There are thousands of Social Media monitoring tools out there that should certainly be used to measure the effectiveness of your branding activities. This here is the first in a series of posts that will be introducing how to make the best use of these tools. In today’s post, I’ll be talking about the benefits of Klout and why I believe it’s an indispensable personal branding monitoring tool.
PS. Before you go on with this post, make sure you signup for Klout using your twitter account, and have it open in a separate window, as I will be reverting to it several times during the course of this post.
What is Klout?
In short, Klout is tool used to measure and leverage your online influence based on your use of social media communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+. Wherever you have an online presence, you have the opportunity to influence people by creating or sharing content that inspires actions such as likes, retweets, shares, comments and more. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Tracking this influence overtime, allows you to understand your brand resonance further, and basically, highlights what you should continue you doing, and what you should refrain from exploring.
What does you Klout score measure?
Klout gives your influence a score from 1 to 100. This score is calculated based the level of your social media engagement, so make sure you connect all your social networks and use them properly to score higher. Here are some attributes that go into the calculation of your score:
- Facebook – likes, comments
- Twitter – retweets, mentions
- LinkedIn – comments, likes
- Foursquare – tips, to-dos, done
- Google+ – comments, re-shares, +1
It’s also important to mention that the average Klout score is 20 (not 50). The higher you score, the more difficult it becomes to add points to your score.
The score itself is not as important as the trend presented by the historical data. In Figure 1, you’ll notice that my current Klout score is approximately 56. The drops showcased in the graph highlight my period of extended inactivity. Note that this score is updated on a daily basis based on your activity. You should aim at having a positive sloped graph.
Having a large number of followers or likes or whatnot is not what counts towards your Klout score – it’s the level of engagement with your audience that matters. So basically, it’s not the size of your network, but how you use it to inflict action!
What are you influential about?
This feature of Klout is of utmost importance.
According to William Arruda, the 3Cs of Personal Branding are Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy. Being a Jack-of-all-trades is not exactly the best approach to personal branding – in fact, I’d highly advise against being one. Your aim is to be known for something not everything. Gone are the days where a generic approach is plausible; you should aim at developing a certain level of expertise, and target a specific audience!
Klout monitors your social media activity and analyzes what topics you’re most influential about. In Figure 2 – you’ll notice that I’m personally influential about Personal Branding and Social Media – this is perfectly aligned with Personal Brand objectives.
Have a look at your influential topics, are the top 5 topics analyzed by Klout representative of your brand? If the answer is “No”, then you might want to reconsider what you’re putting out there!
What is your Klout Style?
This is by far my favorite Klout feature!
Klout has developed a great matrix to help you understand your social networking style. This complex matrix measures your style of engagement (Listening, Participating, Sharing, and Creating) and your content (Broad, Focused, Consistent, and Casual). This in turn forms 16 different styles as depicted in Figure 3. For further description about each style, make sure you look at this interactive graph (just hover the different section of the matrix and learn about each style).
You want to completely avoid being in the lower left quadrant! If your personal brand lies in that corner of the Klout matrix, you should start engaging with your social network and be more active. Depending on your brand attributes, you might choose to go towards the right of this graph by being more focused in terms of topics discussed, and consistent in delivering it. Or you may choose to move vertically up if you are more in the spirit of sharing information you come across with your followers. Finally, you may choose to move diagonally upwards, which more often than not requires of you to have an pre-existing imposing brand (like a celebrity would). People like Lady Gaga & Barak Obama occupy the celebrity corner – basically, what this entails is an audience that hangs on every word and probably retweets the hell out of anything they post, but they (Gaga & Obama) rarely (more like never) make it a two-way conversation.
However, I strongly recommend you focus on having your personal brand in the lower right quadrant of the Klout matrix. Being a specialist means that within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your provide focused content around a specific topic or industry and share it with a highly engaged audience. This is the kind of fame you need to attract towards your brand – “earned fame” not a bought one!
Additional klout features
Aside from all the great features discussed above, Klout scores your:
- Amplification – how much you influence people
- True Reach – the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network, and across their extended networks.
- Network – how influential is your network
Klout also allows you to compare your different scores – this feature allows you to benchmark your social media engagement against your competition and therefore enhance your online performance.
This brings us to the end of our Klout discussion for this post. Whatever you are doing to communicate your brand, make sure you are measuring your progress and setting goals, otherwise, your efforts might go unnoticed, and that would be a shame. Think About It!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will be publishing a series of articles to help you better manage your personal brand – so make sure you subscribe to my blog or to my RSS feed (http://johnantonios.com/feed) to your favorite reader (eg. Google Reader)
Do you use other tools to monitor your personal brand? If so, why don’t you share them in the comment section below …