You’re not Judged by Klout Score. Your Digital Presence is.

You’ve probably heard about Klout score. Rumour says it’s so important in Silicon Valley that you’re not admitted to job-interviews if your Klout is lower than 50 (out of 100). Knowing that 20 is the average Klout for the average person and that it’s harder to climb from 30 to 40 than from 10 to 20, it’s pretty tough. (As you can see below, I’m not invited).

klout

Klout measures your digital impact on other people on specific social media platforms. They look at how many people you influence, how much you influence them and how influential they are. One important thing to remember is that Klout only measures reactions. It doesn’t take in all the people who quietly listen and take part of the messages but never retweet or reply.

Still, many persons are obsessed with getting a high Klout score, so when Klout changed their algorithm last year and many people dropped in Klout score, the rage was a fact. And where it’s important to have a high Klout score, it’s understandable that the fear of losing score is present. Employees report being judged by their Klout in salary discussions, when being considered for career promotion and in performance reviews.

Klout themselves claim they help people understand their influence online and how to leverage it and that the score let you “benchmark your success, understand who you influence, and discover who to trust in the topics you care about”. They suggest you put your Klout Score on your resume to land a sweet job or use it to get better customer service.

It’s been reported that hotels check on their guests Klout score to decide how to treat them during their stay. High Klout gets better service. It’s a kind of risk analysis. If the guest can reach many people, you must make certain that the guest is happy and reports well about your service and not vice versa. Cynical, but true in a world where you leave digital footprints everywhere and everything can be tracked and measured.

Klout’s affiliate program is called Klout Perks. Depending on your Klout score, you will receive offers, discounts or invitations from companies wanting you to act as their ambassador. Businesses use this value to find the (probably) most influential persons in the audience they want to reach with a specific message. It’s been done in marketing during all times, but now real facts and figures decide more than just inviting “the usual crowd”.

Looking on it this way, online society is much more democratic and liberating: it’s possible for unknown people to build an online reputation and being recognized for it. It’s more accessible than trying to get to know the right socialites, hanging with the right gang and know the right party patches in real life. You don’t have to be born into it anymore, social media makes it easier to create your own success. But the truth is: when you act as a high influencer, you will be rewarded. When your score drops, you will not. But isn’t that fair anyway?

What’s your opinion about Klout score? Have you measured your Klout? Are you actively working on improving, leveraging or maintaining it? Please share in the comment box below!

For you who want to learn more, I found a huge Infographic on everything about Klout. Scroll down to see it!

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

13 Responses to You’re not Judged by Klout Score. Your Digital Presence is.

  1. Anna, have you looked at Klout today? They have revamped again and taking a more broader approach to scoring. Plagued with complaints of easy gaming, they have vowed to correct…time will tell.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Yes, and for the better I think when also considering real world impact and measuring more interactions. I look forward to get the new interface where I can monitor “my moments”. I will write more on this subject very soon. Stay tuned for new updates! And thank you very much for commenting!

  2. Christine Kysely says:

    Great Article Anna! I am a fairly new KLOUT user, having only just joined a few weeks ago >>> But that being said I have as of yet (after THREE WEEKS of emails and complaints to the Klout FB page and support team) been able to get my data recording and showing properly on my KLOUT profile from my FBpage. I have 5000 FB friends and over 9000 subscribers and for weeks KLOUT showed all my activity for the past 90 days as 1 LIKE >>> ONE !!! This of course resulted in my having a KLOUT score of 12 FOR WEEKS!. Yesterday with the new changes my score has risen to a 60, However I am sure since NONE of my activity has been being added to the score analysis I am quite sure this score will start dropping, maybe as soon as tomorrow. My question you is this? What recourse does an individual such as myself have when a company such as Klout does not resolve issues in their data collection? I have been looking at my FB LIKES per day over the past few days and they have averaged well over 1000 per day, over 2000 yesterday, which would mean, in my opinion, that my 90 activity for likes should be somewhere around 90,000 and NOT the 12,000 that KLOUT is showing. I had one post in the past few weeks that ALONE had over 1000 LIKES. I would appreciate any advice you would have as to how to go about trying to get KLOUT to fix my page. Thank you again for the informative article. ~ C

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Hi Christine! I understand it must be very frustrating when Klout so obviously has the wrong data from you. I also noticed the differ in Klout’s Facebook figures and what I knew I had myself. Actually, nothing at all showed up from my Facebook account until yesterday! I guess it’s related to that Klout changed their algorithm this week. Their new interface will now look at separate “moments”, and probably you’ll receive more cred for your large amount of “likes” on your FB-page from now on. Today I wrote a follow-up post on this. Happy if you’d like to read it and give me your valuable comments! http://communicateskills.com/2012/08/16/head-in-the-klout/
      Thanks and best of luck! /Anna

  3. Emily says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out Klout since I first heard about it several months ago. This is the first article that really helped me make sense of it. Now it actually seems kind of neat! And I will head over to Klout and try to figure out my latest score, and see how I’m doing.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Thanks Emily for the comment! I’m glad I could help! Good luck with monitoring your social media presence. But don’t take the Klout score too seriously. I think the most important thing is to have fun online, doing what you want to do and get new friends! If you like to read more about Klout and the changes they made this week, have a look at todays post: Head in the Klout: My Score Went Up. How About Yours?

  4. Hi Anna,

    My motto is by working on your digital presence is going to take care of your social scoring by itself;-)

    If you are interested I wrote a book review of the book “Return on Influence” by Mark Schaefer who covers extensivley what he calls today’s citizen influencers. Great book I can only recommend.

    http://go4bigpoints.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/book-review-return-on-influence-by-mark-w-schaefer/

    Best,
    Claude

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Hi Claude, thanks for the link to your post. I read it and I think it’s an interesting book you’re reviewing, although I agree with you on not trying to manipulate scores, just letting it happen. I think “just let things happen” is a life lesson we need to remember now and then when living our busy, well-organized lives. Thanks again! Now I will head over to your post’s suggested link!

  5. I penned a piece a number of months ago challenging Klout that what they were measuring didn’t really amount to much.

    In light of their changes (in measuring offline influence as well), we are presented with a bigger question: what is the relationship between the real and the digital? Is there a divide? Is the barrier crumbling? In our 24/7/365 lifestyles where we are always connected (as your “digital self” continues to receive emails and messages and status updates even while you are turned off), I posit that there isn’t a difference. The digital conversations we have are very analogous to the offline conversations. For example, I post a review of a product and then check out for 8 hours. Before we had ubiquitous connectivity (my smartphone gets online anywhere, anytime), people wouldn’t be able to read that review unless they were sitting in front of that computer. Now, they are standing in the aisle of the store and reading that review. It’s almost like we had a conversation by the water cooler and I told them what I thought about that specific product. As this divide between online and offline continues to erode (and data continues to grow), I think there will be an opportunity to correlate what I’ve done online (i.e., that review) and what gets accomplished offline (i.e., someone buying the product). When that happens, my Klout score might really mean something.

    Definitely need to update your writeup/infographic to reflect Klout’s changes (i.e., Bieber no longer has 100…). Otherwise, good piece. Klout is just one service trying to tackle the idea of measuring influence. But like I said, that score will only mean something when there is meaningful, measurable impact regardless if it’s in the digital world or the real world.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Hi Jason, thank you for a great comment! You’re raising several good questions in your reply. I have also thought about why Klout themselves are talking about “the real world” kontra the online one they measure. It’s as they admitted that the digital world is some kind of fantasy land and not for real. But if so, then Klout score can’t be for real either. I guess something like this happened: One day the Klout people woke up from their dream and realized they had to do something about living in la-la-land if they would be able to justify their existence in the future. So they decided to throw in some real life parameters in a new algorithm. End of story.

      You’ve got a point when writing about the correlation between online input and offline behaviour. That’s next challenge for Klout I think. Wonder if they ever will come up with something there.

      Also thanks for the link to your earlier post about Klout. I found it insightful and well written. In today’s current Klout debate, it’s very relevant and I did tweet it to my audience. Think they will enjoy it too. Thanks for sharing!

  6. […] You’re not Judged by Klout Score. Your Digital Presence is. […]

  7. weirdly my klout score went up when they changed their algorithm tbh I don’t think there is a great deal in it, I imagine they will get better and better at the ranking though…

    I have set up an experiment where I am having a war with myself on klout – currently the ‘cats and illustration enthusiast’ profile is winning over the ‘non profits and web tech’ one:

    http://klout.com/#/crispin_read

    http://klout.com/#/dearjanit

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