Why Your Klout Score Doesn’t Matter (Much)

Last night’s #pr20chat was on the subject of integrating offline marketing tactics with those being used online. More to the point, ensuring “real world” tactics are still playing a large part in the strategy for your organization or client(s).

I’ve been wanting to write about Klout for a week or so now, and why I think Klout is a good starting point for a lot of things, but in the end doesn’t mean anything. This all started for me with the infamous Wired article a few weeks ago where an executive’s job interview essentially ended after his Klout score was deemed too low. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, posts were written about how much Klout sucks and how it is making those in the PR and marketing industries lazy.

It seems there’s only two sides to be had. Either Klout is the savior we’ve all been waiting for in measuring influence or it’s a meaningless game. The truth is that it’s somewhere in between. Online influence is an important topic. Who is talking about your brand and shaping opinions about it is VERY important. That doesn’t mean that offline influence has taken a back seat and don’t mean anything though.

Speaking at conferences, writing a book, teaching a college class, client referrals, none of these are measured on Klout. Does that make them meaningless? Certainly not. Klout is pioneering a segment of PR and marketing that is critical as the digital realm becomes more important. This isn’t something that is going to be hashed out overnight, or even in the span of a few years.

That picture you see is my Klout score. It was at a 62 a few weeks ago, but has dipped as my job and personal life have demanded more attention. As I’ve spent time on several major projects, enjoying my wife’s pregnancy, searching for a new house, and the Game of Thrones series (I’m reading the books first), my time spent in the social media sphere has diminished. I have a hard time believing that I’m not influencing the world around me, and yes. I know exactly how arrogant that sounds.

Influence doesn’t mean everyone around me bends to my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. It means that others around me think I’m valuable in some way. Klout is heading in the right direction. Just don’t think it’s a non-stop flight to measurement paradise.

[recent posts]

Share on Tumblr

  • Dire que tous leurs talents ne peut pas être un sujet de scores contre l’apprentissage de confiance en soi

  • Anonymous

    The problem is, Klout doesn’t measure influence, it measures outputs.
    Klout cannot measure actions that people take as a result of your outputs. 

    Outputs != influence or outcomes or ROI. While it may be nice to have a high Klout score, measuring actions that people take as a result of your outputs is a much more accurate at determining influence.

    Your goals should not be to get re-tweets, likes, shares or mentions (which is what klout monitors). Those are outputs, those are tactics. Goals should be tied to a business performance indicator. 

    If my client asked what his return on his twitter campaign was, and I told him that his Klout Score was doing really well because of it, he would think I was insane. 

    For more on Klout, read my article on influence measurement: http://professionallysocial.com/2011/10/my-klout-is-bigger-than-your-klout-the-truth-about-influence-measurement/

    • Matt LaCasse

      Thanks for the comment, Matthew. And might I say, what a terrific name. 🙂 I couldn’t agree more with you. Klout is too easy to “game” right now. Like I said though, I do think that what Klout is TRYING to do is a good thing, and is important. It will take a very long time to perfect it, if such a thing CAN be perfected. 

      That said, I don’t ever see Klout serving as a one-stop indicator of online marketing success.

  • You can look at your Klout score every once in awhile, but there’s no need to obsess over it.  Social media works differently for each individual and business.  If the score is low, it doesn’t mean that the social strategy isn’t working or isn’t worth the effort.  

    • Matt LaCasse

      Thanks for the comment, Nick. I think that’s exactly right. Klout isn’t something to be trusted as a standalone measurement tool because it doesn’t tell the whole story. I do think it is heading in the right direction but it still has a long way to go.

  • Anonymous

    Sharp article, Matt!

    I agree – Klout scores must be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve seen my Klout score dip recently as I taught a college course, chased my now-crawling daughter all over the house and dealt with a burst of positive (but time-consuming) professional activity.

    Klout is a tool – and increasingly, it’s become an ad platform to reach targeted audiences via Perks. This is a good thing.

    But you can’t put too much concern over a number. Nobody likes to see the arrow fall, but it’s not worth losing sleep over (so you can Tweet more).

    And I find you valuable, dude!

    • Matt LaCasse

      Thanks, Mike! I’m sure mine will plummet in August when my daughter gets here and tumble even further when she starts moving.

      You’re spot on. Klout isn’t something we can ignore; but it’s something that we need to counsel our HR departments, clients, and C-Suites about. It’s kind of like GPS. A great guide, but not always displaying the most accurate and direct routes. 

  • If Klout doesn’t measure influence then how is it choosing who you’re ‘influencing’? Surely they are able to track who clicks on what you’re posting otherwise that list would be a random assortment of facebook friends or obscure twitter followers. Based on my experience it has a pretty good idea of who I’m influenced by and what sort of things I’m interested in. Although when I became influential in dinosaurs I became somewhat skeptical, haha. I agree that it isn’t the messiah we’ve been waiting for but rather a great tool that can help within a diversified approach to measuring digital impact, dare I say influence. 

    • Matt LaCasse

      Without knowing what’s in the magical Klout secret formula, I can only guess. That guess is its based on keywords, and how many replys/retweets/likes/comments you get based upon your postings. And I definitely agree, Rob. It should be viewed as a TOOL, not as a one-stop-shop.

  • I must share some evidence that Klout may be a tad over-rated.  My pal, highly influential blogger (@SpinSucks) and now author (Of “Marketing in the Round”) @GiniDietrich:twitter   posted on Twitter “OMG, @KensViews:twitter made me laugh so hard I had an asthma attack” The next day, Klout showed me as an Expert. On Asthma.  True story!

  • Klout is worth keeping an eye on.  All the naysayers on influence — yes — they are right.  But Klout is working to deliver value to brands that use them.  To me that’s interesting.  To paraphrase Matthew, I’m not interested in Klout’s outputs (i.e. scoring), I’m interested in results (driving revenue for brands).  Sooner a later there’s going to be a big case study validating or disproving what Klout does.  And it’ll be all over the web.  That’s interesting! 

  • Pingback: Why Your Klout Score Doesn’t Matter (Much) « Digitized Thoughts()

  • Pingback: Blog Posts to Read for May 24, 2012()