Social Media and Influencers

Since the beginning of time,influence has existed as humans have interacted with one another. The challenge comes in quantifying this influence. Clearly, one person can have more influence than another, but how can that be effectively measured? The consideration of measuring one’s relative clout became even more intriguing and complicated with the advent of the Social Media era, as “friend” and “follower” counts were for the first time made tangible, quantified, summarized and presented publicly for all to see. This dilemma, or perhaps we should say opportunity,is exactly what inspired co-founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran to launch their answer in 2007…

A Measuring Stick

Klout started its work of measuring Social Media influence with the Twitter platform. They ran their first “perk” with Starbucks in March 2010 and added the Facebook social network later that year. 2011 was a very busy year as they added several more networks, raised some serious capital and became the launching pad for Spotify. In September 2011 Klout cerebrated 100 million scores calculated. While there are other social scoring platforms available to users, Klout has emerged as the de facto “Standard for Influence” in today’s Social Media realm.

What Does it Measure?

Klout measures influence across the various Social Media platforms/profiles to which a user grants Klout access. The score is based on the interactions, conversations and social
actions a user drives via Facebook Likes, Facebook shares, Twitter Retweets, etc. The scoring ranges from 1 to 100, with 40 marking the current average score among all Klout users. While the exact algorithm is a closely guarded secret, this is what they have to say on their website:

“The science behind the score examines more than 400 variables on multiple social networks beyond your number of followers and friends. It looks at who is engaging with your content and who they are sharing it with.”

One important aspect of the score that they emphasize is the “ratio effect” of a user’s online activities. If a user tweets 100 times and generates 1,000 retweets that will affect the user’s Klout score more profoundly than 1,000 tweets that generate 100 retweets.

Another interesting factor is the selectivity of the people interacting with a user’s content. For example, on Facebook if one person likes 10 of a user’s posts in one day, that isn’t weighted the same as 10 different people liking just one of a user’s posts. In fact, if the same person interacts with multiple pieces of a user’s content in the same day, the incremental weight assigned by Klout to each of those successive interactions will decline. Klout also looks for inauthentic behaviors to help ensure the accuracy and integrity of the score. Users will notice regular updates to the algorithm by Klout, as they continually seek to improve the accuracy and integrity of the scoring, especially as they add more networks.

Of course, there is no perfect measure of online influence.  You can be very influential on a network or platform not integrated with the system, and that won’t be reflected in your score.  For example, if you have a personal blog or if you contribute regularly to a site like Reddit those things won’t help your score even though you may have some real influence through those platforms.

What Does It Do To Help Your Online Influence Factor?

Here’s what Klout says it’s doing to help you grow your social score and therefore your online influence in the real estate industry.

1. Connecting Networks Can Only Help Your Score. We want to help you understand your influence wherever it may exist. We also understand, given the number of different networks out there, that it is nearly impossible for any person to be consistently effective across every network. Adding more networks helps us more accurately measure your influence and can only increase your Score.

2. Influence is Built Over Time. In most instances, your influence should not radically change from one day to the next. Your score is based on a rolling 90-day window, with recent activity being weighted more than older activity. Being inactive over the weekend or taking a short break won’t have a major impact on your Score, but if you’re inactive for longer periods your Score will decrease gradually.

3. Influence is the Ability to Drive Action. It’s great to have lots of connections, but what really matters is how people engage with the content you create. We believe it’s better to have a small and engaged audience than a large network that doesn’t actively respond
to your content.

4. Everyone has Klout. You are never penalized for connecting or engaging with someone with a low score. In fact, you are helping build their score. The more influential you
are, the greater impact you have. All engagement positively contributes to your Score.

5. Klout is Constantly Evolving. The social web is changing every day and the Klout score will continue to evolve and improve. The best strategy for obtaining a high Klout
score is to simply create great content that your network wants to share and engage with.

6. Being Active is Different than Being Influential. Retweets, Likes, comments and other interactions on the social web are all signals of influence. However, just looking at the count of these actions doesn’t tell the whole story of a person’s influence. It’s important to look at how much content a person creates compared to the amount of engagement they generate.

Does social scoring matter? We think so and it is going to become a greater factor in the days ahead. Klout has made so great strides in this arena and understanding more about it as a tool and how it impacts your social score is a good place to start the process of getting involved.