Some of you have heard of Klout, a website and app that measures social media activity and ranks social influence. This is not another social media platform, I promise you. This is something you can set up that gives others an indication of the reach and effectiveness of your current social media efforts. And by others, I mean agents, editors, employers, etc.
Klout is not a beast you have to keep feeding, unless you want to. Some people set it up and never visit again. Others browse the Perks and use the "give Klout +K" feature with abandon. This post sums up some key points and how-to that I shared with Laura Drake when I got her set up last year.
p.s. Laura is now rocking Klout! It should be noted, she spends less time on social media than I do, and has a higher Klout score. [Bitch.]
Klout isn't about how much time you spend on social media, it's about the engagement that happens with your stuff and how much influence you have. For example, if I post 50 Facebook updates, but no one clicks, comments or shares them, and Laura posts three that get shared to pieces, her "engagement" is higher and her Klout score will go up. It's about quality, not quantity.
That photo at the top of the post is a snip of the navigation pane from my own Klout screen and there are some items there you need to pay attention to if you decide to get set up on Klout.
This is your "home" screen. You start here when you open the app, and Klout provides suggestions for content you might like to share. During your set-up, Klout asks you what topic you'd like to be influential in, then gives you suggestions from top influencers. You can share from here, or do nothing with it. I haven't notice either choice having much effect on my Klout.
This allows you to "pick your topics." I recommend that you do. If you let Klout choose, it might say you're influential in some bizarre topic like cookies, based on the Facebook update you put up the last time you had late-night cravings. If a topic has gotten tons of play, Klout will think it's an influential one for you. So if you want to be known for writing or humor or romance, go to "Create" and search those topics out. Otherwise, you're going to be stuck with things like cookies and chocolate and cats.
Giving you the opportunity to share content from Klout is their way of "throwing you some social media help." I don't often use this - I have my own stuff to share. But if you're new or not sure what to share, Klout's trying to make your life easier by giving you the best dates, times and content for sharing.
This is where you can drive yourself insane if you don't watch it. Klout gives you your score and shows which platforms had the most influence. I told Laura to pick the three she spent the most time on to start. If that's WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, fine. If Pinterest and LinkedIn are your happy places, pick those. If you spend more time on social media for a while, or get better engagement, your score will go up. If you're absent for a while, it will likely go down.
Try not to watch this like you do with Amazon rankings. Above all, don't worry about it if your Klout score takes a while to perk up. Just know that a score over 50 is just fine.
Barack Obama's Klout is 99 and he's only really on Twitter. You're no Barack Obama on the influence scale, so 50+ is just peachy. If you're over 60, you're rocking social media. Stop worrying.
Also on this page, you can see which networks are contributing the most to your score. My favorite part of this screen is being able to see which topics and updates are gaining you the most ground. In other words, you can see what's working. Above is the graph, below is what's driving those numbers.
At the very bottom of your Klout screen are the Perks and your settings, in case you'd like to add some networks, or change your information. Some of the perks are very cool and it's up to you if you want to take advantage of them. I rarely do because I rarely go into the app. Plus, just like Facebook and Twitter, you must remember: When software or products are free, it's because you're the product.
Klout is happy to measure your effectiveness. In return, they'd appreciate it if you used that effectiveness to promote those perky products.
What do I use Klout for?
I use Google Chrome for my browser and I have the Klout add-in installed. I do this for a specific reason: When I'm browsing in Twitter or in a dashboard like Hootsuite, looking for sources for articles and such, I want to see who has the most influence. If I have two sources in front of me and one has a Klout Score of 42 and the other is 65, guess who I'm using for my source?
Klout has been especially helpful when I'm looking for people "on the ground" to interview for breaking news stories, or disasters. I can run a search for a specific hashtag and then comb through based on Klout. I get my sources faster and that makes me happy.
Below is what it looks like in Twitter.
Do you see that wide swing in scores? Below is another screen snip, but for Breaking News.
When it comes to freelance writing and interviewing, Klout has been a godsend for me. Some writers praise it to the heavens when they queried for agents. I've heard of several agents telling their clients to raise their score, while others say their agents could give a rip about their Klout.
In the end, it's always about the quality of our work. However, if we're spending time "building a social media platform," it sure is nice to have a place where we can look to see whether we're gaining any influence.
Do you use Klout? Do you have any other questions for me? Ask me down in the comments!
Announcement: My last techie post was about Microsoft's Sway and using it to create quick book trailers. I don't believe I gave away the Sway I promised, so I'm giving away TWO to make up for the delay. The two lucky winners are Candice Colt and Bibi Belford. I'll send you ladies a reminder through your blog comment email. If not, be sure to put your email down in the comments for me.
Happy Friday, y'all!
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About Jenny Hansen
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes news articles, humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18+ years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.