Tool Review #4: Klout

Throw out your dog-eared copy of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie – in this technological day and age, that’s not going to help you in determining your online influence.

Whether you’re subscribing to the concept of online popularity or not, it is definitely picking up momentum amongst online communities. The latest digital buzzword is ‘Klout,’ and it is an application that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence. Currently, there are over 100 million people who have subscribed to this

Klout works by measuring your influence across five networks via:

  • Twitter: Retweets and Mentions
  • Facebook: Comments, Wall-Posts, Likes
  • Google+: Comments, Reshares, +1
  • LinkedIn: Comments, Likes
  • Foursquare: Tips – Todo’s and Tips – Done

By connecting to these accounts through your Klout, you can meaningfully assess how influential – positively and negatively – you, your colleagues, your boss, or friends are online.

Three benefits of using Klout

  1. Your Klout score is not evaluated by how famous or rich you are in an offline setting. In other words, you could be more influential than Oprah Winfrey if your content is shared by enough people.
  2. Headhunters and PR professionals will find Klout extremely useful as it can be a useful tool in knowing which users are influential in specific industries.
  3. You stay in the loop as Klout lists topics that are currently highly talked about in your network.

Three limitations of using Klout

  1. While Klout doesn’t sell its data, it matches brands with movers and shakers according to their areas of ‘influence’ through a Perks program that offers free products.
  2. Companies may make decisions based purely on one metric, which is unfortunate if you are one of the best PR managers in your area but your score is a paltry 35.
  3. To put it bluntly, there is argument that Klout doesn’t really measure anything, and numbers are ‘plucked from the air.’

Final thought?

Measuring your weight online seems like a good idea, but Klout still has a long way to go from being used as a reputable source to select the right people for the job. However, if you take it with a grain of salt, it can be a great way to find out how much sway you have in the online world.

Have you used Klout? Do you think it has given you an insight into how influential your peers are online? Let us know in the comments section below!

Rating: 7/10

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