I’m happy to report that my Klout has grown 430% since I first began monitoring it in October 2011. Clearly, I’m an influential guy.
Klout is an application that purports to measure how influential I am in the world of social media. It’s based on the two-step theory of mass communication. In step one, a mass marketing campaign influences a relatively small number of people. Let’s call them the target audience. In step two, members of the target audience reach out to their social circles and influence them.
Let’s say you’re trying to recruit volunteers to work for a political party. You launch a massive advertising campaign. A lot of people see the campaign but only a few are moved to action. These people, however, through their web of friendships and acquaintances, can move a much larger number of people.
Unfortunately, you pay for the total number of people who see the campaign, not the (much smaller) number of influential people. Wouldn’t it be nice if you only paid for reaching influential people? The question is: how do you find them?
That’s where Klout comes in. Klout measures my impact in social media. It tracks what I do on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and a few others. It notes how many followers and friends I have. It also tracks my impact. It’s good to have a large number of followers and friends. It’s even better when those followers “like” my posts, forward my articles, and re-tweet my tweets.
The result of all this counting and measuring is a Klout score that ranges between zero and 100. The higher the score, the more influential you are. The higher the score, the more valuable you are to advertisers.
Remember that we’re talking about social media here – not influence in the real world. Thus, it’s not too surprising that Justin Bieber’s Klout score is 100 whereas Barack Obama’s is 88. President Obama can move people. Bieber can move merchandise.
Klout doesn’t “sell” high scoring individuals to advertisers. It’s a bit more subtle. It uses “perks” to attract people to sign up and to link them marketers.
When I first registered with Klout, my score was 10. That’s pathetic and no advertiser wanted to connect with me. As I’ve built my social media empire, my Klout score has risen to a much more respectable 53.
Now advertisers are interested in me. They want to give me “perks” that will keep their products at the top of my mind. In fact, I just cashed in a perk and received a free subscription to Red Bulletin, a splashy magazine published by the energy drink, Red Bull.
The makers of Red Bull seem to believe that, if I read Red Bulletin, I will exercise my massive influence and cause my circle of social media friends to drink more Red Bull. I’m not sure that’s going to happen. By and large, the people I influence are just not in the Red Bull demographic. Perhaps the makers of Geritol would be better served by “perking” me.
I’m going to keep track of my Klout score largely because I use it in my marketing classes. I’ll report on it every now and then. I hope you’ll help me keep my Klout score high by “liking” my posts and re-tweeting my tweets. Of course, you could also buy some Red Bull.