So, how many of you indie authors have heard of Klout? Are you scratching your head, saying what, another social media platform I need to use? Maybe…maybe not. Let’s dive in and examine Klout and how important it is for us indie authors…
Indie Authors – What Is Klout?
Klout is a tool that measures a user’s influence across social networks. As stated on their website, their mission is to empower every person by unlocking their influence. Klout tries to measure influence:
Social media has allowed anyone to drive action to those around them, democratizing influence. Klout measures this influence across several social networks and shows users how they impact the people connected to them.
Once you sign up, you get a Klout score, 1-100. This score is calculated by examining over 400 variables on multiple social networks, looking at who engages with your content and who they share that content with. You can read more about your Klout score here.
Indie Authors – Klout Extras
Within Klout, you have moments, topics, +K, and Klout perks. Moments are supposed to help you see how your content influences others in your social networks and see how your content has improved your Klout score. Topics are your passions and areas of expertise. +K is used to give kudos to someone who influenced you, and you can do the same for others. Klout perks (brands like American Express) reward you for your influence.
Indie Authors – How Do I Use Klout?
Klout is fairly easy to use. You can set up a profile and then add your various social network sites. At last check (March 2013), you can connect to the following social media accounts:
- Facebook (personal profiles and Facebook pages)
Once you connect, Klout measures your activity, and you’ll get a Klout score that varies based on what you’re doing on your social networks. You might get tweets if someone gives you a +K as well.
Indie Authors – Influence Versus Activity
One error people can make in using Klout is to mistake activity for influence. According to Klout, what is key is not having a lot of connections, but being engaging with your connections. Klout says:
Retweets, Likes, comments and other interactions on the social Web are all signals of influence. However, just looking at the count of these actions does not tell the whole story of a person’s influence. It’s important to look at how much content a person creates compared to the amount of engagement they generate.
In this regard, I think Klout is right. It is better to have a smaller audience that engages with you, than a larger one that could care less about you. That’s the crux of good marketing…
Indie Authors – Do You Need Klout?
I got involved in Klout a while back, and to be honest, I don’t really care that much about it. And it would seem that many others don’t as well (read Nobody Gives A Damn About Your Klout Score). Now, that article is a bit old, but I think there’s some relevance there. Klout has taken a lot of criticism for things like Justin Bieber having a higher Klout score than Barack Obama (they have recently made adjustments for this). Klout has also been criticized for allowing users to game the system, trying to artificially raise their Klout scores. And finally, Klout has had privacy issues. Klout has responded to all this, but many think the jury is out. Read this article for more.
Indie Authors – My Assessment
A while back someone commented about Klout, saying that I should take a look at my amplification rate, that it’s an investment indicator. Ironically, that person and I were having a discussion about social media, spamming and how much one can be engaged with their Twitter followers. And my thought was how can Klout really measure my engagement? Here’s some of my reasoning:
- Klout doesn’t measure all social media engagement (right now, Pinterest isn’t on there, as well as Squidoo and many others). What if I’m very active on those sites, but less so on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+? Does that mean I’m less engaged?
- If you haven’t heard of Klout, then you don’t have a Klout score. Again, this doesn’t mean you’re not engaged, you just don’t use Klout.
- Are the algorithms Klout uses really reflective of anything more than tweets, retweets, etc.? What about those that use automation? How does this reflect in the algorithms?
- What if you comment on blogs? That’s highly engaged activity, but it doesn’t get reflected in your Klout score.
- Has Klout really fixed the gaming part of it?
- Are people placing too much on a Klout score?
- How much will Klout’s need to make money influence their product? Will influence be tied to money at some point?
As I researched for this blog, I found some articles that said that recruiters and employers are considering one’s Klout score when considering prospective employees. To me, that’s scary. Regardless, my humble opinion is that Klout is okay, but if you’re not interested in trying it, it’s not going to hurt your social media presence, or your marketing efforts. If nothing else, it’s another place out there in cyberspace where people can find out that I’m an author. But it’s not a true measure of someone’s social influence.
What do you think? Am I wrong (I have been before :))?