Love it or hate it, Klout is a big talking point these days. The self proclaimed “standard for social influence” has had a tremendous impact on social media. Companies have started to take it into account when reviewing potential new hires, and it has many businesses excited for the chance to buy word of mouth marketing with Klout Perks. Many people I know check their score multiple times a day, fretting and fussing over every small deviation.
Taking a step back, it’s important to look at Klout in a more objective light. The algorithm is not public, and it changes frequently. If the “standard of influence” is so arbitrary, why even bother with it at all? Although it might not be a great method for determining one’s online influence, there are many things that it can do very well. Here are some of the ways I’ve found to use it:
1) Use Klout to Identify Influential People in Niche Areas:
Klout’s topic page is basically an aggregation of your most engaging social media keywords. In plain English, it looks at what you say on your social media profiles and finds the words people respond to the most. On top of that, people can personally vouch for your expertise by giving you “+K”. I’ve had great success using Klout topics to find people in niche areas, since it tracks engagement and not frequency. What would soon be lost in the torrential flood of a twitter search is easily found through Klout topics. It’s really good at cutting through the clutter and finding the people you are looking for. I’ve found this particularly useful for finding people who are influential about Apple devices, since any Mac-related twitter search yields an endless flood of spam, peddled by a hoard of grammatically impaired eggs.
2) It Can Help Spot Bot Accounts:
Klout is by no means the gold standard for determining when to follow someone, but it can help separate the bots from real accounts. If you use Firefox, you can download their handy little Klout Plugin so it displays a users score right next to their name inside Twitter.com. When I was getting started with twitter, I was not the best at spotting dummy accounts, since I judged most profiles by the number of followers they had. You can spot these accounts pretty quickly using Klout. Of course this is no substitute for going through and checking out each new follower’s tweets, but if you are pressed for time Klout can be a handy shortcut.
3) Klout Perks are Strangely Addictive:
I know what you’re going to say: “Those things are so stupid!” “Why would anyone care about winning hair gel or flavored water?” I said the same thing myself, until I got my free sample of hair gel in the mail. No matter what anyone says, winning stuff is awesome. It’s awesome enough for me to check Klout’s perks with a frequency that could be considered compulsive behavior by the medical community. While I’ve been fairly fortunate in the world of Klout Perks, there are others who have taken it to another level. My friend, @SimonBangs, in addition to winning all the Perks I have received, won an umbrella, a book on advertising, and a $25 dollar American Express card. I might even be forgetting some of the them, there have been so many. If Klout keeps adding perks at a consistent rate, this could be the go to place for cheapskates like myself for a long time to come.
I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ways to get more out of Klout. If you have any of your own, let me know in the comments. I’ll even give +K in social media and popcorn to the best suggestions.
Mr. David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.