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Klout: Should You Be Measuring Your Influence?
2011, Q3 (October 15, 2011)
By Jamie Gillenwater, Carolina Chapter Secretary

Jamie Gillenwater
Jamie Gillenwater
Since 2008, Klout.com has been measuring influence through users’ involvement in various online networks. Several writers online have decided why Klout is not a useful tool. The Black Sheep Agency makes three valid points:
  1. “Your friends don’t care about your Klout score.
  2. “Your Klout score isn’t perfect.
  3. “Where we’re going, we don’t need Klout scores.”

But does that mean there is no value in an external calculation of your online influence? I don’t think so.

How is your Klout score calculated?

Klout follows your interactions on the social networks you link to your Klout account. Right now, you can connect more than ten networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube to Klout. Based on your interactions in these networks, Klout measures your online influence based on three factors.

True Reach

True reach calculates how many people you truly influence. This doesn’t consider how many followers or friends you have, but how many of those people actually listen and react to the content you share.
“You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.” — Klout.com


Amplication measures how far the content you share can travel. For example, if you share a link or post a comment, do your followers retweet? Do their followers, who are not your followers, retweet? How far does this ripple effect go within the vast world of social networks?

Your Network

Your network is more than just your direct followers. Your network is calculated based on how influential you are, how influential your followers are, and how influential their followers are. If you were to promote a cause from scratch, how far would that cause travel through the Internet?

What else does Klout tell you?

Influential about …

Based on the information you share, Klout will determine about which topics you are influential. The users you influence can confirm which topics are accurate by awarding your K+. At this point in time, these topics can be superficial. I have seen technical communicators who are influential about everything from squirrels to Batman. As Klout evolves, I hope the accuracy of these topics improves.


Klout watches with whom you interact the most. The Web site follows on whose content you comment, retweet, and like. Based on these interactions, it determines who is influenced by you and who influences you. This feature can help you understand who your audience truly is.

Klout Style

There are sixteen Klout styles based on various traits such as participating versus sharing and consistent versus focused. Your Klout style diagram shows four of your influencers with the highest Klout score, as well as the top four people you influence . This allows you to compare how your influence style compares to those you connect with online.

My Klout style is defined as a “Socializer.” The description is pretty accurate as I share others’ content and connect people as often as possible. By hovering over the various squares, you can see the description of the other Klout styles. My primary influencers are classified as “Specialists,” all of whom are technical communicators.


Topic Pages

Topic pages show other users which topics you are influential about. You are also able to share which users influence you in select areas. The topics have been modified in the last few months to show other influencers in topics similar to areas in which you are influential.

So, why should you use Klout?


Klout helps you remain aware of how your social interactions influence others. I have been watching my Klout score daily to see how my actions influence others. I can see a small jump following a conversation on Twitter. If I share content, which is shared by a follower, I see another jump. In turn, if I don’t take time to nurture my online relationships for a week, I see my score drop.

I don’t think your score should be monitored daily, but weekly monitoring can help you realize if you are making a difference. If your score drops, is it because you were on vacation or because you aren’t sharing good content?


This awareness is particularly helpful for brands. By reviewing who is influenced by you, you can determine if the content you share meets the needs of your audience. If you are not reaching the audience you hoped to reach, you can re-evaluate. Do you need to meet the unexpected audience’s needs or do you need to adjust your content to influence your target audience’s needs?


Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Another reason to use Klout is the benefits you can get based on your Klout score and influential topics. Several brands are using Klout scores to offer free products to high-scoring influencers. Spotify US recently ran its launch campaign through Klout. Many Klout users took advantage of the “perk” to download Spotify. Now Spotify allows users to invite other users, allowing social media influence to finish the marketing for their US launch.

Other perks have included Subway, Metromint, P&G, and several television networks.

Not for everyone

Klout might not be for everyone. But if you are active in social media, it can be a good gauge for how far your online communications reach.

Jamie can be reached at jamie dot gillenwater at gmail dot comImage .

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