How to Win Social-Media Clout with Klout

Some companies have recently added to their marketing plans the desire to increase their Klout score. But is Klout really the standard for social influence and thus something you should be worried about?

If you haven't heard of Klout, it's a service that measures your influence on social networks. But how effective is it really?

At SES Chicago this year I ran into Krista Neher, speaker and social media strategist with Boot Camp Digital. I used that opportunity to discuss Klout and how I could boost my score.

Krista explained, “Klout certainly measures something. The issue is its tagline is not close to what they actually do. This can be misleading to those who don't do their research and could also leave people thinking that it's the standard of influence. In reality, Klout is something that you can treat like a game: make the right moves and you can win.

I thought this is supposed to be a passive measure of one’s influence on social media. It became clear that if you can make moves to increase your Klout score this is not really measuring your influence. Instead it is measuring your ability to game the system.

“An increase in activity can impact your Klout score. Just because you talk more does not mean you have more influence. Transversely you could say that if I talk less and have more followers that I have more ‘influence.’ Influence isn't something you can look at and easily assign a value.” Krista explains.

There is also the issue of how influential the people are you influence. Quickly, you can see there are some major holes in what Klout is trying to accomplish. After all, it was Klout’s marketing department that declared it s service “measures your influence on social networks”.

A friend of mine posted a tweet about Amish fireplaces, it got retweeted by a few of us and then Klout pegged him as an “influencer on the topic of Amish.” He has no expertise about the Amish, but Klout doesn't have the ability to detect sarcasm or distinguish between a moment of impact and true influence.

A better measure of your social influence is to forget about it and focus on building real, genuine, and impactful social campaigns that engage and encourage your customer base to become your best advocates.

Jabez LeBret is the author of the Amazon No. 1 bestselling law office marketing book How to Turn Clicks Into Clients. As a partner at Get Noticed Get Found, a legal marketing agency, over the last nine years he has delivered over 800 keynote addresses in six countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing.

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