If you are like most social media users out there you are on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to name a few. You may be wondering “how am I doing?” with your social media efforts and there exists a tool to answer this called Klout (Http://www.klout.com). Klout exists not only to tell you how you are doing but how others are doing.
I have been using Klout actively for over a month now and I am starting to get a feel for what it is about and how it works. While Klout is by no means the be all and end all of measuring social media performance it appears to be developing a following among those who are actively involved in social media. A Klout score is a number out of 100 that measures how influential you are across social media platforms in the last 90 days. The more people engage you and spread what you do the more points you accumulate.
The first commandment is increase your Klout score by spending most of your time promoting yourself on Facebook and Twitter. Some time can be devoted to the Google+, Klout and Linkedln platforms as well.
While Klout supports a variety of social networks and bases its score across many social networks it is actually heavily biased towards Facebook and Twitter. To a lesser degree it gives weight to Google+, Linkedln and Klout. The technology that powers Klout is actually a secret but I feel Klout is heavily biased towards Facebook and Twitter mostly because these two platforms have the most mature Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) available for getting information from one social media platform to a third party application.
The second commandment is increase your Klout score by giving it access to all your social media profiles.
As mentioned earlier Klout uses the APIs to access your social media profiles to find out what your activity is so it can assess it and rank it. In order to do this you need to give Klout access to your social media profiles so it can access them. The greater access you give Klout to your social media profiles the higher your score.
How does this work? The Klout score is a measure of your 90 day average on social media. In Klout literature they say that they give more weight to your recent activity as opposed to the previous activity when calculating the score. When you consider that the Klout score from 90 days ago is actually a measure of the 90 days prior to it the Klout window actually expands from 90 to 180 days of activity.
Klout measures engagement which Klout defines as the interaction of other social media users with the content you create. In Twitter these are terms such as mentions, retweets and favorites. In Facebook it’s shares, likes and comments. Klout has not totally defined all the different benchmarks they use to measure your social media activity but have provided us with what is best a rough outline. Whatever they are you can be sure they are tied to what activity it can extract from the APIs.
The third commandment is increase your Klout score by creating new content for your social media and so users can interact and share the content you create.
Klout says the engagement of users with you is more important then the size of your social media following/friends. This would probably help to weed out those who are into buying friends/followers, What it is not mentioned but I am sure plays a role is the diversity of engagement. I think different users engaging you would help you out as opposed to just a few.
The fourth commandment is increase your Klout score by taking advantage of the ability to link your social media profiles and promote your activity and content across multiple social networks.
You may already do this but you should give greater thought to how you handle your social media content. If you create a new blog post in WordPress then share it in Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are like me your different social media sites include different audiences so you can spread your messages to more people and get greater engagement.
The fifth commandment is increase your friends and followers to create greater opportunities to be engaged.
You stand a much greater chance of being engaged or having your content shared if you have more people to share and engage with. How you increase your friends and followers is really up to you but you need to get real people on board and following hat you are up to.
The sixth commandment for increasing your Klout score is to engage Klout and Klout users.
A very important point to understand about Klout is Klout itself is a social media platform. Klout will reward you with a greater Klout score for participating in Klout. Klout has a point system which it refers to as K+. Klout points can be used to recognize users for their knowledge of topics. Being recognized for your knowledge in Klout topics helps your Klout score. You also get rewarded for acknowledging other users by giving them Klout points.
Klout also has a Perks program where you can collect rewards for activities such as connecting your Klout profile to social media profiles, getting your social media friends to join Klout and getting Klout points. How you do all of this I will not get into but I suggest when you create a Klout profile you give me K+ for Social media (shameless self promotion here).
The seventh commandment is engage other users to help them out with their social media scores.
While much has been written about what Klout can do for you you need to give some consideration to others. Before you can be engaged you need to engage others and share, like and comment on their social media activity. Engaging others lets people know you exist and will make others want to engage in the content you create.
The eighth commandment is do not look for or expect immediate changes in your Klout score.
Klout scores for the most part rise and drop at most about a point on any given day. Do not count on tens of thousands of social media users suddenly engaging you and you getting a Klout score to rival the President of the United States. Klout scores that happened 89 days previously will count against your sudden upsurge. If you want to increase your Klout score see it as more a long term proposition.
The best you can hope for is Klout to implement a new algorithm which does happen and it can result in a dramatic score change.
The ninth commandment is a Klout score is not a social media strategy but more of a guideline of best practices.
If your only social media strategy is a big Klout score then you are doing it wrong. Some users have decided to target different social media platforms that Klout does not recognize or gives little weight too. Klout though can offer some best practices. Obviously we want users to be engaged with us but it only happens if they are offered something and lots of people we know it exists. Much of the strategies that exist for social media platforms are still valid and hold true. If your social media strategy is getting you the results you want then you can probably safely ignore your Klout score.
Also when comparing scores you need to be aware that no two users’ scores are scored equally. Klout will assign different weights to your social network scores depending on your activity for that day. The weighting assigned to your score will depend on the engagement created by that social network for that day. To say User A has a higher Klout score then User B neglects the fact that User B may have more engagement on a social network that User A has chosen not to participate in.
The tenth commandment is be prepared for Klout expansion and be where Klout is expanding.
The vast majority of social media networks are not covered by Klout. Klout only covers the biggest ones and the ones with mature APIs. That being said Klout has announced plans to include other social networks in its ranking algorithms. As of this writing they include sites like Yelp and bit.ly. It is a good idea to get yourself setup and going on these networks so when Klout does connect it has some activity to score and rank.
Also there are plenty of other networks like Pinterest which are attracting quite a following and maybe will find their way into the Klout score. Trying to figure out what networks will find their way into Klout is a lot like betting on the stocks but its a good idea to have an open mind about other social networks and getting yourself established and engaged.