Klout. The self-proclaimed standard of influence. A site that measures every little hiccup, burp and fart you make online and mashes it together using a secret formula that converts the result it into a number between 1 and 100. What does this mean to you? Put simply, before you were worried that no one was listening to you online, now you have tangible proof that they aren’t.
For a pretty interesting idea, Klout has its share of haters. There are some people out there that are just disgusted at the thought of measuring another human being by their actions online. It’s kind of ironic since all of planet earth has been crying out for a way to measure the return on investment for social media marketing and what its effects are on business and reputation. Now that we have something that gives us a peek we storm the castle with lit torches in hand?
It’s not a perfect measurement, I get that. But neither is crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. If you own a business or have a job involved in sales and marketing (hint: everyone is in sales whether you know it or not), you need a way to measure whether what you are doing is effective. Klout does not measure your value as a human being. It’s not an IQ test. It doesn’t point out your flaws or think you look ridiculous in that dress (you do by the way, I would try something else with those shoes). It’s a way to measure your effectiveness. It’s just another tool to give you some insight into how influential you are online. Use it as such.
Of course, it would be much easier to just ignore Klout…if you do maybe it will just go away like Myspace did. More likely it’s not going anywhere but will actually play a significant role in this whole social media puzzle.
Think about it. What happens when you apply for a high level job that requires that you manage and influence a team of people within the company? Doesn’t it make sense for your future employer to review your Klout score in order to see your level of influence and gauge how effective you would be in that job? They currently check your Facebook and Twitter accounts, how is this any different?
Instead of fighting it, there are so many ways you can leverage Klout.
Suppose you own a hotel. What if you checked the Klout score of all of your visitors and upgraded everyone with a high influence knowing that they are more likely to blog about their good experience to their community?
What if you checked the Klout score of your mailing list and sent a special discount or offer to the big influencers on your list? Or perhaps you went through your existing client base and checked their Klout scores and reached out to the big influencers asking for a testimonial that you could then Tweet and tag them on?
Look at your Facebook friends and Twitter followers and organize them by their level of influence. Learn from them and make friends with the big influencers and be sure to share and retweet anything of value that they are putting out there.
Who knows what comes next. First class upgrades on airplanes? Discounts at stores when you check in using FourSquare with a high Klout score? Invites to nightclub openings based on your influence?
Look, there is no arguing that influence is power and the powerful have advantages that the average Joe doesn’t. In the past you were either born into it or you worked your whole life for it. Klout offers the ability to develop a level of power and influence online that could help catapult you and your business. You may not like it, but not liking it doesn’t change anything. There is a potential here. Who knows where it is going to lead to.
So, how do you honestly feel about Klout? Do you think this is the next best thing or the end of civilization as we know it? Where do you think it’s going? How do you think it’s going to be used in the not so distant future?