April 1, 2013 Last updated March 3rd, 2019 2,467 Reads share

Klout For Business: A Guide To Measuring Social Media Influence

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Guy Kawasaki made a quote that I love – “The nobodies are the new somebodies”. Over the past 5 years businesses have had a big focus on generating Likes, Followers, Connections and friends on their various Social Media sites. Companies have become obsessed by numbers. They think that if they get 1,000s of Facebook likes on their business page they have cracked the social media puzzle.

However, the online world is no different from the offline one in the sense that Quality will often trump Quantity. So whilst generating a large online community may be important, ensure that your community is made up of relevant, engaged and influential people by reading our ‘Klout for Business: A Guide to Measuring Social Media Influence’.

Influence online

Companies have started to realise two things:

  1. People who traditionally had little influence offline have become very very influential online.
  2. Unless they engage effectively with their target audience online their numbers will have little or no ROI.

For this reason we are seeing the more social media savvy companies starting to focus on building more meaningful relationships with their communities online and spending more time identifying and engaging with the most influential online consumers in their industry.

After all if I write a “food” blog post and it is shared 40 times by individuals that have few connections and no real online influence it may not reach as many eyes as I would expect. However if I write a “food” blog post and it is shared by Jamie Oliver or even the great Donal Skehan my message is sure to reach, and be read by, more people.

For that reason it makes sense to look at who is interacting with you and/or your brand online and evaluate how influential they may be. It is the online “movers and shakers” that can really raise a profile or spread a message online.

Sadly they can often damage our reputation too, so we need to know who these people are and where applicable engage with them.

Measuring influence

There are a number of sites companies can use to determine their level of influence online and look at other people’s influence. Three such sites are:

All three sites have their own algorithm to give each individual a score of influence. While it is largely believed that these scores can be manipulated to some extent they do act as a good initial gauge when assessing someone’s influence on Social Media.

Klout for business: what is it?

Klout is a website that measures peoples influence online. It looks at users’ social media accounts and determines one’s ability to generate engagement and drive others to action.

So Klout not only looks at what you do, but how your online network responds to your content.

Klout takes in data from social networks and gives users an overall Score based on their online influence:

  • Data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and even Foursquare to determine your level of influence.
  • It does not look at your other online activity such as blogging and other forums when determining your score. However if you share your blog post on your social networks it will look at the number of comments, ReTweets, shares, likes etc.

How your Klout is calculated?

The Klout Score incorporates more than 400 signals from seven different networks. They process this data on a daily basis to generate updates to a user’s Klout Score.

According to Klout themselves:

“The majority of the signals used to calculate the Klout Score are derived from combinations of attributes, such as the ratio of reactions you generate compared to the amount of content you share. For example, generating 100 retweets from 10 tweets will contribute more to your Score than generating 100 retweets from 1,000 tweets. We also consider factors such as how selective the people who interact with your content are. The more a person likes and retweets in a given day, the less each of those individual interactions contributes to another person’s score. Additionally, we value the engagement you drive from unique individuals. One-hundred retweets from 100 different people contribute more to your Score than do 100 retweets from a single person”.

Here is a breakdown of what Klout measures:


(Klout only measures activity on your Personal Facebook Page)

  • Mentions
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Subscribers
  • Wall Posts (Klout looks at posts to your wall and believe they indicate influence and engagement).
  • Friends (Number of friends and the reach of your network are less important than how your network engages with your content)


  • Retweets
  • @ Mentions
  • List Memberships (Being included on lists created by other influential users).
  • Followers (Number of followers contributes to score, but engagement levels receive more weight than a high follow count).
  • Replies (Klout looks at how you respond to peoples questions and comments mentioning you).


  • Title: Your reported title on LinkedIn is a signal of your real-world influence and is persistent.
  • Connections (Klout looks at your connection graph to assess your level of real world influence)
  • Recommendations and even endorsements.
  • Comments and Likes on your updates.


  • The number of +Ks received.


  • Tips Done: The number of suggestions you’ve left that have been completed indicate your ability to influence others on foursquare.


  • Inlinks: Measures the total number of inbound links to a page.
  • Ratio of Inlinks to Outlinks: Compares the number of inbound links to a page to the number of outbound links.
  • Page Importance (as measured by PageRank): Measured by applying a PageRank algorithm against the Wikipedia page graph.

Other social media

Klout at present allows you to add other social media accounts such as Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr to your profile. However, at present the activity and engagement on these sites do not influence your Klout Score. I would predict that in the future this will change and that activity on Facebook Pages, WordPress blogs and Instagram will become contributing factors to one’s Klout score.

The business case for using Klout

  • Some of the biggest and brightest marketers and brands like Disney, Audi, Starbucks, and Nike have incorporated Klout influencers into their traditional marketing efforts. And it is working.
  • According to Klout, each influencer in one of their Perk programs generates an average of 30 pieces of content and millions of possible impressions.

Getting started

To sign up and use Klout, you must have at least a Twitter or Facebook account and you sign up by directly connecting to one of those.

You can also link up a Google+ account (a profile not a page), LinkedIn and Foursquare.


After signing in and linking up your desired profiles, your score will be calculated.


Whenever you login to Klout, you will see your dashboard which includes your current score, which social media platforms are performing best and how your score has fluctuated over a 90 day period.


You can view further criteria on your or another user’s Klout by clicking on the profile tab.

  • Key moments: Here you can review the key moments in a user’s activity over the last 90 days.
  • Influencers: It is also here where one can view a Klout users Influencers.
  • Topics: It is also here where we can see which Topics a user has influence in. A Klout user can select which 10 topics to showcase on their profile. So just because someone has a topic such as “Social Media” listed does not necessarily mean they are influential in that area.
  • Friends: The Friends Tab on an individual Klout account enables a user to identify who in their network has the highest Klout scores.
  • Lists: Another great feature here is the ability to create Lists. Creating lists can be a great way to organise influential Klout friends into categories. For example I could have a list of my top Klout users in Irish Media and a list for my top Irish Social Media users. So just like Twitter lists this can be a great way to focus and drown out the noise.

What is +K?

+K is in many ways Klout’s own equivalent of Google’s +1 or Facebook’s Like button.

  • Users are encouraged to endorse other users for their topics or areas of expertise. The +K’s a user receives contributes to a user’s overall Klout score. So, giving someone +K means that you are indicating that you think they are influential in a certain topic.
  • Very often a great way to get users to give you +Ks is to make the first move and recommend them for a topic and give them a +K.
  • Note: You are limited to 10 +Ks a day and you can only +K once per topic every week.

How to give a +K

So let’s say I want to give Frank Hannigan a +K:

  1. I go to his profile page and find his listed topics.
  2. All I have to do is select the relevant topic I wish to endorse him for and click the +K button.
  3. You then have the option of sharing your +K on Twitter or Facebook. One reason for doing this is to ensure the user sees your “good deed” and to show your community of followers and/or friends the high calibre of professional you are connected to.


Top Brand in particular in the US have teamed up with top brands to offer influential Klout users free products and discounts. Perks are often offered to users who have a Klout Score above a certain number and live in a specific area.

  • The Perks button can be found on the top of the page right of the Klout search bar.
  • The value to the brand offering the “Perk” is that they are getting their product or service to online influencers and hopefully they will “champion”, recommend or even just talk about their brand online.


Keep up to date with all the world’s top influencers by clicking on the Pulse tab on your Klout page. It can be a great way to view Klout score lists and read top influencers latest blog posts. I must confess I rarely use pulse and find it very American content focused.


Klout’s Mobile App is a great way to keep up to date with your, and your friends, Klout scores on the go. I must confess I very rarely paid much attention to my Klout score and never logged into my Klout account on my desktop. However, I often find myself using the app.


Are you a Hootsuite user? If you have a Hootsuite account and use it to manage your Twitter activity you will be pleased to know that it has some great options to allow you to identify and look at your followers Klout scores. How?

  • If you click on the filter button on your Home Feed and select “Filter by Klout Score” you can select the tweets from users whose Klout score is above a certain level. This filter is a great way of identifying who are the level of influencers in your Twitter network.
  • It may be valuable to engage more with users with a higher Klout score.
  • NB. You can only filter your Home Feed by Klout score with a free Hootsuite account. However, you can filter any list or Twitter stream with a Premium Hootsuite account.

Klout Hootsuite

Another thing you can do on Hootsuite is to click on any users profile and it will tell you the persons Klout score. I use this to look at the scores of users who have ReTweeted or shared my content online.

What is a good Klout Score?

I have read numerous articles looking for the answer to this question and have yet to find a straight answer from anywhere. All users of all Klout scores will have some level of online influence. So it is important not to alienate a large and valuable portion of your audience.

However over the last 12 months I have observed employers looking for staff and documenting minimum Klout scores required in job descriptions. I remember seeing an advert for a Community Manager in the US for Salesforce requiring a minimum Klout score of 35.

Many of the deals and perks seem to target users of Klout scores above 40, so that may be an indicator of a score to aim for.

So in conclusion companies have become very aware that the online communities can make or break their brand.

So the task for businesses is two fold:

  1. Create a strong online presence and level of influence online. So we need key members of staff to score highly on the likes of Klout. Content is power when achieving this and our goal should be on how to create and move content online.
  2. To identify and engage with our key influencers online.

Klout is by no means perfect, but it is only going to improve. It is a good starting point for companies to looks at who are the influencers and who are they influencing online.  

Greg Fry

Greg Fry

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