You may have heard references to Klout scores, Kred influencers, and similar metrics for measuring digital influence. It was inevitable given how important social media has become in our daily lives that we would find a way to quantify that influence – and even move in the direction of monetizing it.
Perhaps the best analogy for a Klout score is a FICO credit score. A credit score, as you probably know, is a complex algorithm that different agencies like Experian and TransUnion use to measure how credit worthy you are. They use a variety of factors like your income, your previous credit history, whether you’ve ever been late on bills, and more to predict future patterns of spending. This is used when you’re taking a mortgage, getting a car loan, or opening a new credit card.
Nobody knows exactly what the combination of factors is and how they are weighted, but many speculate on the specifics. It goes without saying that a credit score has an impact on a vast part of your life.
Klout, Kred, and about 20 other startups now exist to take a similar analytical look at the reach, value, and influence of your social networks. They do this by measuring a set of factors that range from the numbers of followers you have, to the quality of friends and followers (those people’s score), to the frequency with which you post, to how focused your posts are (on a single topic or topics), to how much engagement you get. The weighting of these factors is proprietary but in general they holistically measure one thing: how likely are you to be able to “influence” your audience.
On the surface, while a Klout score sounds “interesting,” the sense of it having any real world value is limited. What it represents has value, but it’s a proxy for that thing. Yet more and more reports are popping up – companies and marketers using Klout scores to grant “perks” like free products and exclusive experiences. Recruiters for positions are now asking for or looking at a candidate’s Klout score, as a basis of how much influence they wield in their industry.
As an individual entrepreneur or executive, your Klout score has an impact – people are looking at it and how they perceive you can be affected by it. The next natural question is – can you raise your Klout score (or similar scores)? Absolutely. Here are a few strategies:
Whatever you’re feeling about Klout scores and the practice of measuring your digital influence, it is happening. The important parts are to understand how it can in turn influence your life, and knowing that if you want to take steps to improve your scores, it’s easy to do.