For the past few years businesses and individuals have been gradually adopting social media practices in faith that they will positively affect their online presence. The biggest question surrounding this topic, however, is evaluation. How can businesses or individuals be sure the investment of resources into social media is actually helping them? The means of measurement (followers, fans, likes, diggs, comments, shares etc.) are new and unfamiliar. This lack of understanding has hindered real adoption of and investment into the channel.
With an increase in social media adoption and the ever increasing buzz regarding the channel, more and more ancillary tools are being developed. The bulk of these tools aim to put metrics behind the new channels and assist users to analyze the effectiveness of social media efforts.
One of the most popular tools to measure effectiveness of social media efforts, Klout, has developed a user base of over 100 million individuals. If you are ready to measure the influence of your social media efforts, Klout may be just the tool you are looking for. Let me break down what Klout is and how to best use the tool for you.
What is Klout?
Klout is an online social media reputation tool that is based on calculating social influence. In other words, it puts a number 1-100 behind popularity and impact (your ability to incite others to act). The higher your Klout Score, the higher the influence.
Klout bases their scoring on three factors: true reach, amplifications, and network impact. As described on their website:
True Reach: How many people you influence (and how many people the people you influence are connected to)
Amplification: How much you influence them (does your network respond to your messages)
Network Impact: The influence of your network (the influence of the people in your network)
How do I use Klout?
While Klout’s interface looks clean and fairly simply, the tool is very robust and offers you a lot of evaluation tools to measure your social influence.
Let’s start with the dashboard. This page is really a summary of what’s been going on in your network lately. At the top of the page you will see the networks you have linked with your Klout account as well as how your score has fluctuated.
Scroll down and you will see how your network has influenced you. Further down yet you can catch up on the buzz regarding the topics in which you are influential.
The bulk of the information you have to gain from Klout is found on your profile.
To make sure you do not miss it, your score is extra big and displayed in a bright orange call-out bubble. To the right you will see another quick summary of your account (which accounts you have linked to, your picture, and your bio). You will also see a summary of who you are influenced by and what topics in which you are influential. For example, on the picture above shows the top five people/organizations I’m influenced by: Mark Batterson, Chris August, Focus Leadership, Simone Ramler, and EQUIP Conference. I’m influential about 3 topics: video, money, and YouTube.
Below the orange break line, you will see a menu on the left side of the screen: score analysis, topics, influencers, lists, klout style, perks, and achievements. These elements will shed more light onto your level of influence.
Under score analysis you will first see a chart visually displaying how your Klout score has shifted over the past month. Just below the graph, your activity that has contributed to your score is summarized. Next, three graphs outline your history on the three main metrics of they system: true reach, amplification, and network impact.
The topics section lists the areas in which you have an influential voice. Klout will automatically generate topics for you. If you feel they are missing some of the topics you are most influential in, you can add a topic with your +K’s (which we will cover later).
This section expands on the details of those you influence and those that influence you. See how you are connected to them (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), what their Klout score is, and how they influence their networks.
You can create lists (similar to Twitter lists) based on specific topics (web development, business, marketing, finance, sports, entertainment, etc.) and track the influence of the individuals in your list.
Klout style is one of my favorite features of Klout. It descriptively describes your interaction on social media. Based on an 4 x 4 matrix, the tool assigns you a style and displays how you are in comparison to the individuals that influence you. Mine, for example, is currently a networker.
A networker is explained as: “You know how to connect to the right people and share what’s important to your audience. You generously share your network to help your followers. you have a high level of engagement and an influential audience.”
Perks are a simple concept. Businesses want influential people to use their products in hopes that they will rave about them to their social network. Of course you aren’t required to rave, unless you want to. You could even complain if you want to. Being influential has its benefits; if you are influential, you will be offered special products or experiences.
Following suit of the majority of other social networks and tools online, Klout offers achievements. Keep track of notable achievements in your Klout experience from connecting certain social networks to reaching high Klout scores.
What is a +K?
A +K is like a vote for the influential people you are connected to. When you give someone a +K (you will see an icon next to names that easily allow you to give them away), you are saying “outloud” that that person is influential.
Ok, so that’s the basic features describing the technical way to use Klout. But how do you reallyuse it, how does it benefit you.
If you didn’t want to influence a specific community, you wouldn’t be involved in social media. Connecting, influencing, teaming up with, and aligning yourself with trusted, prominent figures in the community you want to reach will greatly increase your influence. So how do you do this? Easily.
You will notice in a few different sections on Klout, topics that there are red-colored words – they are indicating “topics” on Klout. These topics vary from money to Christianity to entertainment. By clicking on these topics you will be directed to page full of information regarding that topic. The image below displays the “Marketing” topic.
The benefit of this information is that you have all the top marketing influencers all in one place. Connect with them on the network of your choice and learn why they are as influential as they are, talk with them, connect with them, and most importantly, be associated with them. Remember your mom telling you in high school that you become who your friends are? Well, she was right, sort of.
If you associate yourself with the big dogs in the topic you want to influence, others will look to you as influential as well (of course it’s not all based on your connection with others, you have to be able to hold your own regarding the topic).
Free magazines, gift cards, food, trips and more just for engaging on social media? I think the benefit speaks for itself for individual users.
If you are business owner, investing on the other side of Klout perks can help your company/products gain “free” PR from giving away a few products to influential people.
Klout Brand Pages
Following the trend of major social networks, Klout recently introduced brand pages. While they are still in a Beta version, the benefits are apparent. The biggest benefit of brand page is that it displays the top 10 influencers for the brand – what marketer doesn’t want that information? These people are influential AND loyal to your brand, and now you know who they are, how to connect with them, and have the ability to keep them happy (thus leveraging their loyalty and influence). This tool takes social media management to a new level.
Still have questions about Klout? Let me know in the comments and let’s talk about it!