There has been a big buzz lately by well respected social media figures about whether it’s worth that people make use of the Klout score to improve their social presence or simply not. These people back their statement by saying that there is no way that a computer generated software is or will be able to predict and analyze human interactions. As you know, even we, humans, aren’t able to fully understand these interactions even with the huge advancements made in fields like psychology and sociology. So how can a “code” do it?
To make a clear picture of where I stand on this, I’ll be using a similar example to explain things furthermore. Do you remember when Google “the search engine” was so young that you could easily get lost in all those spam results that has nothing to do with value? I’m sure that you do. Even these days, Google is still struggling with their algorithm to make results more relevant and useful to their users. It’s true that finding garbage results is rare these days to what it was 5 years ago, but we still to this day find irrelevant, spammy, keyword stuffed articles that provide no value to the user, so why people don’t complain about that?
Even knowing that Klout has scored more than 100 million people, it’s still considered young for it to be close to accurate. While Google has succeeded because they were collecting data about searches all these years, 100 million scores is considered more than enough to form a good algorithm that is capable of humbly measuring social interaction and influence.
So how Klout works?
While this could appear a little technical, I can assure you that they use very simple data to measure people’s scores. According to their website, they base their score on 3 main factors:
1- True reach:
This means how many people your messages are reaching. In other words, it’s how big is your network of following that is interacting with what you have to say. True reach is similar to Facebook’s “reach” data which means people who receive and see your content. However, it measures your potential following more than actual following. This means real people who are more likely to take action upon your content.
This 2nd variable is more like Facebook’s new “talking about this” data. This means how many people are sharing, commenting and acting upon your content. In other words, how much your messages influence people.
Because not all social profiles are created equal, if you have big profiles following and liking your content, then your reach is going to be bigger because your content will be seen by their networks as well. Klout takes that into consideration by seeing if you have influencers in your network or just consumers.
So how Klout really gathers this data?
In order to calculate your score, Klout analyze your social profiles for these things:
1- How many people you’ve reached through your social media profiles?
2- How many tweets a post of yours got?
3- How high are the profiles that shared your content (not all of them are the same)?
4- How many times you’ve been mentioned across your social platforms and by whom?
5- How many comments you got?…etc
The other complaint I hear from many people sometimes is that there are some spammy profiles that don’t have real influence and yet have a higher Klout score. My answer to this is the same as the first one. With new technologies emerging, there will be always people who want to trick algorithms to their advantage. If you look at Google, you’ll see that they have a complete spam team who tries to clear the searches from spammy irrelevant content, and they are becoming very good at it (look at spammers businesses after the Panda update). If you want to build a real solid based business, then you need to forget about those manipulators and concentrate how much value you can provide to your following.
So if you want my opinion, I think that Klout is definitely worth it because it might be the engine that can determine how each social profile should rank the same way Google does it with webpages. It’s true that it’s still in its beginnings, but it might become the standard of the industry that everybody relies on to increase their conversions through social media.
So what you think about this subject? Do you believe that the Klout score is useful to your social media marketing campaign or not?