Klout Gets Closer But Can It Ever Arrive?

Those who know me are aware that I’ve long been a Klout skeptic. Anyone who mostly does B2B communications should be, quite frankly.  How pointless is it that we walk around bragging about some sort of “Klout” score?  I’ll keep that 75 score in mind the next time I have a new mobile data management application to market.

As of today, however, Klout has rolled out the results of another round of tinkering with their algorithm.  I gained about 10 points, so of course now I’m a huge fan!  😉 

To be fair, I do use Klout from time to time as another data point despite its limitations. When you’re helping a client get a new or revamped Twitter presence off the ground, it can be encouraging to use Klout to simply show that the world is noticing.  Also, although Klout doesn’t give as much attention to topics, there have been instances when the site has helped uncover other relevant peers in a space.  And the fact is that a score of 10, regardless of how relevant the person or how niche the subject, doesn’t bode well for their social impact.  Finally, and not insignificantly, basic Klout is still free. Better alternatives like Traackr and Appinions cost hundreds of dollars per month.

And while Klout’s efforts to get people to obsess over their Klout scores seems vain to me, the corresponding efforts to make the formula behind their Klout score better should only be encouraged. They’re making it easier to understand what’s driving your score (that feature is still coming) and introducing new data points like Wikipedia activity. All good.

Still, I’d like to see a lot more attention given to topics.  I’m influential on “Minnesota” and “B2B”? What does that even mean?

Meanwhile, I would really caution marketers – especially in B2B – that we’ll probably never get an uber-powerful, magic list of just the right influencers.  One of the points made in The B2B Social Media Book by Jeffrey L. Cohen and Kipp Bodnar’s book is to not over-target. You can’t know with enough precision today (or anytime in the foreseeable future) who exactly is going to be the key to spreading that great story about your brand or product.  If you have something compelling, cast as wide a net as practical.