So you have a Linkedin account, a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Maybe you check in to your gym or the place you have lunch on Foursquare, post videos on YouTube and try your best to figure out how to fit Google Plus into the mix. In short, you’re doing what people like me have been urging you to do — you’re engaged in social media conversation. Congratulations. Now, what do you know about your social standing? Do you have Kred? Do you have Klout?
Just as a bank uses your credit score to measure your financial soundness, and Google Analytics measures your website’s reach, services Klout.com and Kred.com measure your social media influence. If you haven’t used either of these services, it’s worth the time to head over to each site and check it out. But be warned, once you sign up and see your scores odds are human nature will kick in and you will become obsessed with improving them.
Klout measures, as the language-distorting name implies, your social “clout.” When you sign up, you authorized the service to connect to at least one of your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus) and linking to more will yield a more accurate measure of your influence across the entire social web. Klout can also connect to Linkedin, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Last.fm and Flicker with half a dozen more on the way. Klout uses these connections to come up with your Klout Score, reported as a number on a scale of one to 100. The average score is in the 20s and as one’s score moves up the scale, it’s much more difficult to increase one’s Klout Score. Klout defines influenced as “the ability to drive action” and looks at interaction through social networks over a rolling 90-day period. Engagement is key, and Klout will rank a person with fewer connections but more engagement (via Retweets, Mentions, new Follows, Likes, Wall Posts) higher than one with many connections but little interaction. Klout also lets you compare your score, side by side, with anyone else using the service. Depending upon whom you choose, this can be an uplifting or depressing activity.
How does Klout make money? By hitting up vendors, of course. Brands pay Klout to offer Klout Perks to Klout users in an effort to get these “influencers” to talk nicely about specific products. As a Klout user, I’m told there are no strings attached to this Klout swag and just like the material world, the people with the most Klout, get the biggest Perks — we’re told this can be a great gift like airline tickets or computer gear. Personally, all I’ve gotten so far are some free business cards from Moo, a book and early access to Bottlenose. If I want to start talking about beauty products, I can get some swag in that category too. Both Klout and Kred designate a person’s influence within certain categories. Mine include printing (surprise) advertising, technology and smartphones. I’ve no idea why I’m considered a smartphone influencer—must be all that talk about QR codes and apps.
Kred measures individual’s influence in two parts: Influence on a scale of one to 1000 and Outreach Level, on a scale of one to 12. With Kred, you get points based on your level of engagement, so retweets, replies and mentions add up, and, unlike the more elusive Klout Score, Kred shows how each and every point is earned through the Activity Statement. Did you get a mention from another Twitter account? You’ve earned 10 points. Someone retweeted one of your tweets? That will earn you another 10 points. Reviewing your Kred activity can be a real motivator to interact more with others, and on the face of it, that would be the goal of the service.
Of course, Kred exists to make money too. The service was launched in September 2011 by social analytics company PeopleBrowsr, and is integrated into that company’s social-analytics platform, Playground. Because of this analytics backbone, Kred is poised to offer business clients a whole lot of data based on Kred user data. Kred Playground offers insights to business users such as influencer discovery, custom filtering, and community search and post effect. Kred primarily measures Twitter engagement, so looks at a less broad spectrum of user engagement, but is staged to offer brands more well-developed analytics of the engagement it does measure.
As of this writing my Kred score is 597 out of 1000 (respectable) and 4 out of 12 (a bit less so.) The 12 measures outreach and it’s only four because I’m apparently not engaged in enough direct interaction with others on Twitter. My Klout score is 46, also respectable, but here’s the problem; last month it was 49. Yikes, what happened? There’s nothing worse than a chart showing a downhill slant. I’m determined to get these score up, up, up. So don’t be surprised if you