One of the recent darlings of social media is Klout, the social media performance gauging service that apparently lets you see how influential you are across Twitter, Facebook and now recently Google+. Its hard to be active in these networks without seeing a K+ high five here, or a blog post there touting the benefits of being a part of the service, and why YOU need to be doing more to improve your Klout score. Just recently, I stumbled upon a case study about a fashion party using Klout Score to determine whether you were allowed in. The whole campaign is something akin to a high school birthday party, where only the cool kids get invited.
Is this sort of elitist exclusion what you want to associate with your brand? Really?
I can see what they are trying to achieve. If only so called “social media rock stars” can come along, then it follows that somehow the brand will be positively portrayed on social networks, and seen by many more people than if plebs like you and me came along.
But when we break down the actual mechanics of what makes up a good Klout score, we can see that in the majority of cases, its a flawed algorithm on many counts.
Why reshares are a poor measure of influence.
Just because you have a high Klout score doesn’t mean you are influential. It just means that you have an innate ability to sharecontent that attracts attention, and garners retweets. In other words its measuring social network activity. Which is very different.
Want to inflate your Klout score? Here’s a tip from the top.
Step 1. Find a popular blog.
Step 2. Grab their RSS feed.
Step 3. Autotweet when a new item is published
Step 4. Rinse and repeat for other popular blogs.
BOOM! Instant Klout score improvement. Due to the quality of the content in your stream, your Klout score will instantly improve. Pat yourself on the back, you are now an influencer.
Participation inside the Klout ecosystem improves your score.
<sarcasm>Your not on Twitter? Your not sharing content? Who are you again? Kloutbot is watching, and you’d better be flat out getting retweets and shares from others. Otherwise your DOOMED as an influencer. Forget that blog – its a waste of time. If you ain’t building up your Klout profile (remember newbies get +10 points of Klout just for signing up!), you are dead to me. </sarcasm>
And here was me thinking all you had to do, was get people to engage with your content. The fact that the more you are K+ slapping people on the back, the more likely you are to receive “influence” in return doesn’t help matters either. Klout isn’t a standard for measure of influence, its a game where you have to play by their rules.
Imagine if Google ranked your website according to how much you used their products. Wouldn’t we have a right royal mess on our hands? Sorry Klout. I ain’t playing.
‘True Reach’ is a sham marriage
Remember when Twitter launched, and there was all those awesome automated programs that allowed you to autofollow people on mass, then de follow those that didn’t follow you back? Yeah. According to Klout, all those awesome
scammers marketing folk are influencial. True reach, according to some pretty insightful research, is also a load of balls that relies on having a decent sized following. Pump up those numbers folks!
I don’t particularly care if I have a big fat shiny number in flashing lights beside my name that shows the world the size of your ego, and I’ve never been one to gravitate towards websites that give bragging rights in any professional capacity.
In the real world, it isn’t what you you say that makes you influential. It’s what you do. In any case I already know who is influential in my network without an automated service telling me. Let’s all please stop pretending that somehow the social web and services like Klout are a true reflection of that.