What Is Klout All About?

What is klout all aboutIf you’re trying to get a feel for the social presence and influence you are building on the web is working or not, one good place to start is by checking out your Klout score

Klout scores, created by a San Francisco company, are determined using analytics that measure your social media reach. The scores take into account things like your Twitter followers; your activity on your social media accounts, such as  shares, retweets and likes; and the quality of your connections–theoretically, spam accounts don’t help you here.

Klout measures influence for any social media identity–independent of whether it is a private individual or a company brand. It also looks at Wikipedia mentions, therefore giving higher scores to newsmakers and real-world leaders. 

Once their algorithm has determined your Klout, people who are thinking of connecting with you can use that score to decide if they really want to do so.  Scores are on a 100-point scale. 

Klout goes ahead and finds the data on everyone they can to create scores–you don't need to sign up to have a score. However, they don’t always know to connect your influence across the different social media platforms unless you register with Klout and tell them that you are @XYZ on Twitter, and XYZ Co. on Facebook and Google Plus. So, if you haven't already it is a really good idea to sign up for an official Klout account and connect your social accounts. 

To give a quick idea of what scores you might expect, here are the recent scores of some popular Twitter profiles (keeping in mind that Klout scores are also subject to change as data fluctuates): 

*English business magnate Richard Branson (@richardbranson) has a Klout score of 90, with 2,911,461 followers and following 3,810 people, on the date his score was accessed.

*On the other hand, Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable.com , has a Klout of 78, with a respectable 45,926 followers and following 824 accounts. (His Twitter handle is @petecashmore.)

*Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), businessman and social media expert, has a Klout of 83, and can boast 970,387 followers, while he follows 4,247.

* Pop stars Lady Gaga  (@ladygaga) and Justin Bieber (@justinbeiber) had similar rankings. Both had a Klout score of 93, were following between 120,000-130,000 people and were followed by 33 million-34 million people.

For brands, consider the following accounts: 

*@techcrunch, the account for Techcrunch.com, a technology news and opinions site, had a Klout score of 95, with 2.5 million followers while following only 822 accounts. 

*Footwear maker Teva (@teva) had a Klout of 63 with 8,564 followers and 1,441 following.

*My own brand (@Keys2BSocial) actually had a higher Klout than Teva, with a score of 66 even though I had fewer followers than Teva: 4,659. This shows the importance of engagement–I followed more people (4,377)  and my engagement on social media platforms is higher than the footwear brand, giving me a higher score.

 Now, the vast majority of people will have significantly lower scores than the accounts I just referenced, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth following.

Take for example your community newspaper. If it’s a small circulation daily or weekly, it may only have a Klout in the 30s or 40s, because of the relatively small amount of people that may be following. However, any retweets or interaction with that newspaper is sure to be seen in a targeted geographic area, which still may make sense for your marketing strategy.  Of course, if you can get a mention in the New York Times (Klout: 99), you’ll be reaching millions of followers instead of a few thousand. But will they be the right followers? 

Individual users, normal people just using Twitter for fun and not marketing, will likely have much lower Klout scores, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them in your own follow campaigns, either.  Finding customers who are loyal to your brand or services and connecting with them is a great way to build up a network of engaged followers, even if their Klout score is 12, they follow 1,600 people and only have 110 followers. If they follow you on your social media platforms, it’s probably because they’re looking for value from you, and their appreciation might be worth more than just earning retweets from celebrity accounts.

It is important to keep in mind that Klout is still very much in its infancy and the accuracy of the scores needs to be kept in perspective.  I'm of the opinion that site and its algorithyms are still very much in their infancy and the scores should be kept in perspective. With that, said theh measuring of online influence is definitely here to stay and it is becoming more and more important to take notice of how people and brands are valued online.

I hope this has been a helpful article explaining the basics about what Klout is all about. Now I'd love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on Klout? 

  • Klout is surely a mystery! 🙂

  • Shirley thanks for giving us some details on and interesting info about Klout.

  • Jackie de Boer

    Great info Shirley, I think in general Klout has improved its’ rating process over the last 6 months, though I do still see some people with a lower score than I think they deserve when comparing their level of engagement with others.

  • Great explanation on Klout and how to use it better! Thanks!!

  • A great explanation on Klout and how to use it better, thanks!!

  • This is a great post of Klout Shirley! Very smart talking about the papers and the role the would pay in information to a small area even though they have a small score..;)

  • Thanks for the easily understandable breakdown of Klout. I don’t use it….yet??

  • I’m always looking for clues as to how Klout works, it frustrates me 🙂

    • Hi Sara, it is frustrating I know which is why I continue to investigate and try to make sense of it all. I’m definitely interested to see how the world of social influence evolves. Thanks for stopping by and reading my article.

  • Thanks for the breakdown on Klout, it’s always a mystery to me how they calculate scores.

    • Hi Susan, yes it is definitely one of the many wonders of the world. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Very interesting! Answered so many questions for me! Thanks!

  • Thanks, great article on Klout. It is in its infancy and I am sick of how harshly judged it is because it needs time to grow and evolve however the potential is huge. Thanks again for taking the time to write this.

    • Thanks Miriam for your comment. I’m totally intrigued by the study of social influence and look forward to seeing out it evolves.

  • Great info! Still trying to figure klout out!

  • Thanks for this!! Makes it much more understandable, Shirley!!