April 23, 2014

Do you have Klout?!

My Klout home page - with my score, influence network, influential topics and more...

If you “have clout”, then this usually means you have influence over people. You are someone revered, or even feared, such as a strong politician might be, or high ranking business person.

Be not surprised therefore that the web has a version (spelt ‘Klout’) that can measure your influence online. Indeed, it even measures it out of 100 – your ‘klout score’. I went to a presentation in San Francisco recently where the MC proudly boasted his Klout of 73.

Mine is 50 by the way, in case you’re wondering :)

So what? I hear you scream. Isn’t this is all technie nonsense and narcissistic rubbish? (Maybe.)

Stay with me on this. Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, 2000) examined why some ideas, products and events take off (pass the “tipping point”) and others don’t. One of the key ingredients of something that “tips” is to have influential people (“connectors”) who “link us up with the world”. These people have a special gift of bringing the world together. They are a handful of people who “have the knack for making friends and acquaintances”. Good networkers, I suppose we would call them.

Another essential element in this process are what Gladwell called the “mavens” – those folks we “rely on to connect us with new information”. They accumulate knowledge and love to share it. They can’t help themselves.

Over 10 years after the Tipping Point came out, we are now five years into the social media revolution, and information is being spread like never before over social networking sites (also collectively known as ‘social media’). A billion people are on Facebook, half go everyday (some all day). A million people are on Facebook in WA. On there you will find mavens and connectors like you wouldn’t believe. They connect, they share, they pass on, but crucially, to people like you and me that tend to watch and chip in every now and again, they are instrumental in connecting us to the information we want and passing it forward.

For anyone in a business development role (such as a real estate agent), these people are critical as they will pass on your information to hundreds and maybe thousands of others. Having enough mavens and connectors on your Facebook business or community page, following your twitter stream and reading your blog is crucial to your success online. Without them, you are talking to few people in a near empty room.

So, how do you find these people? They have one thing in common – a high Klout score.

Klout.com is a free service, and when you sign up to it, you can link in your Facebook page, Twitter account, Google+, Foursquare, LinkeIn, Youtube, Tumblr, Flickr, WordPress or Blogger blog… you get the picture. It then analyses your posts and influences across these networks and its ‘secret sauce’ calculates your Klout score out of 100.

The more your tweets are retweeted by others, the higher your Klout score. The more your posts are commented upon and shared, up goes your Klout score. In other words, the more evidence Klout collects about your influence others, the higher your Klout score becomes. It’s not a perfect science by any means, but it’s what we’ve got at the moment.

Klout.com even shows you how many people you are influencing, what their scores are, what your ‘true reach’ is, and draws groovy graphs so you can track your effectiveness online.

Apart from feeling good about yourself, and massaging your ego with a nice Klout score, what is the point?

Well, if the Tipping Point concept has merit, then your message online will have much more effect the more high scoring Klouters are out there carrying forward your messages, and so spreading it to others. Remember that 90% of people believe personal recommendations (only 14% believe advertising messages these days) so getting your branding message, profile, services, properties, new jobs, out there will depend greatly on the power of those that can connect you to the marketplace.

Virgin Airlines actively seek out people with high Klout scores, and invite them onto their planes for a free, red carpet day out, champagne flowing, when they want to promote a new route or a new service. It’s much cheaper (and far more effective) getting “those with Klout” to promote on your behalf. These guys have thousands reading their blog posts, and thousands more on their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and such.

It has been calculated that your “tweet half life” (half the time it takes for a message on twitter to be read no longer) dramatically increases the higher your Klout score is. A Klout of 40 would mean your tweet’s ‘half-life’ is no more than 5 minutes, whereas a Klout of 70 would mean your tweets are read and retweeted and spread around for an average of 25 minutes.  Klout of 85 and half-life jumps to an amazing 5 hours 35 minutes. Imagine having these guys pass on your messages. (Source: Mashable, 4th Nov 2011)

Rather than post your listings out on your own Facebook page, get your owners to do this on your behalf (naming you and your company in the post of course).

Go on twitter and acknowledge those that follow you, follow those back that make sense, and actively draw in as many connectors and mavens as you can find.

Finding those Mavens and Connectors on Klout

Once inside Klout, you can view your ‘top influencers’. In my case I have 790 people that I influence, the highest Klout scores being Nicole Nikolay (K=61, social media expert in US), Peter Brewer (K=60, Professionals’ social media expert, based in Qld) and then our very own David Willis (K=58, real estate agent and sales coach from Bunbury) and Peter Fletcher (K=54, REIWA’s social media contractor). I have met these four people, but I don’t know everyone they in turn influence. Many people hang off their messages, so if I want my message to get out, then engaging Nik, David, the two Peters and others pass it on really helps me.

If I want to find out more about David Willis (and who doesn’t?!), I click on his name and it pulls up David’s Klout profile. I can see what networks he is on and can then “give him some Klout” by clicking on one of the influential about buttons.

I can also quickly find influential people ranked by score that have similar interests to David. By just mousing over the icons, I can tell if they might be an interesting addition to my Twitter followings.

It’s the new marketing. Say good bye to the old. Get some Klout in your life!

OVERVIEW of Klout

  • Klout (www.klout.com) is company based in San Francisco, California, that provides a way to measure a user’s influence online. The analysis is done on data taken from social media sites and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content. 
  • The ‘Klout score’ ranges from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence.
  • ‘True Reach’ (the size of one’s engaged audience) is calculated by the number of followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages.
  • ‘Amplification Score’ is the likelihood that one’s messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments).
  • ‘Network score’ indicates how influential your audience is.
  • The accuracy of Klout Score has been questioned several times by different researchers however Klout Score is being used by most social media marketers as a barometer of influence.
  • In September 2011, Klout calculated a Klout score for its 100 millionth person.
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About Charlie Gunningham

Charlie was the Manager of reiwa.com, REIWA's main web site and one of Western Australia's major real estate portals, between 2010 and 2013. Charlie has 12 years' experience in the online real estate industry, having coFounded and run aussiehome.com (a niche real estate portal business) in 1999. aussiehome.com was acquired by REIWA in 2010.