Is Using Klout Right for You and Your Business?

Last week I took some of my own advice when an online social media tool just didn’t seem to be working for me. I stopped using it. OK, more specifically, I opted out of using Klout. According to Klout, you are scored based on the ability to drive an action. In other words, every time you create content online or engage with someone, you influence them. Klout scores this collected data in order to measure:

    • How many people you influence,
    • how much you influence them
    • and what the influence of your network is.

Instead of being beneficial to me however, it was a huge time-suck that wasn’t returning any investment on time. In fact it is likely that Klout was sending my personal user data to the next highest bidder. So I weighed the pros and cons, and decided the lack of personal privacy was not worth it. I’m not alone in this either, as many people have been opting out as their outrage in the Klouts algorhythm and privacy issues has grown.

Being that social and online media is a big part of what I do however, this was a carefully weighed decision. I needed to remind myself that the primary reason I initially tried it was to understand Klout’s power and how it may help my clients – And it is a powerful tool that can help you better understand how you motivate YOUR clients. Personally however, that’s why it scared me.

As an individual Klout was tracking my personal relationships and not necessarily my business relationships; I network a lot and can pretty clearly indicate the potential clients I have spoken to as a result of my Tweeting, blogging or being on Facebook. I blog for clients, I have my own blog, my blog has its own Facebook page, however Klout was pulling information from my personal social media accounts instead of from where I truly wanted to consider my influence over others – From my actual work. Go ahead and measure how many times my business tweets have been responded to, or how many fans I have on my blog’s Facebook page or RSS followers on my blog, just don’t touch my personal information.

I can already determine how well my blog posts and websites rank, so for me the tool wasn’t providing anything I didn’t already know. I understand that sometimes my business and personal life converge into one persona, but Klout was using my personal network to measure my value exposing me to something I don’t want, an all-knowing Big Brother invasion of privacy.

If your business is using the metrics of Klout however, that might be a reason to keep or establish an account. Businesses what to know that the time spent online is being used efficiently. They depend on data to develop strategies and commit resources for the biggest return on their investment. Some companies are even using Klout scores to directly market their products and services to influencers. These are things to consider when considering using a social media platform or new tool.

As always, it all comes down to understanding how much time you have available, and how you allocate that time to get the biggest bang for your buck. Don’t choose to “Do” or “Not Do” something because someone tells you to. Choose to “Do” or “Not Do” it based upon your needs, resources and return on the investment!