Does Your Klout Score Really Matter?

We all show up on certain social media platforms. We follow celebrities on Twitter. We talk to friends and play social games on Facebook. We share funny pictures on Pinterest. We give our reviews of restaurants on Yelp. People interact with each other on the Internet, and thus to some extent have impact on each other. Do you know how influential you are on your social networks?

Klout, a San Francisco based company, states that it provides social media analysis to measure a user’s influence across his social network. It was launched in September 2009 and currently claims having more than 100 million profiles. Klout assigns each user a Klout score, ranking from 1 to 100, that tells a person’s influence on the social networks. The data Klout uses come from sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and all of a user’s social networks are accessed and therefore evaluated by Klout when he or she register. By researching the size of a person’s network, the content created, how others interact with the content and etc, Klout hopes to be the official scoring system of the social Web. Besides, the SF start-up also provide Klout Perks, the exclusive products or experiences that its users earn based on their influence.

Time named Klout one of the Best 50 Websites in 2011, honoring it not only make the web useful but also entertaining. Additionally, Yahoo threw out the hot topic asking whether Klout Scores are Becoming the New Fashion Barometer. It is obvious that now an increasing number of fashion-related business turn to social media for marketing and better distributing. Klout does play a certain role in the business world as early this year Gilt, the popular flash-sale website announced its partnership with Klout to start a social campaign and special sales.

However, criticism against Klout’s methodology and representative seems to come from everywhere.

Based on the above information, what do you think about this social network analyst Klout? Will you treat it seriously or just like a game? Do you see further business opportunities for Klout?

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7 thoughts on “Does Your Klout Score Really Matter?

  1. Klout seems like it is meant to be a measuring stick but it looks to very much be a work in progress. It needs clearer directions, too much is unknown and with everyone concerned with data use, they need to reevaluate their position. I feel at this point it is nothing to be used seriously. It is more of a game if anything. Should they re-position themselves and spell out their metrics, it may have some validity and users can use it to quantify business value among other things. For now, its nothing more than a number and can pad someone’s online ego.

    • Agree with this comment. I think that the scoring progress is in its infancy, similar to mining the endless data of Social Media. Once it becomes focused the marketing implication can be tremendous. Target a few and gain the masses. This will be an incredibly cost effective way to speard information.

  2. As social media becomes more and more popular as a branding and communication tool, measuring online influence also has huge potential market. Therefore, Klout definitely has some value in measuring someone’s online influence based on calculating followers, retweets, etc. However, I think for social media, only quantifying interaction is far from proving someone’s influence because the content for communication, the way of mentions and the quality of tweets and replies seem to be more valuable. But it is hard to measure only by algorithm. So I don’t think we should treat it seriously. Social media is constantly evolving. As a measure of online influence, Klout need to evolve constantly as well. I was also wondering what if social media itself, like Twitter, could launch new functions for providing such data as the trend for followers, tweets or something like that. Would measuring tools like Klout survive in the future?

    • I agree with Chenchen that algorithm is hard to measure everything correctly and effectively. And the other thing that i doubt about Klout is the data. Every social media site has their own data base which Klout has no access to get in. If Klout can only receive limited data, how can they provide complete analysis? Maybe Klout can ally with other social media sites to get the data but still the future of Klout is unpredictable.

  3. This sounds like Klout is trying to put a number to your influence in the social space. This is very difficult as we saw from the article regarding social ROI. I signed up and have a score of 19, not surpising as I’m not a celeb or expert in any field. This could be useful for brands as they would want a spokesperson who has a high klout score.

    As an aside as I sign up for these sites I hear about in class to check them out its very difficult to cancel your profile, and sometimes you even have to email support for them to do it. Very annoying for the user but smart on the business side.

  4. Despite its issues, I still think Klout should be used as a tool to measure influence on social media. But it shouldnt be the only factor. For example, in our group project on MTV, the network said they used Klout to determine which users they should be reaching out to. But they also looked at other factors, such as number of followers, fan engagement, etc.

    Klout has established some standards for measuring influence and can be used as a benchmark of sorts (or measure of relevance compared to other users). They have invested time and effort into measuring influence, and will continue to improve their tool. It’s not time to give up on Klout, but it shouldnt be the last word on influence in social media.

  5. I have been a Klout user for almost a year now, and think the concept is useful and has some validity, but still needs to be polished. My main problem with Klout came a few months back when they decided to rework their algorithm and it completely changed the scoring of most users. Had I been using it as a professional marketing tool, I would have been distraught to know that I had been completely misled for months. For example, I was targeting users with a Klout score higher than 50 in a specific category, but overnight most of these users dropped to the 20’s. That sort of volatility coupled with a lack of clarity into the components of their scoring really undermines its credibility and usefulness.

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