Know Your Klout: Getting Your Business In With The Cool Kids Online

Know Your Klout: Getting Your Business In With The Cool Kids Online

Know Your Klout: Getting Your Business In With The Cool Kids Online

In 2012, Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP of Marketing position in Toronto, and despite an impressive resume – boasting 15 years of managing major brands like Ford, AOL, and Kraft – Fiorella’s interview was cut short when the interviewer realized his Klout score was only 34. The company hired someone with a score of 67 instead.

That was then. This is now. Do Klout scores still matter?

Well, the answer is both yes and no. After more serious investment, Klout went the way of self-interest – like many companies do – and became less about determining an individual’s internet-social worth and more about encouraging users to boost their scores by using Klout as a personal social media management resource. While it is true that you can get an extra point here or there by using Klout’s shortlinking system and scheduling tweets via Klout’s scheduling tool, the company’s foundation as a social scoring company still stands.

What is Klout?

Klout.com is a service that measures a user’s online influence across their social media networks. Wired Magazine stated, “Much as Google’s search engine attempts to rank the relevance of every web page, Klout—a three-year-old startup based in San Francisco—is on a mission to rank the influence of every person online.”

Joe Fernandez had the idea for Klout after having his mouth wired shut to correct a jaw misalignment issue. Three months of communicating exclusively via Facebook and Twitter led to that “what if” moment where Fernandez was inspired by how people used social media.

During his still-mute phase, Fernandez began keeping careful track of his friends on Facebook – how many followers they had, how often they posted, and how their posts were shared. He found that some of his younger family members had many more followers, yet very little influence. With others, he found some hardly ever posted, yet each post received instant likes and shares.

Wired Magazine continues, “Fernandez began to envision social media as an unprecedented eruption of opinions and micro-influence, a place where word-of-mouth recommendations—the most valuable kind—could spread farther and faster than ever before.”

How do you get a Klout score?

If you have a Twitter handle, you have a Klout score. No signup is required for your social Klout to be seen by others. Whether you know it or not, your Klout exists.

However, that does not mean you have an account with Klout. These two things are not one in the same. If you do not utilize a social CRM that allows you to view the scores of your followers, another great way of seeing Klout scores is to download the Klout for Chrome extension. This extension allows you to view scores as you scroll through Twitter.

What’s the easiest way to raise my score?

For starters, use your Twitter handle to log in to Klout.com and go through the process of linking your other social media accounts: Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even your blog account. The more active your profiles, the more these profiles will help boost your overall score. You should note, however, that not every account will help improve your score dramatically. For example, if you have a Google account that you hardly ever use, linking an inactive account can hurt you more than help you.

How does Klout determine my score?

The number one rule of thumb with Klout scores is that engagement matters. Just as Google updates its algorithms to better determine the relevancy of a web page as shown in the SERP, Klout regularly updates its algorithm to help determine how relevant you are on social media. Having a large number of followers on Twitter or Facebook can significantly boost your rating, but just as Google gets smarter, Klout gets smarter too. To avoid granting too much Klout to fake or spammy accounts that are completely irrelevant to true social influence, Klout measures a variety of other instances in order to determine your score. To Klout, a high percentage of liked or retweeted posts is more important than a million followers that appear to not care about anything you say. Another score factor includes the ratio of followers to following. Figuring how many people want to be involved with what you say is a multifaceted way of determining your relevance in the seemingly never-ending digital high school we live in today. The more interactive friends you have, the higher you score. The higher you score, the more perks you qualify for.

What are Klout perks?

Klout perks are freebies given to you for being socially awesome. Klout gets together with popular companies, startups, and new products that need a little social boost and offers products to influential Klout users. Rather than asking you to tweet all about your experience with the product, these companies assume that those with higher scores are already apt to tell their online followers about it. Log in to Klout.com to view what perks may be available based on your score. Receive a box of free business cards or a brand new set of Gillette razors. The perks are always changing.

How do companies use Klout scores?

In the past, the popular Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, would look up an individual’s Klout score upon check-in. Without the user’s Twitter handle, this can be done with the assumption that they have included their personal email address as part of their hotel reservation and that they use that same address for their Twitter account. Viola! A Klout score appears and the person checking in has no idea what they could be missing.

At random, the Palms Resort would upgrade guests with high Klout scores, never revealing the how or why of what seemed like a randomized lottery pick to become their next VIP guest. Drink tickets, turn down service, and a variety of other perks were given with the assumption that those with high scores would be more apt to snap a photo and share with their friends. In today’s socially-empowered world, there aren’t many of us that would overlook this opportunity for some online bragging rights. And for the Palms, the more followers you had and the more active you were across social media, the more your bragging would suddenly turn into the most cost-effective online marketing plan possible.

Each new company and each new sales team hears those famous words about referrals being the best buyers. Referrals buy more, stay longer, and tend to say the nicest things about your company. Today, the way we find referrals has changed and the methods upgraded. Much like finding a date in this new, techno age, you don’t make a hard sell on someone you met at a party. Things don’t work like that anymore. Instead, your customers talk about you online. They comment on Facebook, “Yeah man, you should really try Boostability. They can help you with all that online marketing stuff.” They tweet it out, “Holy cow! My website is ranking #1 for my top keyword. Thanks @Boostability.” They become advocates for all of your new content and share it with their friends as if it were their own.

Right now you may be asking yourself if investing effort into social media influencers is worthwhile. Let’s review. Before the experiment, the Palms had the 17th largest social media following among similar resorts in the Las Vegas area. Afterward, the Palms’ own Klout score significantly increased and its social following raised the company to the third most followed resort in the area.

Are Klout scores as relevant today as they once were?

I bet your CRM thinks so. Some of the most popular content and/or relationship management systems today include a prospect’s Klout score in the prospect’s profile. SalesForce, HubSpot, and SproutSocial all provide a quick way of showing you who your most influential prospects are.

How can I use Klout to land my next interview?

With a high Klout score, you don’t need to worry about who might be watching or if your next interview will be satisfied with your 57 social batting average. Why? Because you networked your way into the big leagues which granted you the instant ability to “put it out there” as far as who you are and what you’re looking for in your next big move. Your followers are just as capable of finding you a new resume opportunity as your Klout score is in landing you the job. Don’t forget that your Klout score represents your networking ability overall.

How can I use Klout for my business?

As long as we can remember, we’ve passed by magazine stands and surfed past internet ads promoting this product or that product, backed by the world’s most in-the-now and popular celebrities. Some of us are intrigued, others are continually disgruntled in watching all their favorite things turn into an advertisement opportunity marked by another pretty face. But is it just a pretty face?

Today, there are celebrities in all shapes and sizes for every type of industry. There are as many video game stars as there are suddenly-famous chicklit writers, and the world that loves these stars is becoming increasingly less “underground.” While you may be the type to loathe the concept that the more you have, the less you have to pay for things, you can at least calm your nerves with the somewhat new and constantly-improving concept that you don’t necessarily have to be the son or daughter of someone once famous in order to make a difference in this world.

The Internet has stolen New York’s most valued theme, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” and your Klout is just one of the ways to help determine just how far you’ve come.

Companies hiring for influential positions, whether you’re a marketing specialist or the new CEO, can help differentiate between favorite interviewees by evaluating their Internet Klout. However, hiring is not the only perk of the score.

Get creative with how your company can take advantage of Klout scores. Consider what it is you offer as a product or service. What is it about your company that you want to be the most anticipated and talked about? Put together a surprise gift basket or a free offer to deliver to your top followers. If you do it right, you’ll need no mention or reminder to “Please share your experience on Twitter” when rewarding the right people.

You can also rummage through your top followers and let them know you’d like to interview them or include them on your blog. Get to know them and why they follow you. Promote them as they might promote you.

As a company, you can also work your way from the inside out. Allow your employees to register their Twitter names or find their information via your database of personal email addresses. Randomly reward these team members with free swag or a day off. Don’t want to leave out the little guy? Sure! Not every member of every team is more valuable based on their Klout score, so consider determining the overall Klout score of a group of employees or rewarding based on improvement. After all, these influential members are your direct brand advocates. If hiring is your goal, you should be giving back to those who already work with you.

Update 

On May 5th, Klout announced a new “expertise” feature. This new feature shows the topics for which a user is considered to be an expert. According to Klout, this will “make it easier for people to make personal decisions based on the right context and with a higher degree of trust, based on the expertise of the people they choose to follow.”

The topics that a user is considered to be an expert for are indicated by a purple tag with a star labeled “Expert”. In order to be labeled as an expert, a user must be within the top few percentages of all Klout users for that particular topic.

klout expert feature

Perhaps one of the most important applications of this new feature will be for marketers, who will now be able to easily identify key influencers in various verticals.

Have more questions about Klout? Let us know by tweeting @Boostability with hashtag #BoostQuest.

Caz Bevan
[email protected]

Caz is the Founder of Be Impossible marketing agency and Co-Founder of Anhelaré startup advisory. Caz has extensive experience blending business goals and marketing tactics into comprehensive company strategies. Her creative innovation and expertise has helped shape customer experiences and drive continual engagement for a variety of companies and products including Sony Music Entertainment and SpeedTV. Connect with Caz: Linkedin