An Introduction to Klout and How It Helps to Measure Your Industry Influence

In my last Blog Article, I talked about using a cool iPad app called Zite to keep myself very informed about the topic I am trying to influence. It this article I am going to talk about how to not only measure that influence, but quickly increase the score and your influence on a topic. There are several sites out there that measure influence, but probably the most well-known is Klout.

Klout was launched in 2009 by Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran and it is an interesting service. The service monitors Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In and then uses 35 different metrics to measure influence. I saw an interview with Joe that said they were going to expand this to over 45 other services including Yelp, Foursquare, YouTube, Flickr, Stumbleupon, and Delicious this summer. I liked the idea, so I decided to really focus my Twitter efforts for 30 days and see if I could quickly drive up my Klout Score. The short answer was “absolutely”. I was able to dramatically increase my scores and it allowed me to not only understand what was going on, but why it was going on. The Klout Score tries to provide a metric of how you interact with people: who you engage with, who you engage, how often you engage, and how often they interact with your content. The score ranges from 1-100.  These are some of the things that Klout measures:

  • How many people follow you?
  • How many people that you follow, follow you back?
  • How influential are the people that follow you?
  • How often you tweet?
  • How often are you retweeted?
  • How often are you @mentioned?
  • How influential are the people that engage in your content, i.e. Retweet or @mention?
  • How far is a tweet implied in the network, i.e. is it retweeted by friends of friends of friends?
  • Are you on list?How many people follow those list?

It is actually pretty comprehensive and pretty smart about the way it does this. But your Klout Score is actually a compilation of 3 underlying scores. This first is your True Reach.

True Reach is the number of followers that you are able to engage with and influence. It is pretty smart about the way it does this and eliminates any known spammers or inactive accounts. The algorithms determines which people were most likely to see your tweet, how many retweeted it, and/or @mentioned it. True Reach is based on these metrics:

  • Do people like your tweets and are they interesting enough to build an audience?
  • When you tweet, how far is it amplified on the network?
  • Are people adding you to list and who is following those list?
  • How many people did you have to follow to build your count of followers?
  • How often do people follow you when you follow them?

Amplification measures the likely hood that people will interact with your content, i.e. how often it is retweeted, you are @mentioned, or someone on Facebook likes your post. It essentially measures your ability to create an interesting conversation. To drive this, you must make content that compels others to respond and then drive the conversation into the network beyond your own social graph.

  • Amplification is a composite score of the following:
  • How diverse is the group that @messages you?
  • Are you broadcasting or participating in conversations?
  • How likely are you to be retweeted?
  • Do a lot of people retweet you or is it always the same few followers?
  • Are you tweeting too little or too much for your audience?
  • Are your tweets effect in generating new followers, retweets, and @replies?

Network Influence is the level of influence you have on your audience.  The influence is again measure by engagements such as retweets, @messages, follows, lists, comments, and likes. When your followers, or their network, complete one of these actions they are essentially validating your authority and the quality of your content. Network Influence not only determines how many people engaged with your content, but who they were and what was their level on influence.  If a top thought leader retweets your message to his 10 million users, it is more influential than if your mother retweeted it to her 5 followers that were all her kids.

These are the factors that make up your Network Influence:

  • How influential are the people who @message you?
  • How influential are the people who retweet you?
  • How influential are the people that follow you?
  • How influential are the people who list you?
  • How influential are the people who follow the lists you are on?

So, how did my little 30 day experiment go?

Actually quite well.  The things I did clearly did effect my industry influence. I greatly grew the number of followers, but more importantly the followers were important people in the area I was trying to influence. I greatly increased the number of retweets and the retweets were amplified significantly more than there were before. Finally, I now have a handle on my Klout Score and understand what I can do to even further increase my score.

Next week, I am going to write a third article about what I did, what the results were, and what I learned. I am also going to talk about what I am going to do next month to increase it even more. I am also going to go over some other tools I am using and some recommendations for the Klout team.

If you have any “secret sauce” for increasing your Klout Score or just your industry influence, let me know in the comments below.

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