I have never been a fan of Klout although I do understand it serves a purpose for those who want to tell others they are influential. Yes I know some people might not want to read or hear about my main issue of Klout claiming to measure influence. There are so many ways of getting an idea of the influence someone might have. Can we precisely measure influence?
I see influence more as an idea of what people can make others do out of their own will. Some influencers are more aligned to move the masses and others that are able to make key people take action.
Is it Possible to Have Influence Online & Not in the Real World?
Being influential online is aligned with being influential in the real world. Maybe that is what Klout is measuring. Online influence to a certain degree based on algorithyms that count tweets and actions a user takes. The problem is that Klout measures limited actions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
If you are someone that is mentioned in a blog is that person influential?
I have read many times how klout and many of these other tools are not able to measure when someone like my friend @chrisbrogan gets mentioned in a blog or any of his efforts get mentioned in other blogs. Or even a better example let’s say @chrisbrogan mentions you on his blog that means you had some sort of influence over @chrisbrogan.
The action that @chrisbrogan mentioned you, your brand, or services determines your influence on @chrisbrogan’s community. I can say 90% of the books I read and software I buy are because Chris recommended it.
Klout is also missing the ability to measure sentiment of what is being said. I see people who have fairly decent Klout scores but all they do is complain about their job, peers, weather, and clients amongst many other things. I see people every morning complaining on how tired they are of their job or employer.
I know of many companies who use klout to determine if they are going to reach out to a person to represent a product or do a product review. Do you want a person who has great influence about negative things? That person might be venting and sharing Too Much Information online but how is that going to help your brand and product?
Always take a look at interactions of people, who they reply to, what they are talking about online, and what they share.
Word of Mouth
In many occasions I meet people who have the influence of buying software in a large company. I might talk to them about how great a particula software is. After doing his research he might move on to buy the software for himself and rest of his team. Sometimes what we do in our jobs can carry influence that is not measured online.
At CIMA IT Solutions we do vendor assessments and individuals pay us to make sure that they are buying the right tools for their business (instead of going to the vendor directly).
Where is that influence measured online?
My recommendation is to use Klout just for fun or mix it in with a process of measuring many other factors. Use it to complement other processes not as a stand alone tool.
So always keep in mind that just because someone has a low Klout score does not mean they are not influential.
What other ways do you measure influence?
photo credit by alex_ford