In the beginning, when social media was young, it was important to get followers and fans. Remember Ashton Kutcher’s race to get to 1 million followers on Twitter? The idea was that you would acquire as many fans and followers as you could, you’d tweet messages out to them, post to your Facebook page, and your fans and followers would somehow interact with you. They might “like” your Facebook post, maybe post a comment to your wall, or re-tweet your message.
And then, as major brands began to explore using social media for their own marketing and advertising purposes, marketing directors and CMOs everywhere began asking the question, “So what?” How do we know if people are viewing and acting on our tweets, wall posts and so on? Do people re-tweet what we post? Thus, the idea of social media “engagement” was born. People and brands wanted to know whether or not all of this social media activity was having an effect. Rightfully so.
To be sure, measurement in social media is still in its infancy. There are a variety of tools out there that attempt to measure impressions, reach, tweet patterns etc. But, how do we know what to measure when marketers cannot even agree upon the value of a tweet because there is no agreed upon standard of measurement.
One service is attempting to change all of that by taking a stab at measuring influence and engagement for brands across social media networks. And that service is Klout. Armed with a fresh pile of venture capital, Klout could be the first social media metrics company that may actually change how marketers view and interact with people through social networks. They have claimed the position as the de facto tool for measuring influence online. As such, they should (and do) have a strong appeal to marketers hoping to connect with their most socially influential fans and followers.
What does Klout do? It measures influence online. According to Klout, “When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100.” The higher your score, the greater your influence.
How do they do this? Well, they crunch a lot of data from social networks to measure:
- How many people you influence (they call this your true reach)
- How much you influence them (they call this amplification), and
- How influential they are (the call this your network score)
Want to know which television shows are most influential? Here’s a list of Klout’s 10 Most Influential TV Shows. Who are the most influential London Fashion Week designers? Klout can tell you.
In the absence of other meaningful social media metrics, Klout may have just struck gold.
In my next post, we’ll look at what brands can do to increase their Klout score, and how brands can use Klout to engage with their most influential customers.