What is your Klout Score? Your Klout score is a two digit score that measures your social media influence. If you have a Twitter account in which you are doing public updates you have a Klout score. You can supplement your score by adding Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram, Blogger, WordPress, LastFM or Flickr to your Klout account. While Google has an algorithm that measures page rank, Klout has developed an algorithm to measure social media influence. Google has an algorithim that ranks the relevancy of every webpage, while Klout is working to measure the influence of every person online. Klout scores are calculated using variables that can include number of followers, frequency of updates, the Klout scores of your friends and followers and the number of likes, retweets, and shares that your updates receive. Interacting with someone who has a high Klout score also helps to increase your score.
The Klout Score algorithm was created by it’s founder, Joe Fernandez in 2008. Klout’s algorithm was little changed until October of 2011, when the algorithm was tweaked, most likely to more greatly account for Facebook as tool of influence. This caused a considerable uproar among technologists, who heavily dependent on Twitter, saw a dip in their scores. Many technologists clamored that Klout simply no longer mattered and was meaningless.
However, with the most recent change in the Klout algorithm last month, technologists are giving Klout a second look and liking what they see. Prominent tech blogger, Michael Arrington (formerly of TechCrunch) liked what Klout was doing so much that he proceeded to invest in the company. The new Klout algorithm takes into account more real world influence — through a combination of bringing in 12 times more data points everyday, and taking into account things like Wikipedia pages and weighting LinkedIn profile data higher.
The new Klout profile page for an individual also is a timeline of recent social media interactions — specific Tweets, status updates and Instagram photos that have resonated with people. It’s no longer just about how many Retweets an individual gets, but who Retweeted them, and how they did it. Did they add their own commentary? Was it a “via”? Or a straight RT? Some 400 factors play into the new score. It’s less a number, and more a social resume on one page. The new version of Klout is focusing not just on the number of measurement of influence but also shows which clever tweets or posts by an individual resonated the most with their followers.
Does your Klout score and the social media influence that it represents truly matter? The answer is indisputabley yes. Klout scores are entering into our everday lives, especially for those who travel and conduct business on the road. Airlines, hotels and retailers are starting to evaluate ways in which they can use Klout scores to identify brand evangelists of whom they wish to keep happy. Individuals with higher Klout scores will get aisle seats on airplanes, more spacious hotel rooms, and special discounts at big name retail stores. The enterprise software giant Salesforce.com has a service that lets companies monitor the Klout scores of customers. Those with higher Klout scores will get more attention and quicker service from customer service representatives determined to keep them from tweeting or posting negative comments to their many followers. Klout has nearly 2 billion API (application programming interface) calls per day from some 8,000 partners – frequently from customer call centers who want to know exactly who are the customers that are calling in.
Some of the most influential brand customers with Klout scores of 50 or higher are eligible for perks and gifts ranging from free smart phones to all expense paid trips to weekend test drives of automobiles. Klout has done 400 “Perks” programs that have given some 750,000 influencers special deals with no quid pro quo– only a hope that they’ll say something nice about a brand. Brand rewards for Klout scores are a reflection in the social media age of the special treatment that brands have given out for years to high profile names, the press, and individuals who have spent lots of money on the brand. Klout has democratized influence.
Beyond the perks, Klout is rating and showing people’s online influence on various topics so that others can learn from them. In addition it rewards individuals for their social media efforts by helping them to feel listened to on certain topics. In this way, Klout’s ranking system is working to build a better online community. In today’s social media age, those that push out interesting content are the new influencers, and after several attempts, Joe Fernandez and Klout appear to be on their way to develop a rating system for measuring social media influence that is accurate and matters.