of the blog post.

      November 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm
  • Nick Calder Reply

    Great points. I have mixed feelings about Klout, myself. It’s one of those metrics that matter only as much as people care, and right now it seems to be hot. We shall see how much we care about it in a year or two. Klout loses much of its credibility (if that word can actually apply) to me when scores arbitrarily change by 10 points in a matter of days. Brief inactivity seems to impact scoring which is foolish too. If Seth Godin didn’t blog for a month it would not make him any less influential when he decided to sit down and the keyboard once again.

    Now, more importantly, I have to say that I no idea what I just read or wrote on here because I am completely distracted and annoyed. This font you have chosen is utterly obscene. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    November 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm
    • Anonymous Reply

      So very true Nick. I highly doubt someone like Seth Godin is concerned at all with his Klout score…but that’s what happens when you’ve earned the kind of rep he has I guess. With my terrible font choice, I’ll never get there, I’m sure.

      November 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm
  • Linda Daley Reply

    Well said! I’m a big fan of quality over quantity. The problem is that quality is often harder to measure and so people resort to quantity because it’s more easily defined. Quality is more about success stories and the experience.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:06 am
  • William Murray Reply

    You are absolutely right about how we need to spend less time worried about the metrics and more time on the quality of our work and our relationships. For an education perspective, I offer find students worried about grades over the quality of work. My response is often by focusing on that fact that they want an A-, they are not focusing on producing high quality work. I would be curious to see if these companies that you mention spent as much time on quality and engagement as they do on manipulating outcomes, if their returns would not be better.
    Thanks for the great post!

    November 2, 2011 at 7:33 am
  • Maryjane Reply

    Great post, Anita. As a client, I definitely want quality service. As a provider, I definitely want a relationship with my clients. The better they fit my “demographic” the better I can serve them and the faster my business grows. The numbers people accumulate on social media sites don’t mean much if you are not able to provide those connections with valuable information or service.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:15 am
  • East Coast Knits Reply

    I like your font! 😉 As a consumer I find it really annoying when local business follow, unfollow, then follow again. They are usually places I’ve never been, and it annoys me enough to block them.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    • Anonymous Reply

      Exactly! I’ve blocked many of them too, and so have others. They’ve lost their opportunity with so many potential clients now. Even if they were to switch providers, or take it in house, the blockers are never going to see the change.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm
  • Bobby O'Keefe Reply

    Following up on my earlier tweet – do you really think this is about Klout scores? I totally agree on your quality over quantity argument, as well as the fact that the “follow, unfollow” is pretty annoying. But I was under the impression that this was more about gaining followers quickly by following a bunch of people, then unfollowing so they could repeat it without hitting Twitter’s follow limits. I.e. Restaurant follows people, people see they’ve got a local business following so they follow back, not knowing the restaurant has no real interest in following them, then restaurant quickly unfollows hoping the person doesn’t notice. I’d have to think that kind of shortsighted strategy hasn’t thought far enough ahead to other measures.

    As for Klout, it’s like any report card that boils things down to a single number or grade. If you only look at that score without looking at what it’s made up of, it loses meaning. Not being perfect doesn’t make it useless though.

    Great post.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm
    • Anonymous Reply

      I don’t know what it’s really about… it probably is more about followers like you say. However, if all they’re trying to do is get followers, then why UNfollow so many accounts over and over? Even if you’re not really interested in what the person has to say, there’s no need to unfollow them if they’ve followed you… which I did the first couple of times. Then I started to see the pattern. The only thing I can see that they’re gaining by this pattern is the temporary boost to their follower ratio.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

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