16th May 2012, by Jack Layer
Today, I broke the 50-point barrier on Klout.
If that means anything to you, then you may be jealous of my score or you may look down from a 70-plus position and remember those lowly days as a fifty. Or, you may have no idea what I’m on about and be rather glad that you don’t. Unfortunately for you, I’m going to explain a little bit about Klout, what it means and why you should care – maybe.
Klout is a website that measures your social media influence on a scale from 1 to 100. It measures your personal social media data: how many people follow you, frequency of tweets, retweets, likes, comments etc., all building a score that represents how influential you are and how much you and your opinions are being heard.
At first glance, Klout seems harmless - an amusing pub conversation or a light-hearted colleague competition - but if I told you that companies in the US now take Klout into account when recruiting, you may think twice. Luckily there is no word of this happening over here, but bear in mind that if your Klout score is low, it may count against you in the future. Of course, holes are easy to blow in this concept: Justin Bieber (of haircut and teeny-bop fame) has a perfect Klout score of 100, whereas Barack Obama (of US President and Hope fame) has 91. So, according to Klout, Bieber is more influential in social media than Obama - which is fine, as long as Obama is more influential in everything else.
Whilst there are problems in the idea, and the benefits of taking into account social media influence when hiring are questionable, there is no doubt measurement of this type is here to stay. Data, when it comes to marketing and advertising, is king. If you were able to target your product, service or idea at consumers who are measurably more influential than others, you would. Indeed, Klout regularly offers users with high scores perks such as free subscriptions, discounts and offers. As a user with 50 points, I’m entitled to…pretty much nothing, because it’s all based in the US. UK users have been much slower on the uptake than our American cousins, perhaps because we’re not so keen to rate each other publicly, as it doesn’t quite fit our British sensibilities. Indeed, Klout is public and proud of it: you can see the Klout of all of your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, Google+ circle and more. So, even if you don’t know what your Klout score is, chances are one of your friends does.
For businesses, the commercial application of this data is still young and relatively unexploited. Brands are beginning to recognise Klout as a social platform in itself, encouraging high-scoring brand evangelists to spread the word in return for freebies. So keep your eye out for more of this thing coming to the surface, as social media continues to grow in influence (and marketing spend).
Following Andy’s very popular SEO – The Fundamentals article back in July, I thought it might be worth writing about some of the relatively recent changes to Google’s algorithm (the factors it uses to rank websites), how this affects SEO as a practice and the new ranking factors that you need to be aware of.
I would bet a Toffee Crisp that almost everybody on the planet has heard of the best-selling erotic novel by E L James – ’Fifty Shades of Grey’. There has been a $5 million movie deal signed with Universal, plans for a clothing and underwear range, tie-ins to numerous brands ranging from cosmetics to bathroom appliances, and even ’Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album’ to be released through EMI Music next month. Yet this time last year, E L James was an unknown author and the ’Fifty Shades’ trilogy had a loose existence on a Twilight fan fiction forum. With no marketing or PR to speak of, how exactly did E L James manage to turn her vampire fantasies into a $1.34 million-a-week cheque?