Our Measurement Menace of the Month Award goes out this time to anyone that uses a Klout score as a primary measure of performance. Here are a couple of examples.
Klout as an MBO? Get a Klue.
Klout, a controversial free tool that measures online social media activity, caused major agita recently when it changed its algorithm to include more social media channels and to “make it more accurate.” This was to the bubble that is social media marketing what October 23, 1929 was to Wall Street: People were (virtually) jumping out of windows.
I have been feverishly working at increasing the Klout score for my company, as it is part of my MBOs. Now, with a sudden 12 point drop, it will reflect poorly (and inaccurately) upon my efforts.
[Stunned look of total disbelief] Let’s hear that one again?
- Your MBOs are based on Klout???
What kind of an organization do you work for that relies on a free tool that, until recently, based its scores primarily on Twitter? Sure, go ahead and use Klout as one metric in your mix, but understand it for what it is. As Brad Fay said at the recent Social Media Measurement Standards Conclave, “90% of word-of-mouth is offline.” And, by the way, never put all your eggs in one basket.
- The 12 point drop will reflect poorly???
No. What reflects poorly is the fact that you are relying on Klout as a primary measure of success. Klout is just one tool, and it has both strengths and limitations. Remember, Klout recently improved its algorithm. Which means it wasn’t very reliable before. (As anyone who has ever looked carefully at their Klout results will tell you. Mine say that I’m influential on the topic of Syria. Is it just because I am a follower of @Andy Carvin and am fascinated with the Middle East? I certainly don’t influence anyone’s opinions on the topic.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming Klout. (Well, maybe just a little.) They provide a fun free service that lets people rank themselves against other people. It’s essentially Hot or Not for social media types. And just as I wouldn’t evaluate a potential husband on Hot or Not, I certainly wouldn’t consider Klout a valid metric for someone’s hire or raise. But lots of companies do.
A Klout Score: The Latest Fashion Accessory?
Bal Harbour Shops is promoting Kout as a must-have fashion accessory. They required attendees to have a Klout Score over 40 to get into their “oh so exclusive” Fashion Week party.
Now, I grew up literally surrounded by fashion; my mother was Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Which would probably qualify me as being at least somewhat influential in fashion. (And, anyway, my Klout score of 67 would have admitted me to the party. So there.)
But here's the wrinkle: I find spending a lot of money on clothes to be morally repugnant. In fact, I buy all my business and dress clothes at Goodwill. You'll never see me speak in anything but a Goodwill outfit. It's my way of reducing my carbon footprint, keeping stuff out of landfills, and creating jobs in America. And, oh yeah, getting well-crafted classic fashions at low prices. So I would far rather spend a month in a tent at Occupy Wall Street than be a customer of Bal Harbour Shops.
Now, if I blog about that often enough will I be even more influential on fashion? And would that influence ever lead to a purchase at Bal Harbour Shops? Probably not.
So to these examples and to all organizations out there that are measuring success via Klout scores, you are our Menaces of the Month. Congrats. --KDP
Katie Delahaye Paine is CEO of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements.