10 Tips to Stay Sanely Influenced in a Klout Crazed World!

you are not your klout scoreSome weeks there are simply topics that make ya' go hmmmm….   The past week I am having one of those “hmmmm….” moments in regard to influence scoring, ranking and usage of such metrics.

What I've seen:

  • Numerous people talk about how they are prioritizing social conversations on Twitter based upon Klout scores.
  • Too much trash talk about people with high Klout and other influence scores.
  • Divide between the folks that like the influence measures and the folks that don't.
  • Mass confusion regarding the meaning and basic knowledge of influence.
  • Confusion regarding how to understand and leverage the influence scores.
  • People taking actions repeatedly to increase Klout scores.
  • Newbies who truly think they will become more influential by giving and receiving +Ks on Klout.
  • People missing out on valuable relationships in both business and life by letting influence scores dictate where they focus, what they read, who they tweet, what they retweet and who they talk to.

Sersiously people. It's time we GET REAL on what influence is and is not. Most importantly we need to remind ourselves that social media and social influence measurement are still in their infancy.

I wrote a post last week titled “Forget the Klout Scores, What's Your Social Zoom Factor” that attempted to get this conversation started. This post is simply a continuation of my thoughts and reflection of the responses I have received via blog comments, tweets, and a great conversation we had on Tuesday during #GetRealChat which had 14 million impressions, 148 contributors & 1k+ tweets.

What is influence? (as defined by the Free Online Dictionary)
1. an effect of one person or thing on another
2. the power of a person or thing to have such an effect
3. power or sway resulting from ability, wealth, position, etc.
4. a person or thing having influence

Influence is in the eye & heart of the beholder.
Can influence truly be 100% measured via any tool?  My belief and answer to this question is no. Some of the peeps who influence me the most are the ones who make me think.

Yes we can measure what action is taken on the web that may or may not be a result of being influenced by an individual. We can measure if someone inspired us to click, like, opt-in.  However, we can't measure if we truly read, understand, relate or think.

There are people who influence me substantially that Klout wouldn't consider or report that influences me.  I may only retweet some of my favorite thought leaders such as Brian Solis,  Mari Smith and Seth Godin a few times a week.  Yet there are others who blog more frequently that I retweet and share their content daily.

According to Klout this would mean that Brian, Mari, Seth and others influence me less than the person or blog I tweet several times a week.  This couldn't be further than the truth.

I have Brian's content included in slide decks that I share with clients and teach in formal training  as well as keynote presentations.  I leverage Brian's infographics to help clients better understand social media.  Most of my client have now purchased Brian Book, Engage as well as Seth's book, the Purple Cow, or I have purchased it for them.

As for Mari, her and I are friends in both life and business. I was a co-author in the book Relationship Age with her.  Yet if you looked at my tweet stream on a typical given day you wouldn't know that she influenced me. Mari shows up as someone who influences me according to Klout. However, it's primarily because we are friends and often talk life and business via Twitter. She is online more so as a default I tweet to and share her content more. She has also influenced my life in ways that numbers can never measure.

So who is more influential? The author of the blog posts I tweet daily or the three people mentioned above. You know my answer.

The Social Zoom Factor = the WHY Factor
I don't need an influence scoring system to tell me what and who influences me.  I know in my heart and in my brain who I am influenced by.  There is no possible way for Klout or any other influence system to know if I think about Brian's words on Saturday afternoon when I am at the beach.

I know what makes my business and life zoom. I know what blog posts I read, what I ignore and what makes me think on the weekend.

Do you know what makes your audience think, share, and go zoom? If you are not relevant to your audience you are not influential.  Focus on the metrics that will help you answer the why questions that will increase the relevance to your audience.  Why should they care what you say. Why should they tweet you, follow you, or waste their breath talking to you?

My thoughts on the social zoom factor are in this post “Forget the Klout Scores, What's Your Social Zoom Factor”

10 Tips to Stay Sanely Influenced

1. Only you know what and who influences you. Tools or no tools you know what and who influences you.

2. Influence measuring systems are still in their infancy. Although Klout claims to be the “standard for influence” the truth is we have a long way to go in regard to influence measurement. Take the current tools for what they are and don't base life decisions on such.

3. You are NOT your Klout score. Don't let the Klout scores define you.

4. Don't let the Klout scores prioritize and determine your action online. I have seen people simply lose their minds regarding Klout scores. I actually saw a blog post where the guy tracked (and bragged) about how thanking people for retweeting his blog post via individual tweets increased his Klout score. He was proud of the fact it went up a point or two. The worst part is he cluttered his tweet stream for two plus days with boring thank you's just to raise a score? Makes no sense to me.

5. Don't let the influence scores determine who you talk to or don't talk to. If you base such decisions on a Klout or other influence score you might miss out on a conversation that could change your business or even life.  I have many very influential business partners, clients and colleagues who have Klout scores below 25. However, they are more influential than many people with scores above 60. They are people who have literally changed my business and my life. What if I had originally chose to ignore and not respond to their tweet or Facebook comment because they had a low influence score? Would have been my loss. 

6. Lose the ego. Just because you have a high influence score because you tweet to your 2000 followers all day does not mean you are a certified influencer.  Yes, there are many people with few followers who are more influential than those with thousands. You know the truth behind the numbers just as those who are or aren't influenced by your content do.

7. Stop the trash talk. Don't assume everyone who has a high Klout score focuses on it all day long. I am one with decent influence scores. I do not game any system, send tweets with an intention to increase scores etc.  I focus on my audience plain and simple. I work hard to inspire and connect with those who read my content with a focus on helping them achieve their objectives.   Realize the scores are just that, scores. Don't damage relationships and make yourself look like negative Nelly on twitter all day because you're unhappy with your Klout score.  Instead focus on your audience, creating relevant content and chances are by default your score will also increase.  Even if it doesn't who cares. It's not only the score that matters.

8. Take the data for what it is. Yes, there is still value in the influence metrics. Leverage the data provided to learn about your audience, understand what content you are writing is being shared, etc. Look beneath the covers of a score. There is more to an influence score than what meets the eye. Do the double click to truly understand who you are influencing and why.

9. Marry the influence data with other metrics. The most powerful metrics for many are the combination of web and traditional other metrics combined with influence metrics.  How are people behaving when they visit your website? How long are they staying on site? What can you do to understand the behavior of those who are influenced by you to make better decisions?

10. If you are not relevant with your audience today it may not matter tomorrow! Influence scores of today do not equal relevance.  Focus more on the why questions than the what. Why is your content being read, shared, influencing the minds of your target audience.  Focus on scores alone will distract you from your core business and objectives, guaranteed.

11.  There is more to life than social media influence. Yes, anyone who knows me know that I eat, sleep and breathe social media. However, I also remind myself daily there is more to life than Twitter, Facebook and Google plus. Focus on the people in your life that don't know what Klout scores are along with the ones that do. Remember why you are in business to begin with.  Let the numbers start influencing your actions online and they'll soon be controlling your time spent enjoying life. Don't do it!

*Yes, I know there are 11 tips. Last one is a bonus 😉

What You Say?

What are your thoughts? Do you think some people are losing their minds in the influence score fud and fudder? Are you also seeing people prioritizing conversations, actions and more based upon influence scores while letting their business suffer? How do you leverage the influence scores to help you make decisions?



About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. Anonymous August 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I agree with you fully Pam. I almost feel like Klout has turned human interactions into a game. At the end of the day, Klout is still just a number. 

    Great post!

  2. Janet Callaway August 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Pam, aloha.  Your bonus tip is the way you live your life–you ALWAYS deliver more than your promise.

    You already know my thoughts on this per your poll and the great tweetchat on Tuesday.

    You do business with and become friends with people, not scores.  Whenever anyone starts on social media, they have a low Klout score.  If a person only interacts with those with high numbers, they are missing out on the opportunity to develop relationships with people who could well become meaningful in their lives.

    Letting any measuring system determine your interaction, means that you are giving up your life, important decisions, based on an arbitrary algorithm determined by someone you don’t know for their agenda.  Is that nuts or what?

    Thx for covering this very important topic so well, Pam. It truly needed to be addressed as so many people are asking about the hows, whys and should Is of Klout.

    Best wishes for a magnificent weekend.  Until next time, aloha.  Janet

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you Janet. You are one of the people who truly “get it”.  I think that is my biggest concern with what I am seeing people who are new to social do with Klout. 

      They are basing their behavior on Klout, determining who to follow, who to engage, who to answer on Twitter.  Not good unless those decisions fully align with the business goals and objectives what that will enable success. 
      Yes, we connect with real people. I don’t friend a Klout score or an avatar. I friend the person behind it all.  Your Klout score shouldn’t affect if I take the time to respond to your question if you have a genuine interest in what my content is about. 

      Blessed to know you Janet. Let’s talk this week about some of the opportunities I shared with you briefly. I know the time will come soon where we will do some fab things together! 

      Have a blessed weekend! Luv ya! 

  3. Sue Reddel August 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you Pam! This is just what I needed to hear this morning. I’ve been obsessed with watching my Klout score recently. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. Stay focused, keep doing what you know you’re good at and be there for people. I’m done worrying about it. My name is Sue and I am not a Klout score 🙂

  4. Michael Q Todd August 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I believe Klout is a little misunderstood and underutilised. My score comes from my Facebook activity not Twitter. Klout however is very little to do with scores. With the addition of twitter lists today it has become a social network and a connecting hub. It is also great for analytics seeing if your unique mentioners and retweeters are going up or down
    I do not let it it determine interaction though. That I agree seems crazy.

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      I do not yet see Klout as a big player in social networking. I think they need to make up their mind. Are they an influence measurement system or a social network, or an advertiser platform?  I don’t think you can be all 3 yet call yourself the end all be for influence measurement. IMHO I should not be required to engage on the platform of the influence measurement company to become influential.  It’s similar to credit scoring. It’s independent. I don’t have to logon to Experian, Transunion etc. to increase my score. 


  5. Sandy E August 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks so much for this great post! Klout was one of those things that you “gotta try” but for a type A personality, over-achiever, who never made lower than an A+, I was getting a little concerned! (haha).  I do love the matter of fact, common sense approach to the way you handled our understanding of the Klout score!

  6. Lonny Dunn August 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm

     I had a comment or two on this subject, and contacted you via Twitter, and didn’t hear back from you.  I Tweet at @ProNetworkBuild

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      I replied after I saw this message. Did you see it? Sorry I try to keep up w/Twitter as much as I can. I had been out of the office a few days with clients the week this post was published. 

      Appreciate you stopping by Lonny. 

  7. Anonymous August 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Hi Pam,

    Love this post! This is a pet peeve of mine too: “people talk about how they are prioritizing social conversations on Twitter based upon Klout scores.” So not cool.
    Amen sistah!

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Amen Pegster! Preach it sistah! 

      Love what you do and appreciate you being a model of real engagement in my life! 

      Have an awesome weekend! 

  8. Isabel Maxwell August 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Good piece, thanks for this.

  9. Neelu Modali August 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Pam, I agree with a lot of what you say. Sure, in the short term, tweeps can boost their klout score with inorganic activity that has poor quality.  But ultimately, quantity tweets do not win out on klout.  Quality is measured through consistent amplification.  One could argue that if your tweets are poor quality, they will not realize the amplification required to hit a high klout metric.  In general, the fakers lose steam after a while! If they’re not really engaging genuinely, they will eventually hit a wall.

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      You’re exactly right Neelu. The best way to get your influence scores up is to be real, engage and quit worrying about the numbers. 

      Thanks for the comment! 

  10. Jean Parks August 29, 2011 at 1:36 am

    IMHO  having true influence means that you put out content so compelling that others MAKE time to respond to your posts & share your content! IMHO you are such

    my rules are simple, if you tweet quality stuff at me, I’ll follow you and tweet back.I don’t sweat my Klout score,I worry most about adding value to my stream & supporting my friends, the rest ? it’s all BS IMHO

    • PamMktgNut September 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      I love you Jean! You tell it like it is just like I do! 

      I agree. Inspire and connect with your audience in a way that brings them closer to your brand and the metrics speak for themselves. 

      If people would worry less about their Klout score and spend more time writing awesome content or engaging and listening to their followers, audiences and influencers their Klout score would organically go up.  Yet, why do we need the score to go up if we know we have an engaged audience. Such a chicken and egg thing and it’s keeping me up at night 😉 uggghhh! 

      Thanks for stopping by Jean and taking the time to comment! Love ya! 

  11. Virtual Business Assistant August 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Most of the small companies are still blissfully ignorant of social media influence on customer choice of products/services. This should help them know that you can no longer ignore FB, Twitter or Youtube while planing their marketing strategy.

    Online Business
    Virtual Assistant

  12. Anonymous August 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I particularly like your comment about influence being in the eye of the beholder.  This is a concept that is gaining more traction (thankfully!)

    It is interesting that many blog posts about influence are written from the perspective of the individual consultant (many of whom are consulting in PR, Social Media, interactive marketing), i.e., “what is my influence as a content producer in my field of expertise”.  Meanwhile, companies that are using social media channels approach the concept of influencers from a different direction:  They are interested in FINDING influencers who are influential within their target customer base.  These people may or may not be expert content producers, so what defines influence and how to find true influencers in that scenario is often a very different animal.  (I wrote a post for WOMMA on the difficulties of a one size fits all model of influence earlier this year; http://allthings.womma.org/2011/03/08/influence-durkheim-and%E2%80%A6-suicide/).

    We include an influencer identification and tracking tool in our social media measurement platform, Social Snap.  Our system gives the client the ability to adjust the dials on the algorithm, choosing to weight it according to factors that are most important in defining influence.  It isn’t THE answer for everyone (because there isn’t one answer) but we believe it is a good step in the right direction towards customizing what a client defines as influence.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post on influence.  (I also liked your post on the Social Zoom Factor!)

  13. factotum llc. September 11, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I actually was reading a post about the limits of social media science/analytics the other day, which corresponds with your post. We can have all kinds of data, but that doesn’t show us the “why” behind it. We have to probe deeper to find those answers, and I don’t think they’re ones that will be found in some sort of score. – Erin

  14. Pam Moore @PamMktgNut September 11, 2011 at 2:19 am

    True statement Factotum. I think the key is in the combination of the right metrics that help you measure the progress toward our goals and metrics, both life and biz.

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