Klout is a wonderful little tool that measures Klout Score, a proxy for “influence”:
It is easy to understand the market demand to boil things down to one number, but this is perhaps the least useful thing in Klout.
While on the surface they might seem useful, I am always suspicious of compound metrics. They can be subjective, inapplicable to many and efficiently hide the insights you need to understand what actions to take. [See more here for Compound Metrics: Four Not Useful KPI Measurement Techniques]
Mercifully there is so much more to Klout than that.
Klout measures a bunch of lovely metrics, specifically applicable to Twitter, that are grouped into four buckets: Reach, Demand, Engagement (!!) :), Velocity.
There are two lovely things about these computations.
1. Joe and team have wonderfully avoided the temptation make these compound metrics (as in Reach = Followers / Total Retweets * Friends + Pixie Dust). The factors used are laid out as individual metrics making it easy for you understand the data and pick metrics that work for you.
2. (My favorite) The metric definitions are not “crap”. This seems like such a low bar to meet, sadly far too often metrics out there (not just for twitter) are just plain shoddy.
For example here are some clean definitions from Klout:
* How diverse is the group that @ messages you?
* Are you broadcasting or participating in conversation?
* How likely are you to be retweeted?
* Do a lot of people retweet you or is it always the same few followers?
* Are your tweets interesting and informative enough to build an audience?
* How far has your content been spread across Twitter?
* Are people adding you to lists and are those lists being followed?
When I use Klout I simply pick the metrics that are most important to my own twitter strategy.
I would suggest that this is very very very very important, pick what is right for you rather then following a lemmings like strategy of “I am going to use metrics Y & Z that someone recommends”.
Here’s an example: I don’t care about Follower/Follow Ratio. I think it is disingenuous to follow everyone who follows you just for appearances sake when you have no intention of reading what they all say. Why be fake?
As you might have read in the new book I like “Message Amplification” in Social Media, and hence I do care a lot about Total Retweets.
[Sidebar: my favorite twitter metric is: # Of Retweets Per Thousand Followers, it’s a measure of efficiency and value provided and people voting with their clicks, all rolled into one!]
I care a lot about Follower Retweet % (”Do a lot of people retweet you or is it always the same few followers?”) because I want to appeal to more people than my mom, dad, and best friend!
One of the biggest mistake companies and brands make about Twitter is that they think it is one more “shout channel” like TV and Radio and Magazine ads or Press Releases. Twitter is not that. Twitter is a “conversation channel”, a place where you can find the audience relevant to you (and your company and products and services and jihad) and engage in a conversation with them. It is not pitching, it is enriching the value of the ecosystem by participating.
Hence I like the metric Messages Per Outbound Message , as a primitive measure of the fact that you are participating in a conversation and not just yelling.
With Klout I can choose the metrics that best reflect my personal twitter strategy, I can easily find them and I can monitor my progress (using a handy dandy graph) and ensure my strategy is a success.
Your strategy might be different. Walk up to the buffet and pick the metrics that will help you best measure your own success.
At the bottom of the Stats tab Klout also includes a handy dandy Analysis table with trend indicators. . . .
As an Analyst it might be of some value to look at the trend pointers at the bottom (clearly I am doomed!), it might be cute to put this into a PowerPoint slide for the HiPPO’s who might like the Chinese fortune cookie messages for each metric group.