Business Society Technology

Klout sucks. And I have the influence to persuade you that it does!

If you don’t know you are probably not really into social media.  Or advertising.   Or influence measurement.  It is meant to measure how much you influence people.  And about a year ago they changed their algorithm.  It was meant to get better.  But it didn’t.

But how do I know that it got worse?

Well, for starters I noticed that my Klout score changed.  Since I didn’t change anything dramatic on my personal social media accounts it was obviously them.   A little fishing around showed that Facebook had been seriously upgraded in terms of weighting and Twitter downplayed.  This was counter-intuitive.  It still seems silly.    Surely a more public domain like Twitter where people aren’t obliged to “like” something simply because you know them is more objective a measure?  And retweeting is generally a much weightier backing of a though than Facebook sharing.  There is much less pressure to stay attached to an account on Twitter, you can unfollow fairly easily.

So how can I measure how “wrong” I think Klout is?  (Let alone that Facebook paid them to rig their metrics.)  Remember, this is a measurement that many other businesses rely on.  Many media monitoring tools have it on the x axis of “social media influencers”.  You want to know who is talking about  your brand or business and matters?  Eh, well, it might be based on something which doesn’t work too well any more.

There were two ways for me to look into this.   One was using different accounts.   I have access to a lot of Facebook and Twitter profiles.  I experimented with older accounts (many with 5000 “friends” or 2-3000 followers).  With Klout you can associate your Klout to any combination you want.   So I would start off with one Facebook account.  Let it settle down….Klout of 55.   Associate a Twitter account….Klout goes up to 56.  Ahem…..  Unlink the Facebook account.  Measure again.  Link a different Facebook account.   Klout doesn’t seem to mind because obviously it wasn’t designed for data maniacs like me trying to reverse engineer it.

The other way was to get people I know well to join Klout.   People whose Facebook or Twitter habits I understand in depth.  And this is were the current Klout algorithm lost any respect I had for it.   It is fairly easy to increase the level of interaction a real user with a real Facebook profile has with his Facebook friends.   Facebook hasn’t addressed this issue so much because they are too busy focusing on Pages and Promoted Posts and all that.   So friends who are active on Facebook, especially when they are photo heavy in their posts, can get ridiculously high Klout scores right from the start.

There is another reason I assume that Klout have got it wrong:  people are too scared to tell them!  “What if they see this post and downgrade my score?”   Oh no!  Nobody will take me seriously anymore!….

Influence measurement is serious business.   If a fake Facebook account which simply reposts stuff, or a friend who is just a decent photographer can easily hit a Klout of 65, it is probably time for somebody to take it a bit more seriously.  Or just come out and announce it officially that Facebook is funding Klout.

Business Communication

A practical way to sell services

I realized that the way I chose to help publicize a service is a rather good model to follow in many cases. is a company that does reputation monitoring.   It is a great service, heck, it is the only service that works in Greek really!  (Best voice recognition in this language matched with good interface and intelligence.)

You can try and buy some Google Adwords around the topic.  So, assuming someone searches for you via Google, they will find your website.   Which may, or may not be the best sales pitch.   That seems a rather small and ineffective net to throw into the ocean of potential customers to me.

So instead, I am using the technology to do something you couldn’t do without it.   Case in point a blog about media coverage of the local elections in Greece.   More particularly Thessaloníki.   Because if it was too broad a topic you couldn’t explore the depth of the interactions between TV, radio, blogs, social media and the web.   Is this the best way to find customers?  I think so.   I will be most impressed if at the end of the two month project most major and minor league politicians haven’t heard of reputation monitoring.   Better still they will have understood many of it’s elements.   And even better they will be familiar with the particular product and predisposed to assume that the particular company is a market leader.

We can do another project after this for marketing executives, though many have already figured out that politicians are simply products with unusual parameters most of the time.   Maybe another one for an international audience.   It works with Google too of course because it produces a cluster of knowledge around a particular topic.   No SEO required!   (Though I do optimize the content sometimes or pay attention to cross referencing from other sources to help this along.)

Good, relevant content, provided for free to a particular audience.  State of the art return to simple principles!