Obsessed With Your Klout Score? You’re Doing It Wrong

All I can think of when I hear people talk about their Klout scores is the famous opening line from the popular TV Show Whose Line Is It Anyway:

Welcome to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” the show where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. That’s right, the points are just like Twinkies Lite. They do not mean a thing.”

Here’s the modern version for Klout: Welcome to Klout: the app where everything’s made up and your score doesn’t matter.

I hope this will stick for you and you pass it on, because it’s a perfect way to describe any form of influence score.

The premise of an influence score is inherently flawed. It is usually wrapped in marketing language to make it sound “official” but it is no more or less silly than those old sites that tell you how much your website is worth.Or HubSpot’s attempt at giving your website or blog an SEO or social media “grade.”

An influence score or automated grade just doesn’t work. It is attempting to take something qualitative and reduce it to quantitative, but not all data needs or should fit into quantitative. In a world obsessed with numbers it’s a brilliant play and I’m sure they’ll make lots of revenue being a score in marketing software, providing something quick and easy to add to reports. That’s what previous generation marketers want. But is it meaningful or actionable to any truly data-driven marketer focused on outcomes and conversions? Please.

There seems to be a boon in tools like Klout that measure influence or social analytics in general. Klout aside, for the most part businesses aren’t even ready for social data. There is far more wealth in their own web analytics that most don’t even use properly, and yes the order here matters. You probably already have all the tools and data you need to make decisions, if you’re not doing so now adding more to the mix is not going to help you.

In fact, it could actually hurt you. To those who have been marketing online for years, remember when people obsessed over toolbar pagerank? It has always been irrelevant and only an ego thing: the people who focused on the right metrics grew their sites and those who worried about meaningless scores didn’t go anywhere.

We’ve already shared the notion that you need to connect and build trust, not influence, so I don’t think we need to get into this too much further. Just persuading you not to use fluffy metrics to make decisions. Dump the garbage and focus on the critical few metrics. If Klout makes it into your critical few: wow, just wow.

I wasn’t going to write this post but I have heard enough nonsense and am calling shenanigans: modern marketers know better.