Klout is a social media tool that measures your online influence by evaluating your activity on a variety of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, and others. It doesn’t just take into account your actions but also how your fans/followers/friends react to what you share.

According to Klout’s website: “The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or
engage you influence others.” The Klout Score uses data from social networks in order to measure:

  • How many people you influence (after filtering out spam and bots — how many people are you really connected to).
  • How much you influence them (what action do they take based on what you share).
  • How influential they are (the reach and influence of the people that you inspire to take action — the ripple effect).

All of that data is crunched together and you’re issued a score from 0-100, with 100 being the most influential. To give you some sense of scope — the average score is about 20. The score becomes harder to increase as you move up the scale. David Armano has a score of 82. Joe Pulizzi has a 71, Arianna Huffington is a 75, and Chris Brogan has a 77. All four would be considered mega stars in the world of Klout.

I can hear you now…it’s just about ego and popularity contests. And if it was just about a magic number — I might agree. But the real value of Klout isn’t really the score. It’s the label.

Klout has divided and defined influence into a 16 grid scale. (see visual above) So it doesn’t just measure volume and reach — but it measures HOW you influence. Based on your behaviors and what people do with what you share — you are given a label. Looking at our examples again — David Armano’s behaviors and interactions make him a tastemaker. Joe Pulizzi is a pundit, Arianna is a celebrity, and Chris Brogan is a curator.

I think it’s the grid that makes Klout worthy of our attention. There are a wealth of tools that count what you do. The number of tweets, how many comments your Facebook status update receives, and the quantity of thumbs up you get on your YouTube videos. But there are very few that allow us to see how the sum total of our interactions are perceived and what actions they inspire.

You may see yourself as a thought leader but discover that the world sees you as a dabbler or activist. Your Klout score refreshes every day – so you can experiment with different blends of content on the various social media tools to see how your new behaviors are perceived. This allows you to learn and change.

Based on your own marketing and social media goals — you can keep tweaking until your label (and to a lesser extent — your score) matches your intentions. Being able to see how you are perceived and then being able to make adjustments to that perception are what makes Klout a very unique and valuable tool worthy of your attention.

Guest Author:

DrewMcLellan.jpgDrew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and the author of AdAge’s Top 150 blog, Drew’s Marketing Minute. Wall Street Journal called it “one of the ten blogs all entrepreneurs should read.” Drew wrote 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing and is co-creator/editor of the ground-breaking Age of Conversation book series. He is also a Marketing Profs Daily Fix blogger and can be followed at @drewmclellan on Twitter.

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