If you’re into social media, you’re likely familiar with Klout. Klout attempts to measure social influence online by analyzing True Reach (number of people you influence), Amplification (how much you influence these people), and Network Impact (the influence of your network). Using an algorithm, their analysis assigns a score of 1 to 100, giving you the ability to compare your social influence to others. You can also see topical areas of influence.
Having worked in market research for many years, I find their behind-the-scenes metrics and analysis fascinating. In a way, it’s a great combination of what I enjoy professionally: marketing + market research + data analysis + social media. That’s why I love Klout (the occasional perks don’t hurt either!).
Recently, Klout changed their algorithm in an effort to more accurately reflect true reach. Most people saw their Klout score drop (some significantly so). Mine dropped, but that’s not my problem with Klout. If you’re doing social media correctly, a Klout score shouldn’t be of much importance to most people.
While I’m not privy to their algorithm, I believe there may be a big flaw in their analysis. LinkedIn is a major component of most people’s social media usage. Yet, to what extent does it analyze your LinkedIn profile? Specifically:
- Does Klout recognize the actual number of connections that I have, or does it just see “500+”? There’s a big difference between having a network of 500 and having a network of 1,200!
- Does Klout recognize the groups I belong to and/or manage, and the frequency with which I interact in those groups? Is it all groups (and subgroups), or just open/public groups? Is it only groups that are displayed on my profile or all groups?
- Does Klout recognize Q&A interaction?
- Does Klout recognize interactions with comments and “likes” on updates with connections?
- Does Klout consider events I’ve created and the interest/attendance level indicated as well as comments and views?
I have similar questions with how Klout interacts with Facebook, given your privacy settings and those of your connections too. Twitter is pretty open, so that seems more straight-forward. I’m not so much concerned with what my score is, or how it’s trending. But as someone with a 20-year career in market research, I am concerned with the accuracy of what they’re measuring.
While I don’t expect Klout to fully disclose their secret formula, depending on how they analyze LinkedIn and Facebook, all 3 components that comprise their Klout Score would be impacted. I’ve asked them, both through a public blog comment
and more than one email. I’ll share their response if
I hear from them. Sadly, I must not have enough Klout because I’ve been waiting for nearly a month to receive an answer. Perhaps that will be a future Perk they’ll offer. 😉
Besides a lack of transparency, that’s not the best customer service experience. So what are your thoughts on Klout? Do you find their lack of transparency frustrating?