How do Social Networks Impact your Career? Klout it Out!

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on February 25, 2013

This is a time when social media innovations are surging. Globally the e-footprint of social network users is increasing. We are not just spending more time on social networks, but also spending time on more social networks. While facebook and twitter are currently leading the race, there are several social networks popular among the users like Google+, LinkedIn, Myspace, Tumblr and Pinterest, etc. Social media presence is today being used to hire suitable people for organizations. Recruiters are active on professional sites like LinkedIn and have marked their presence on other sites such as twitter and facebook. There was however a need to have a consolidated view of all the social networks for a person. This gap has been filled now by Klout!

What is Klout?

Klout is a new age social media platform which tells the user about the influence on Social Networks. Currently Klout focuses on facebook, twitter, linkedin, foursquare and google+ to calculate a score of influence. The Klout score is determined by various data points collected from social networks such as:

- Tweets, Retweets and Mentions from Twitter

- Comments, Wall Posts and Likes from Facebook

- Comments, Reshares and +1s from Google+

- Comments and Likes from LinkedIn

- Tips from Foursquare

The factors it considers to calculate the score are:

- True Reach: The number of people users influences

- Amplification: How much the user influences people through the posts, comments or tweets

- Network: The influence of the people in the network of the user

Klout intends to add other social networks to its score in the near future. Though the Klout score is between 1 and 100, the average score is not 50, instead, it is 20. The score increases with exponential increase in social media activities. So it is easier to move from 20 to 30 than 50 to 60. The higher a user goes, more difficult it becomes to further increase the score.

Klout also shows a list of those in user’s network who are influencers, as well as those who are influenced, and the topics which user is most influential in.  It also tells what it thinks style of a user’s social network profile is: a Curator, a Broadcaster, a Taste Maker, a Celebrity, a Syndicator, a Feeder, a Thought Leader, a Pundit, a Dabbler, a Conversationalist, a Socializer, a Networker, an Observer, an Explorer, an Activist, or a Specialist. It does so by placing people on a grid with different parameters such as Participating, Sharing, Creating, Broad, Focussed, Consistent, Casual and Listening. Klout also includes perks (freebies offered to make the score important) and achievements.

Most interesting thing is unlike any other social media website, Klout may affect an individual even if he is not a part of it. Everyone with an active twitter account has a Klout score. Though there is an option of opting out, but everyone on twitter does exist by default before doing so. So it is not surprising if during an interview, the interviewer rejects a candidate for low Klout score even if the candidate has never heard of Klout. In fact, it is not a hypothetical scenario, rather an incident that has already happened. Marketing consultant Sam Fiorella during an interview was asked of his Klout score of social media influence. He was not aware of what Klout was, but still the interviewer went ahead to check the score which came out to be 34. He was rejected despite 15 years of achievements for a person with almost twice the influence score on Klout.

Why Klout?

For several jobs, it is important that a person has a strong social media influence. In any field where social media activity is essential, like social media marketing or Public Relations, people with higher influence over social media platforms would be preffered. A person with higher klout score can be inferred to have higher influence. So Klout score gives recruiters additional criteria to hire or not to hire a candidate.

Is Klout reliable?

There are several doubts regarding the algorithm of Klout. It has even been criticized by some of the parties since Klout has refused to reveal the exact algorithm behind the score. However, there are people who feel Klout really works. Despite the belief it would be risky to completely rely on Klout for hiring decisions. It may be used as additional criteria but not the only one.

There can be instances where people may buy a higher Klout score like people buy facebook friends and twitter followers. The concept of giving +K increases Klout score. Sale and purchase of +K is also possible. Another interesting thing is, if a user generally has a low Klout score, and his birthday fell within past 90 days of the job interview, due to multiple wishes on the wall by friends and acquaintances, the Klout score would be higher than normal. This inflation would remain till 90 days of the birthday (this is the period for which Klout calculates the score), so even if someone is wished by 100 or so friends, Klout score is not an accurate indicator of influence for the recruiter.

Klout for Recruiters

On the basis of the above mentioned facts and views, it can be concluded that Klout has both positive and negative sentiments towards its reliability. However, it can surely be used as one of the most popular score for social media influence in the near future. Though it does have some competitors such as PeerIndex and Kred, Klout is certainly more popular. Considering the long term view, either Klout will stay strong (which will likely be the case owing to invester confidence with a total venture funding of $40million) or another scoring mechanism would become popular. The thing which is sure is that now since this concept has been introduced, marketers and recruiters would consider some measure to calculate the influence of people on social networking websites. Till then, we can just Klout it Out!

This article has been authored by Kanika Bansal and Varun Arora from LBSIM.

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