Update: Klout folded in 2018. Entrepreneur lists several alternatives, but I have not yet found a good, universal measurement tool across platforms that satisfies me.
Originally launched in August 2008, Klout was initially viewed as a guilty pleasure for some social media users and a waste of time for others. The site sought to rank an individual’s online presence and digital influence across a variety of criteria: followers, impact of content, engagement with other users and so forth.
Admittedly, it felt pretty clunky at first, but by 2011 the site had gained steam and was on the average user’s radar with the addition of +K. Like good little lemmings, many of us obediently clicked over to see where we ranked in the equivalent of a digital popularity contest, gave each other +K for having influence on particular topics and perused other friends and influencers to see how they stacked up. There was plenty of online debate about the validity of the scores, the general usefulness of the site and the point of it all.
Nonetheless, if you make a living in the blogging or social media space or otherwise need to convince a brand, potential employer or partner of your internet prowess, a Klout score of 50+ is not a terrible place to start.
Nearly six years since its debut, Klout is hitting its stride and making significant adjustments to remain relevant. In June 2013, the overall site and user dashboard were redesigned to create a clean, simple and practical user experience.
Last week came the announcement of the #NewKlout, with a litany of very interesting new features. The Klout blog is generating incredibly relevant content for avid social media users ranging from useful and applicable to just plain interesting, as in the case of Ellen and the Oscars: Here’s The Impact Of 3 Million Retweets On Your Klout Score. In fact, the Huffington Post is of the opinion that we might want to pay attention: How Klout Is Poised To Clean LinkedIn’s Content Clock.
A quick segue: when I was growing up, my Dad insisted that I invest aggressively in a 401K from an early age to form the habit, and he always advised me (counterintuitively) to not even look at the statements more than once a year – sort of a “let the money pile up and don’t think about it” approach. While it’s good to keep tabs on investments and the world is certainly a very different place today, the point was valid: don’t sweat the small stuff. And so if – like many a savvy social media pro – you regarded Klout in a similar manner and paid little (if any) attention to the day-in, day-out fluctuations of your Klout score, it might be time to tune in.
It would appear the team over at Klout is taking a go big or go home approach. If you haven’t been paying much attention to Klout over the last year or so, you might be surprised to learn about some of the site’s capabilities:
- A sleek dashboard allowing users to create and measure content.
- Scheduling. As of February, users can schedule content based on optimal times when their audience is most active. Watch out, Buffer and Hootsuite.
- The option to more easily edit the topics users are known for, adding and removing based on preference.
- Smart, topic-relevant suggested content, including “hidden gems:” interesting finds with low likelihood your audience has encountered them.
That’s all lovely, but there are still a few areas that are less than intuitive, which Klout will hopefully pay attention to very soon. Namely, it’s now less simple to browse your audience, influencers and other users (instead, you must search by user name), there is still no consideration for multiple accounts (users can list just one Twitter account and must choose between a Facebook and it is far less intuitive to give +K – in fact, I finally found the “how to” buried in the comments of a post:
With all that said, if you’re managing a brand or it otherwise pays for you to keep close tabs on your online presence as a marketer, publicist, blogger or digital strategist, it may be time for you to revisit the new Klout.