There are a lot of tools available to help businesses and entrepreneurs measure their social influence. Some are free and others are for a fee. Do we need a tool to measure our influence? How does one measure social media influence anyways? Even if we use a free tool, our time isn’t free. Our time is valuable and any effort that we expend needs to evaluated. Whatever our goals are, we need to ensure that what we’re doing is achieving the results that we want.

Social Media Analytics:

So how exactly do these tools work? How is influence measured? Are we measuring it with sheer numbers of followers? Do we measure it by who is following us? By how many followers they have? Are these numbers important at all or are they merely numbers?

Klout Score “Measures Influence Based on your Ability to Drive Action.”

The above is a direct quote from the about page on the Klout website. Now, I’m not here to review Klout. I’m writing this because I can’t seem to be online for more than an hour or so without being klouted, klouting someone or reading about Klout. There has been a lot written lately about measuring social influence and a lot of very knowledgeable people are on both sides.

I visit Klout (almost) on a daily basis and my score hovers around 60. Personally, I don’t know if Klout can accurately measure my influence. I don’t know if there’s any tool that can. I don’t participate in Klout because I’m trying to increase my score. My score is of less value to me than the opportunities that participating in Klout affords me. So am I wasting my time? (I’m sure some of you think I am.) I don’t think so. I believe that Klout is just one more tool in my arsenal.

3 reasons I pay Attention to Klout:

1.)    By looking at the topics that Klout says I’m influential in, I can see if I’m building awareness in the niches that I’m targeting. Ideally, I’d want to score high in entrepreneurship, business strategy, social networking and blogging. When I look at my score, I can see that I’m not ranking in business strategy at all but I am ranking for American Idol. (For those of you who remember, I wrote a post on lessons bloggers can learn from watching that show.) So, I need to start tweeting more about business strategies and make sure I’m using the right hashtags.

 2.)     Klout is an easy way for me to reward influential people in my circle of influence and to attract new people to my blog. When I give someone a +K, I send out a tweet which often gets RT’d. The recipient of the +K feels good about what I’ve done and often will reciprocate. It’s a win-win for both of us and it’s a quick and easy way to build awareness. (I’ve been klouted by bloggers who I didn’t even know knew me. If I look at their profile, I often see that they’re a follower of someone I gave a +K to.)

 3.)     When someone gives me a +K, the hash tag of the topic is tweeted along with my twitter name (if they choose to tweet it which I believe most people do). So, it helps me to build awareness and establish me as an authority in the areas that I’m scoring well in.  Since I spend about 5 minutes a day on Klout, we’re not talking a big investment of time here.

 ROI – Return on Investment

One of the reasons that I am active on Twitter is that the ROI for me is very good. On average, I spend roughly 15 minutes to a half hour a day on Twitter (occasionally more). In return, it has been my number one source of referral traffic consistently for the last eight months and the percentage of traffic that it is generating is consistently increasing.

By incorporating Klout into my Twitter time, I have a fairly streamlined process that hasn’t really altered what I was already doing. Not only am I driving new traffic to my site, I am attracting readers who are genuinely involved in conversation and the exchange of ideas. So, for me personally, I intend to continue building relationships using tools and networking sites like Twitter and Klout.

What do you think? What is your take on Klout? Do you think it’s a waste of time or do you think it’s worth a shot? Have you paid any attention to it at all and if you have, what is your experience with it? If you haven’t and don’t intend to, please feel free to share that too. I can practically guarantee you’re not alone feeling that way.

Original Article by Sherryl Perry. Please make sure to visit her website, she is an amazing social media blogger!

Posted by: Shane Barker