There’s a certain comfort that comes with a rating a system. Salespeople, for instance, want to be 99th percentile in revenue. College football teams want to be in the Top 25. And students are usually pretty happy to be within striking distance of getting a 4.0 in a class.
So, it’s only natural that there are more than a few people out there who can’t help but peek at their Klout score -- a rating that assigns a numerical value to the social media popularity of a brand or person.
Klout measures how popular you are on social media on a scale of 1 to 100 (President Obama is at 99, Richard Branson is at 52). Its scoring algorithm is not exactly an open secret; Joe Fernandez, Klout's CEO and co-founder told Entrepreneur.com that some 400 different factors are taken into account along with 12 social metrics.
Fernandez says Klout is built to help the social media world answer this fairly simple question: "When you speak, does the world listen?" The idea, he says, is for users to use the score to help them communicate better.
Beyond offering a score, Klout has been working to make itself more helpful to its users. For example, businesses can use Klout to test out new products. Klout will give a company's product to influencers to test out and evaluate.
Klout is also trying to make it easier for users to share interesting content by suggesting content based on interests and what has performed well in the past. By this thinking, your Klout score will increase and thus make you more of an influencer.
One simple way to increase a Klout score is to connect more social accounts than just Twitter and Facebook, giving Klout more data to pull from.
Klout began to take root in 2007 when Fernandez was recovering from jaw surgery and had his jaw wired shut for three months. He relied exclusively on Twitter and Facebook to communicate. This changed the way he thought about social. He wanted to make it scalable.
In the early days of Klout, he would email five or 10 users who joined Klout that day -- those with the highest scores and thanked them for joining. He ended up forming relationships with some of these people and businesses and built a network of early investors and influencers. Fernandez suggests connecting with those who follow you, checking out their Klout score and meeting with them if possible.
With Klout becoming more recognizable, it has also attracted doubters. Fernandez believes that those who dismiss Klout the most actually check their scores the most often.
Regardless of how you feel about social popularity, Fernandez says that everyone cares about their reputation and how they are identified, and Klout can help you understand how you are perceived.
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