Klout_Body.jpgby Jennifer Shaheen.


Do you know your Klout score? If you want to position yourself as an influential figure in your industry, you might want to. Klout provides social media analytics that experts say determine how influential you are. Klout tracks the posts you’ve made on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites. The platform also monitors what you post to Blogger, Wordpress, YouTube, Flicker, and other content driven sites. Your Klout score is a ranking between 0 and 100, determined by the number of times people comment on, and share your posts.


Despite the recent flurry of interest in Klout, however, not everyone agrees on its value. Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works, a business design company, and a high profile blogger says, “Don’t work on your Klout score. Work on understanding influence.” In fact, he urges his readership to channel their social media energies into helping other people out. “Don’t work on how many followers you have,” he says, “except insofar as you worry about how to feed them useful information that will grow your reach.”


Other people disagree. “Klout scores are seldom, if ever, used as the sole criterion to make a decision. However, they are important to consider when you're looking at who to do business with,” says Terry Brock, co-author of the forthcoming Klout Matters: How To Engage Customers, Boost Your Digital Influence and Raise Your Klout Score for Success. “Today, a business owner can decide who is more influential in their area of interest and work with those people. This is a much better expenditure of the time, money, and energy to connect with customers.”


Use Klout to assess the effectiveness of social media marketing

“We feel that the primary reason to use Klout is for the internal examination of how effective you are on social media,” Brock says. “Klout's system provides a way to guide your social media efforts so you get maximum benefit for the work you do. It is a great ‘measuring stick’ to calibrate your efforts to make sure you are doing what you need to do to be a good social media citizen."


Sashi Bellamkonda, vice president of digital marketing at the Buzzuto group, also known as the Social Media Swami says “Klout could be a progress report to see if there is effective engagement. It can be used as a value to see if there is enough conversation, real reciprocal engagement.” There are two ways you can gauge your effectiveness: considering your Klout score relative to itself—are people talking about or sharing your content more or less than they were last week?—and on a post-by-post basis. Obviously, if your audience finds great value in a particular posting, you should strive to provide similar content more often.


Klout_PQ.jpgThe power of perks

One of Klout’s unique features is the Perks program, where business owners can invite individuals who have high, relevant Klout scores to try out their products and services in the hopes—not the guarantee—that the Perk recipient will share their thoughts about the Perk with their readership. Perks range from the very basic, such as 50 free business cards, to the very high end, such as when Audi invited top design, technology, and luxury influencers to test drive the new Audi A8.


“The entire matter of making a comment or not is up to the person who has received the perk,” Brock says. “Most people understand that if you can provide a quality product and service to those who are highly influential they will want to tell others about that.”


If you’d like to be one of those highly influential people, maximize the mileage you get out of the Perks you receive. Discuss the item honestly and objectively, sharing your thoughts and feelings on multiple platforms.


Of course, this works best if you choose Perks that are relevant to your sphere of influence. If you’re highly regarded in the business world but no one cares what you think about golf, your review of some great new golf balls will likely fall on deaf ears. Pro golfer Rory Mcilroy (Klout Score 85) is in a different situation.


Using Klout to influence your customer service decisions

Larger companies have been using Klout scores to prioritize their responses to customer service complaints. A customer who is well-connected and vocal has the power to make their displeasure known in a way that less-wired customers simply don’t. If you choose to use Klout in this way, it’s important to remember that deciding which complaint to address first doesn’t negate your obligation to address them all.


Where Klout counts

If the success of your small business is dependent, directly or in part, on the expertise of you and your team, it’s a good thing to be recognized and regarded as knowledgeable in your field. Klout provides a mechanism you can use to determine how well you’re doing communicating your expertise. Don’t forget that other people can see your Klout score as well, and use that to determine if your services are right for their needs. For this reason, you want to be at least familiar with your Klout score and using social media management best practices to keep it competitive for your industry.