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What Is Klout and Does It Matter?

by Jenny Hansen

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Some of you have heard of Klout,  a website and app that measures social media activity and ranks social influence. This is not another social media platform, I promise you. This is something you can set up that gives others an indication of the reach and effectiveness of your current social media efforts. And by others, I mean potential bosses and people who notice such things.

Klout Left SidebarKlout is not a beast you have to keep feeding, unless you want to. Some people set it up and never visit again. Others browse the Perks and use the “give Klout +K” feature with abandon. This post sums up some key points and how-to that I share with new authors who ask about Klout.

Klout is NOT about how much time you spend on social media. Klout IS about the engagement that occurs with what you post. For example, if I post 50 Facebook updates, but no one clicks, comments or shares them, and someone else posts three that get shared to pieces, their “engagement” is higher and their Klout score will go up. It’s about quality, not quantity.

The photo to the left of the post is a snip of the navigation pane from my own Klout screen and there are some items there you need to pay attention to if you decide to get set up on Klout.

Overview

This is your “home” screen. You start here when you open the app, and Klout provides suggestions for content you might like to share. During your set-up, Klout asks you what topic you’d like to be influential in, then gives you suggestions from top influencers. I haven’t noticed that Home page sharing effects my Klout all that much.

Create

This allows you to “pick your topics.” I recommend that you do. If you let Klout choose, it might say you’re influential in some bizarre topic like cookies, based on the Facebook update you put up the last time you had late-night cravings. If a topic has gotten tons of play, Klout will think it’s an influential one for you. So if you want to be known for writing or humor or romance, go to “Create” and search those topics out. Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck with things like cookies and peanut butter and cats. Klout Expanded Profile

Schedule Giving you the opportunity to share content from Klout is their way of “throwing you some social media help.” If you’re new or not sure what to share, Klout’s trying to make your life easier by giving you the best dates, times and content for sharing.

Measure

This is where you can drive yourself insane if you don’t watch it. Klout gives you your score and shows which platforms had the most influence. I recommend you pick 2 to 3 platforms you spend the most time on to start. If you spend more time on social media for a while, or get better engagement, your score will go up. If you’re absent for a while, it will likely go down.

Don’t worry about it if your Klout score takes a while to perk up – it usually takes a month or two. Try not to measure yourself against others. Barack Obama’s Klout is 99 and he’s only really on Twitter. You’re no Barack Obama on the influence scale, so 50+ is just peachy. If you’re over 60, you’re rocking social media. 

Klout 90 Day

My 90 Day Klout score. I TOLD you it swings.

 

Also on this page, you can see which networks are contributing the most to your score. My favorite part of this screen is being able to see which topics and updates are gaining you the most ground. In other words, you can see what’s working. Above is the graph, below is what’s driving those numbers.

Klout Networks

At the very bottom of your Klout screen are the Perks and your settings, in case you’d like to add some networks, or change your information. Some of the perks are very cool and it’s up to you if you want to take advantage of them. I rarely do because I rarely go into the app. Plus, just like Facebook and Twitter, you must remember: When software or products are free, it’s because you’re the product.

Klout is happy to measure your effectiveness. In return, they’d appreciate it if you used that effectiveness to promote those perky products.

What do I use Klout for?

I use Google Chrome for my browser and I have the Klout add-in installed. I do this for a specific reason: When I’m browsing in Twitter or in a dashboard like Hootsuite, looking for sources for articles and such, I want to see who has the most influence. If I have two sources in front of me and one has a Klout Score of 42 and the other is 65, guess who I’m using for my source?

Klout has been especially helpful when I’m looking for people “on the ground” to interview for breaking news stories, or disasters. I can run a search for a specific hashtag and then comb through based on Klout. I get my sources faster and that makes me happy. Below is what it looks like in Twitter.

On #NetNeutrality

On #NetNeutrality

Do you see that wide swing in scores? Below is another screen snip, but for Breaking News.

Breaking News Klout

When it comes to freelance writing and interviewing, Klout has been a godsend for me. In the end, it’s always about the quality of our work. However, if we’re spending time “building a social media platform,” it sure is nice to have a place where we can look to see whether we’re gaining any influence.

Have you every heard of Klout? Do you plan to take advantage of it? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny
@JennyHansenCA

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2015 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me.

Feature photo credit: Influence – 27/365/2011 via photopin (license)


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