As the reach of social media as a marketing tool increases by leaps and bounds, many businesses are very invested in when, where and how their customers are online. Many types of metrics and analytical tools have been developed to try to estimate social media ROI. Enter Klout. Klout is a tool that measures social influence across the web. The basic premise is that the higher your Klout score, the higher your social influence. Klout primarily uses Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with other variables to determine your true social media influence or reach. But can we really measure social influence by the number of tweets or posts on Facebook? Are we really just a sum of our blogs?
Klout groups your score into three different metrics: True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Influence. All three attempt to determine how far-reaching your social influence is. True Reach looks at engagement with your followers, Amplification looks at your content after you send it out (is it ignored, retweeted) and Network Influence looks at how influential your engaged audience is.
For social media marketers, Klout is important because, simply put, they are always asked to measure things. Giving a client a tangible number to determine ROI makes everyone feel good. But is this really a good snapshot of our customers and how they are talking about, recommending and actually buying your product? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no. There is an inherent danger in relying on a single metric as a gauge of your customer’s influence. Klout is about numbers. It not only lacks emotional analysis but can also label people as influential on a subject when they are really just tweeting about personal preference or opinions. It is an incomplete picture of the customer.
As a society, we are not simply a measure of our tweets. Social Media, itself, is a conversation. An exchange of ideas and a work in progress. Klout score, while it may a useful metric, is an incomplete view of your customer in his or her entirety. It is also extremely important to remember that Social Influence is not a measure of true buying potential – turning clicks into customers, which is what all businesses strive towards. So while Klout score can be useful as a small piece of the puzzle, as a business, it is still far more important to join the conversation. Engage your client, send out valuable information and turn the potential customers in to loyal, product-endorsing, repeat customers