Have you ever used Klout? I’d never heard of it until I attended a social media workshop, and was put through the humiliation of setting up an account and announcing my score to everyone. I got 10 and thought that was utterly brilliant … until I realised it was out of 100! Well, be fair, I’d only just dipped my toe into the deep waters of social media. I’d set up some accounts but hadn’t started using them yet. I promptly ignored Klout and all it stood for. But now, a year later, I’ve recovered from the shock and I’m having another look.

klout-logoA measure of your social media reach

The purpose of Klout is to measure your overall online influence. Companies like this have sprung up because so many people purchase followers, making it hard to know how much influence a person actually has. You can have thousands of followers, but it’s how engaged they are that matters.

Klout uses a complex formula to determine your real social media reach. You can link it to your networks such as facebook, twitter, linkedin, instagram etc and authorise it to use them. It will keep track of your posts and see who you follow.

klout matrixI checked my Klout score again and it’s now a respectable 42. (About the same as Stephen Fry’s Cat, but we won’t go into that …) If you click on the ‘measure’ tab, a nifty little graph with your 90 day score history appears. You can also look at your recent activity. Each post, tweet etc is assigned an impact score.

Further uses

You can tell Klout what you want to be known for – I picked writing. It then gives you suggestions on who you can follow, along with their Klout rating. The program also enables you to identify online content that your audience is interested in, and then share it through your networks.

The downside

You can check out other people’s Klout score, via the search function. It’s yet another form of social voyeurism! I’ve heard of people being turned down for jobs because their Klout score was lower than that of other applicants. It makes me shudder … I guess it depends on the type of job they applied for, but still!

Should writers bother?

Unfortunately, Klout scores give us writers something else to obsess about. Those little graphs are mesmerising and often depressing. They also provide yet another procrastination tool, allowing us to pretend we’re hard at work when we’d be much better off writing.

I think Klout’s handy, insofar as it gives us an insight into what’s working social media-wise and what isn’t. I also like the way it can identify good content to share. But, like most things, it needs to be kept in perspective and not become a time-sucking typhoon.

I just hope it’s not being used as a measure of a writers’ talent, or even their ability to engage with readers. When I get lost in a good book, I don’t give a toss about the author’s Klout score!

I wonder whether publishers check out a potential author’s Klout score, and take it into account when deciding to offer a contract. I know they expect us to have a social media presence, but do they go this far? Does anyone know? If so, please share in the comments box!

Photo credit: La Fabrique de Blogs / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)



12 thoughts on “What’s your Klout?

  1. Ali Stegert says:

    Thanks for this helpful article, Stella. I’d heard about Klout but hadn’t got around to checking it out.

    1. Stella says:

      Glad it helped, Ali.

  2. Aw Stella… reading this post, I felt kinda queasy!
    I didn’t realise there are so many ways for publishers to find out I’m a social media hermit!!!
    I’d probably end up with a Klout score of 3 but I’m too scared to find out for sure!!
    Thanks for the great post, Stella. I’ll go stick my head in a book now…

    1. Stella says:

      It’s a bit scary, isn’t it! Hopefully good writing is still what matters most. Think I’ll join you in that book …

  3. Could having a really high Klout result be a deterant to being published (asks she who may not even score a “1”)? I mean, why would your readers pay for your book if they can mainline you (through your blogging apparatus) for free? I see a vicious cycle hear. Get a high score by posting good material, get a high score, withhold the good stuff in hopes of increased sales, Klout decreases, add value content to blog, add value to Klout, reduce value content to blog, Klout value falls etc.. How many blogs, FB pages etc. start out great, the bait is on the hook but fail to reel in the fish because they don’t keep the line in the water?

    1. Stella says:

      You’ve made me dizzy! I see your point, but the simple answer is – don’t reproduce your book on social media!!

      1. That makes sense. Thanks again for the good advice, 🙂

  4. mblaylock4 says:

    Once again, Stella, you are a wealth of information. I’ve never heard of Klout, but I just checked my Klout score and it’s currently 60. Which I suppose means all of my tweeting, blogging, and posting must be paying off, but hot damn is it exhausting. So now the question becomes – if I allow it – do I try to increase my Klout score or maintain at this respectable level? Honestly, I really don’t know. What I do know is that chapter twenty of the finale of The Sanctum is screaming at me to get back at it, so off I go, back to my manuscript. Cheers!

    1. Stella says:

      Wow, 60! That’s got to be high enough. Back to the Sanctum, me thinks!

  5. I didn’t know the Klout, only the Apple Cloud! I will check my score and will let you know! So many new tools to add pressure, right?

    1. Stella says:

      I didn’t know about Apple Cloud. Yes, there are many new ways to feel inadequate! Speaking of which, I’ve set up my Goodreads author account … whenever you feel inclined …

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