Blog Promotion and Social Media: What’s Your Klout?

Klout Score (Astroblogging) So you’ve got your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and various and other sundry social media accounts and you wonder:

Is My Message Getting Across?

Wonder no longer. If you haven’t stumbled across it yet, Klout is a free online service that measures your online social influence. Scaled from 1 to 100, the Klout score measures not just your number of connections (followers) but your influence on them. Drawing from your social media accounts, responses by others to your posts, tweets, retweets, FB likes and comments, Google plus interactions and more, Klout calculates how people respond to you. Klout scores are supplemented with three nominally more specific measures, which Klout calls “true reach,” “amplification,” and “network impact.”

Not that Klout isn’t without its detractors. Wikipedia tells us:

Critics have pointed out that Klout scores are not representative of the influence a person really has, highlighted by Barack Obama, President of the United States, having a lower influence score than a number of bloggers.[11] Other social critics argue that the Klout score devalues authentic online communication and promotes social ranking and stratification by trying to quantify human interaction.[12] Such criticism may become quickly outdated due to the dynamic nature of the moving target “social influence”: a recent update to Klout’s algorithms does now rank the importance of Barack Obama in a way that more reflects our perception.[13]

The site has been criticized for violating the privacy of minors, and for exploiting users for its own profit.[14]

John Scalzi has described the principle behind Klout’s operation as “socially evil” in its exploitation of its users’ status anxiety.[15] Charles Stross has described the service as “the Internet equivalent of herpes,” blogging that his analysis of Klout’s terms and conditions reveals that the company’s business model is illegal in the United Kingdom, where it conflicts with the Data Protection Act 1998; Stross advises readers to delete their Klout accounts and opt out of Klout services.[16]

A social evil? Maybe or maybe not. But as blogger Molly McHugh observed:

First accepting that we are being measured by our social influence was a tough pill to swallow – an accurate one (it’s happening whether we like it or not), but a tough one. And then the idea that a Web app could be the deciding factor in all this proved even more difficult to accept,

What You Can Learn from Klout

Aside from scoring your interactions, you can see from your dashboard your top social interactions. Not only do you see the posts and responses, you see, among other things, who re-tweeted your content. The My Score Summary tab displays which social networks your spread your influence. Klout’s easily accessible interface is a one stop shopping for gathering intel on your activities. With this data you can make decisions on where to put or expand your social networking and promoting energies.

How Do You Stack Up?

Klout isn’t especially vocal about measuring one person against another. Nor does it provide segmented demographics, which would be interesting to see. In the FAQ’s tab it does say that the average Klout score is 40. Obama’s Klout score is 99. If you are somewhere between those two numbers you are above average.

And Then There Are Perks

Advertisers contract with Klout to distribute Perks such as giveaways or special discounts in the hopes that recipients promote their products. You can accept or decline a perk. Some things are cool, others not so much but its always worth it to check in to see for what you qualify.

Should You Use Klout?

You may not be copasetic with measuring your social influence. You may not be comfortable with the lack of privacy that Klout implies. But, hey, its an online world out there and we are being measured whether we like it or not. At least with Klout you get to see yourself as the social media world sees you. Isn’t that worth a look?

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Beth Turnage authors Astrology Explored as well as being publisher of Astrology Media Press. Beth is available for private consultations. You can contact Beth at starrynightastro@aol.com.
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4 Responses to Blog Promotion and Social Media: What’s Your Klout?

  1. Well I didn’t know Klout had such a bad reputation! It’s taken me a while to get to grips with their site but I do find it quite useful for seeing how and where my presence online makes an impact. Currently have a Klout of 55 which I guess isn’t bad :-) I’m not so keen on constantly being pushed to tweet whatever action I make on Klout though, that gets annoying! I never think of checking the perks – must take a look.

  2. Beth Turnage says:

    Leah,

    Since the algorithm change the critics have quieted down a bit. People complain about Google’s Page Rank algorithm, too, especially after an algorithm change lowers Page Rank.

    I don’t tweet all that much myself. I have things set up so that when one of my blogs post to the FB page, it automatically goes to Twitter. What a lazy gal I am!

    I was thinking about the scores today. If 40 is the average and 100 the maximum, then anything from 41 to 70 is a B grade and over 70 is an A. So we are above average, not so bad!

    Unlike Technorati, the grades aren’t dependent on when links expire, which is a refreshing change of pace. Overall, I think this is one site that can really useful in improving social media performance if one is so inclined.

    I got a great perk, a free photo album from Shutterfly. I used it to make a small album of my son’s wedding. Definitely worth it!

  3. Beth Turnage says:

    Beth,

    I was trying to post a response to your Klout post on your blog, but it won’t let me post because of the stop spam registration plugin…I also couldn’t post with my Facebook log-in either.

    I’ve copied what I was trying to post below.

    Peace,

    Kevin Burk

    I’ve dabbled with Klout, but haven’t really dived in with it. For me, the biggest challenge is that it makes distinctions between your various online profiles. My main interest with Facebook is to maintain my fan pages; I don’t engage with it on a personal level very much. I remember having difficulties in setting it up so that it reflected my professional network rather than my personal network.

    I’ve also got a Twitter account that I never use, which further complicated the whole Klout set-up for me.

    What I don’t see, however, is how Klout will do anything to build my audience. It seems to me that it’s designed for individuals (who can get free stuff if they’ve got enough influence) and advertisers (who give away free stuff in order to get exposure to the network of the influencers).

    That’s the biggest obstacle for me with Klout. Yes, it’s new and shiny, and it launched with a great deal of buzz, but I’ve learned (the hard way) that since I use social media as a marketing tool, there has to be a clear benefit to me in terms of reaching new people or engaging current fans, or it’s just not worth my time.

    I’m still paying the price of scattershot engagement with social media (three different Facebook Fan Pages, for example). I’m happy to engage with Klout passively … and it’s a vague ego boost when my score goes up, of course. But at least for me, I don’t yet see the value in it.

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    Kevin B. Burk
    NCGR IV, Astrological Counseling

    http://www.TheRealAstrology.com

  4. Beth Turnage says:

    Kevin,

    I don’t expect Klout does much but measures your engagement. It is a tool to see what we can do to improve our engagement metrics if we so choose. I like tools. But I can see where one more social media site is one too many.

    Thanks!

    Beth