A lot of people complain about the lack of transparency and inaccuracy of Klout because they have no idea how the Klout score is calculated. In Klout’s defense, Klout has dramatically improved its transparency. Klout now shows your past interactions from your social networks that contribute to your score. As with most things in life Klout is not 100% accurate. However, it is accurate enough to indicate whether you are interactive, influential, and engaging in your networks. If you are active and engaging, and consistently put out strong content that others are receptive to, it will be reflected by your high Klout score.
I want to stress that even though the Klout score is important, and is an attention grabber, it is not the end all to be all. It is a result of your social media activity, influence, and efforts.
What makes Up your Klout
The score is calculated tracking 400+ signals, using 10 different networks, over a 90 day period. Your social media activities from four months ago have no bearing on your current score. Below are the “ingredients” used to generate your Klout score.
If you receive likes, shares, and comments on the content you create, that indicates that your content has sparked engagement. If you receive mentions, that is an indicator that others are engaging with you and that also contributes to your score. The number of friends and subscribers have some bearing on your score but is somewhat insignificant. If you do not interact with them, the numbers do little good.
The number of retweets and mentions received on Twitter are an important contributor to your score. Being placed on list is also helpful to your score. The number of followers has very little impact. However, it is recommended to have more followers than users you are following, as long as the followers are real active accounts.
Google Plus Activity
All +1s, comments, mentions, and shares received on your Google Plus content play a part in your Klout score. As with Twitter, your follower count does not add much to your overall score. It is important to remember that your shared content must be public. Posts to individual circles are not picked up by Klout.
If you receive likes, comments, and mentions on your Instagram content, that will help your score.
Any saved tips and likes you receive on your check-ins help your score as well. While I have a high Klout score, I don’t use Foursquare much at all. I feel that your activity on Foursquare does not have the same impact as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Your LinkedIn title has some affect on your score. The higher level it is, the more impact it will have on your score. While number connections helps, the number of recommendations is most pivotal to your Klout score. Endorsements do not really help the cause. Receiving likes, shares, and comments on content you post is important. Like Foursquare, LinkedIn seems to be less important.
Giving and receiving +K’s from others in your networks has very little bearing on your score but nevertheless it does help. It is believed that if you receive Klout from anyone who you appoint as an influencer that it will help raise your score. From what I have witnessed, I have my doubts.
If you have a Wikipedia page, it will increase your score as having a Wikipedia page indicates that you are influential offline as well.
If you have pages and relevant articles you have written that were tagged on Bing that will help contribute to your score. Tagged article on Bing indicate that your influence goes beyond social media.
Good Answers to Questions
The question and answer platform is still a very new feature. It is in their plan to make well endorsed and shared answers that you may have given contribute to your score as well. Because this feature is new, I’m not sure how effective this is as of yet.
Tumblr is currently being tested by Klout so we should see that network added in the near future.
People also complain that Klout is inaccurate because it does not measure the contribution from your blogs. If you put out good blog posts and they receive comments, likes, +1’s, retweets, etc., then that is an indicator that your blog posts does indeed have an impact on your Klout. Besides, who will know about your new blog posts if don’t use social media?
Klout is constantly evolving and improving. In fact, they are working on methods to put more weight on content that receives engagement. For instance, if you are receiving engagement on irrelevant posts, that will have less of an impact on your score than receiving engagement on solid content that you share. The score may have its importance, but how others in your networks respond to what you put out is also significant. Content is king, and will always be king.