When really smart people start publicly deleting social media accounts a lot of their “followers” take notice and do the same.
Recently, I wrote a piece in this vein on why many Facebook Pages should be deleted, controversy ensued.
The site currently under fire by some well respected thought leaders is Klout.
I will attempt to sum up their “why I deleted my Klout profile” stance in an admittedly oversimplified way based on the many articles I have read on the topic.
There is no way to truly measure influence with an algorithm. I do not need Klout telling me my influence or giving me a score.
I, me, my, me.
I want to challenge those of you reading this to stop thinking about Klout as a way to measure your score and your influence.
In fact, let’s just assume that you did indeed delete your account and you no longer have a Klout score.
Klout has never been about you anyways.
Klout has now scored more than 100 million people, I am of the firm belief that the data they have collected is priceless to marketers.
They have analyzed data on 99,999,999 people OTHER THAN YOU. The sooner you grasp that, the sooner you will truly understand the beauty of Klout.
This is data that can help your marketing messages spread exponentially when used properly (below I will outline specific examples and tools for making this happen starting today).
Here is what bothers me the most about the recent Klout backlash.
As opposed to teaching people how to leverage this unique opportunity to market to influencers online who can potentially help a business tremendously, instead, those with reach, respect and the most listened to voices are using their influence to advocate that accounts be deleted.
Is it because of the inaccuracy of their algorithm?
They are a lot better at what they do than anyone is giving them credit for and there is not a close second in the social media scoring space. Do you actually think that social media success, much like the way Google scores the success of websites with Page Rank, is going to go away?
Klout can be gamed you say?
So can Facebook, Twitter, Google, WordPress, the IRS and your spouse. To put this concern in perspective, even if 5% of the people with a Klout profile are gaming the system, 95 million people are not.
Klout is evil and it makes us behave in unnatural ways just to increase our score?
Again, why would YOU care about this if it isn’t affecting YOUR behavior.
A message to those of you who make non genuine decisions with your social media messages (think Facebook status updates like Regular Coke or Diet Coke?) specifically in order to raise your Klout scores:
You are hurting your business and reputation tremendously, as Gary Vaynerchuk so eloquently puts it, “People’s bullshit meters are at an all time high”.
For more as to why I feel putting out fluff in an attempt to get more comments and engagement, thus increase your Klout score, is a terrible decision. I highly recommend that you check out a book entitled “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.
What I am focused on in regards to Klout, as you should be, is whether or not they can do one thing; accurately determine the likelihood that a message will be spread through the social media channels.
In my opinion, they measure that one thing very well.
By the way, it is all they have ever claimed they do.
Klout never said they measure whether you make a lot of money or not.
Klout never said they measure whether you are a good person.
Klout never said they measure whether or not you are influential and successful offline.
Klout measures influence online. Period.
While online influence may not be the most important metric to the bottom dollar of your business today, I think it is fair to say that moving forward your online reach will directly correlate to your businesses revenue generated.
Here is one example of Klout in action with hard data from the automotive industry:
“Klout invited 217 influencers with high Klout scores in design, luxury, tech and autos to test-drive the new Audi A8. These influencers sparked 3,500 tweets, reaching over 3.1 million people in less than 30 days – a multiplier effect of over 14,000x. (at no hard dollar cost)” – TechCrunch
Do you honestly think that had Audi randomly selected 217 people the results would have been the same?
Properly using Klout is not about your score getting you Perks, it’s about extending the reach of your marketing for your business.
The Klout API will soon be everywhere.
Take a look below at how Klout is integrated into HootSuite. With billions of tweets populating the web the ability to filter based on reach of the Twitter user is tremendous. In this example HootSuite would be able to pinpoint anyone mentioning their brand, with a Klout score over 51. Is this evil for a company to do? I am not suggesting to ONLY engage and respond to those with high Klout scores but let’s be honest, you have to start somewhere.
Another powerful example of the Klout API at use is the way it is now being pulled into CRM tools like Wise Agent. Think of having the ability to look at your book of business and immediately identify the contacts with the greatest online influence. Again, call them all, but to me this starts to become common sense if you are calling in an attempt to help grow your business you should call the most connected people in your database.
You probably already know who the offline influencers in your sphere of influence are, I would encourage you to send them nice things and call them regularly. Now with the Klout API built into a CRM, you can also identify who can offer you the most help online.
Everything I have mentioned can be done whether YOU have a Klout profile or not.
Should we challenge and discuss the validity of Klout? Absolutely.
Should we push for them to improve their algorithm? Of course.
Should YOU delete your Klout score and forget that the service exists? Absolutely not.
When you walk by a restaurant in New York City there is a big fat grade in the window. The grade is based on one specific aspect of that business, their ability to be in line with the city health code. When you see a C in the window of a restaurant it is not indicating that the food tastes bad (Zagat does that), it is not indicating that their service sucks (Yelp does that) and it is certainly not judging whether the person who owns the place has good morals (God does that).
In the end though, doesn’t that C in the window directly impact how many times the cash register rings?
To dismiss what Klout is doing, delete your account as if it were not a valid metric and ignore the value they offer to the marketing world would be akin to ignoring that you have a C in the window of your restaurant.
I welcome your thoughts below.
Jeff Turner – Why I Deleted My Klout Profile
Gahlord Dewald – Klout Score: Another ‘vanity metric’
John Scalzi – Why Klout scores are possibly evil
Chris Nichols – Dear Klout, We’re through… It’s not me… It’s You
Pam Moore – Why I Deleted My Klout Profile