Today the Internet seems to be abuzz about this new social media metric called Klout. Klout analyzes your social media metrics (how many retweets, likes, etc.) to measure how much clout you have (get it?) in social media circles. Are you a consumer of information or a thought leader? Do you have followers that dedicatedly like your pictures and retweet your links, or do your status updates largely fall on deaf ears? (Basically, are you Top News or Most Recent?)
After analyzing your influence metrics, Klout gives you a “Klout score” which shows how much of an influencer of opinion you are. They seem to go on a scale from 10 to 100; the more of an influencer you are, the higher the score. Presumably, Jay Baer’s a 100.
A klout score is kind of like a net promoter score, but for your level of influence on social media as a whole. Unlike a net promoter score, your klout score is not based on whether the information that you’re sharing is positive or negative (are you complaining about a brand’s customer service or singing the praises or an awesome new app?) but about the amount of response you get. (Admitted, the analogy with a net promoter score and a Klout score isn’t perfect, but it’s the best that I could come up with. Really a Klout score would be more like a promoter score than a net promoter score.) With Klout, it’s not your activity metrics, but your influence metrics that matter.
Wow, Maggie, that’s cool — but why do I need a social media metric and what’s the point of a Klout score? Does it just reinforce how no one ever likes my posts? I already know that no one ever likes my posts. It makes me sad.
Well, loyal reader, don’t be sad. Like most things on the Internet, a Klout score is ultimately about someone (not you) making money off of you and trying to sell you something. (That’s the big secret of the Internet. Don’t tell.)
Like a net promoter score, a Klout score is meant to help marketers understand their customers. Marketers can use a Klout score to tell who’s an observer, who’s an involver, and who’s an influencer and to choose campaign targets based on those categories. (Why waste your time engaging someone who’s unlikely to share any information about your brand when you could engage a thought leader who will drive others to your brand?)
As you’ve probably guessed I read about Klout and thought it was a great idea. A social media metric that can help me to measure the effectiveness of my personal brand? Easier to manage than Hootsuite and easily sharable? Sign me up! But, when I went to try it out for myself, Klout seemed to be broken. It connected to my Facebook profile okay, but wasn’t able to find any of my recent posts (which have all received at least some form of feedback, thank you very much) and accordingly gave me the lowest score possible (10). It said I was an observer, which means “You don’t share very much, but you follow the social web more than you let on. You may just enjoy observing more than sharing or you’re checking this stuff out before jumping in full-force.” Of course, I was crushed. I want to be an influencer, dammit!
But, never fear, Maggie O’Toole doesn’t give up that easily. So I decided to try and connect my LinkedIn. I’ve been doing a big social media push at work (trying to get our CPAs engaged in personal branding and building their online presence) and have been working to connect with many of my new coworkers and the colleagues that I met at the conference. I’ve been answering questions, joining groups, and posting links. Yesterday, LinkedIn told me that 16 people had viewed my profile in the last 5 days. I figured that Klout’s influence metrics might give me some credit for that. Surely all that must count for something in whatever crazy, complex ranking algorithm they’re using…. Oops, Klout and LinkedIn don’t play well together yet – foiled again.
Then I thought, I have this blog. I’m getting almost 1,000 viewers/week. That many people want to read my blog and care what I have to say? That makes me a thought leader (maybe?) and being a thought leader makes me an influencer, right? Any good social media metric would need to take that into account. Nope, I couldn’t connect my blog either. (And this time there wasn’t even an option that failed. Apparently Klout doesn’t consider a blog a quantifiable form of social media worthy of being counted in its influence metrics.)
Finally I admitted defeat and gave up; clearly Klout doens’t want to be my friend. I tried my first social media metric and I failed. I update my Facebook multiple times per day, I’ve spent an ungodly amount of hours on LinkedIn this week, my blog’s getting a bit of a following (thanks!), and still Klout’s influence metrics show that I’m an “observer” instead of an “influencer”. (Seriously, what’s a girl got to do to be an influencer?)
I wanted Klout to work, I really did. I wanted a quantifiable metric of my social media influence (“You like me, you really like me”); I wanted to know that my attempts to become a thought leader were paying off. Alas, Klout and I may not be meant to be. (However, it’s only in Beta, so there’s still hope!) But as it stands right now, I’m bringing down Klout’s net promoter score. But I’m not an influencer, right? So, they probably don’t care.
Questions of the day: Have you tried Klout? If you did, am I having what could be called a “personal problem” or is there some sort of global issue at work here. Is Hootsuite really the way to go for social media metrics?
MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the Internet. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes (and my LinkedIn and Facebook feeds) for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a whole new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.