WHAT IS KLOUT ALL ABOUT?
Klout is an innovative web metrics device that you'll either love or hate. Either way, it's the newest of the new tools in assessing your social networking success (or lack thereof). The current metric is far from perfect, but so was Google when it first started return web query results, and yet look where it is now.
Klout bills itself as a way to measure the influence you have over other members of your social network AND the people whom they network with. They do this by assessing your social networking accounts and looking for three things in particular – how many people are in your network, how often they look at what you have posted and how often they pass along things that you’ve posted. They call these three measurements your “true reach,” “amplification” and “network impact.”
The measurement of your true reach filters out any interactions with bots and spam and focuses only on real people that actually see your posts. The amplification follows these people and reports on how many of them make an action based on the post (i.e. forward it to friends, make a purchase). You network impact looks at only the top social networkers that you correspond with and watches their amplification.
There are several strong critics of the Klout methodology. They state the inaccuracy of the scoring metric, which often puts well known bloggers above legitimate powers like Barack Obama. The business model has also come under fire as it violates the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act 1998. The major complaint is that the company uses the data it scrapes from social networks to take advantage of minors.
Even with those complaints, Klout looks like the next big thing in social media. Businesses have already begun to leverage users with exceptionally high Klout scores by offering them free merchandise to promote over their networks. The upside to the Klout model is quite apparent: It allows a business to see, in real time, if the marketing strategies it has in place are connecting with its target demographic. Look for this, and other social metric sites to become a mainstay in the world of social business by the end of 2012.