Measuring social media – have you got influence?

A couple of months ago I noticed that my score on klout.com had passed 70 for the first time. If you’re not familiar with Klout, it claims to be a measure of your influence on social media. It’s on a scale of 1 to 100 and anything over 50 is considered to be influential. Log in to the website and see what score it gives you.

Passing the 70 mark in theory puts me in the top 10% of people in terms of influence on social media. I’m not sure I buy that. Klout looks at your Facebook and Twitter profiles – and can also look at your LinkedIn, Google+ and various other profiles – and looks not at how much you’re posting but how much interaction you’re getting. Are people re-tweeting your content? Are they sharing it? Are they commenting? Are they liking? Klout then calculates a score using an algorithm, which is opaque at best, to decide how influential you’re being.

I looked at what I was posting on Facebook and it’s clear that what Klout can’t do is distinguish between professional or work-related posts and personal posts. I recently posted something about it being my wedding anniversary and that got huge numbers of likes, lots of comments and my Klout score went up. Relevance to business? Zero. So I’m not convinced that Klout has got it right yet. I think maybe it still needs to refine how it measures influence.

Having said that, I think it is important to measure influence. So many people – when they try to measure their social media activity – look purely at the hard numbers: we have got this many followers, our page has got this many likes. And actually those are pretty blunt figures because you could have 20,000 followers but if only 100 of them are actually actively engaged in what you’re doing or what you’re talking about, then the rest are just dead space. They’re just filler. So just looking at blank figures really isn’t enough.

If you want to measure social media you need to be looking at how much you are engaging with people. How many comments are you getting? How many re-tweets? How many replies? These sorts of measures are things you really can track. You can set a goal, you can see whether you’re reaching that goal, and it’s a far more interesting and useful measure than purely how many people you have got following you or you are following. So if you are looking to start measuring your social media activity look at engagement levels, not just followers or likes. Oh, and let me know what your Klout score is.

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Steve BustinAuthor: Steve Bustin (20 Posts)

I'm a media and communications trainer, working under the Vada Media and Medical Media Training brands, based in Brighton but working nationally and internationally.

You can also see my google+ profile here.