This week, Klout, a self-proclaimed “grader” of social media influence, changed its algorithm that determines one’s score for social media influence across various platforms. The blog post that announced this change toward a more accurate algorithm said that most people would notice that their Klout score would increase and very few people’s would decrease. What essentially happened was a reverse Panda-like attack, and numerous community and social media managers saw their scores plummet while many who seemingly do not actively use social media saw their scores skyrocket.
If you look in the comments of the above-linked post, you’ll see some very, very angry social media managers in there. Whether or not this new algorithm is really “more accurate” is of course up for debate, and we really won’t know that answer for a month or two. However, two things did shock me from reading the comments; one, that employers actually use Klout scores when hiring community managers. I have never been a fan of using meta-scores like this to determine someone’s worthiness for hire or even something’s worthiness for purchasing. Looking at a score is a lazy cop-out that allows employers to escape actually researching how the prospective employee influences others. (And before you ask and accuse me of having a low score, my Klout score is just fine.) I joined Klout just for the fun of it, especially to see what topics I’m the most influential about. When I first joined, I was told I was influential about Mass Effect, pirates, and haiku. Fun, right? Also, I liked getting some of the Klout perks from keeping a score at a certain level. It was almost more of a game to me and numerous other social media managers than anything else. So learning that it was taken so seriously was more than shocking; it was a bit laughable.
The second part that shocked me was the realization that so many social media managers have focused on a Klout score and have forgotten the most important part of being a good social media manager: BEING SOCIAL.
Being social doesn’t mean tweeting funny pics or using your Facebook Page for announcing sales. Being social means actively engaging your audience. On Twitter, do you have back and forth conversations with others? Do your tweets get retweeted? On Facebook, do you actively converse with your fans/friends? Do you post on other pages or friends’ walls often? Do people post on your walls/pages often? How often do you post on your WordPress blog? Do you get lots of comments? Do you respond to those comments?
You get the idea.
Isn’t that the goal of social media–to talk with one another and share what’s going on in our lives/businesses? While sharing funny pictures and links is always fun, it’s not going to make you influential–Klout our otherwise–or actively engage your audience. It might summon a retweet or two, a couple of likes, and maybe some people will come back to see what funny thing you post next, but that’s hardly engaging or really that social.
The moral of the story here is that scores are never the answer for these kinds of fluctuating metrics. The bottom line is, if you’re getting good conversation, if your social media is benefiting your company, if you’re seeing an upswing in customers from your social media, if you’re getting social media conversions, etc., then you ARE influential about your topic.
Do you really need a grader like Klout to tell you otherwise?