Why Your Klout Score Doesn’t Matter (but you should track it anyway)

Today, everyone is in a tizzy about Klout. Like an old lady fidgeting with her non-supportive dollar store bra, they’ve done some readjusting, and the results are not good (for most people). Scores have dropped left and right, and people are freaking out. Most of the people throwing a fit are people who claim that they don’t care about their Klout scores anyway, but that’s perhaps a post for another way. What I want to talk about today is the idea that your klout score doesn’t matter.

Pay attention to what I’m saying so you don’t miss the point.

It’s your SCORE that doesn’t matter. Klout matters. A lot. The service is the best in the business for measuring just how influential you really are online. It can help advertisers make decisions and it can help bloggers understand where they need improvement. I love Klout.

But the score they give you is just a number.

Today, your score probably dropped. And it didn’t just dip down, it retro-actively dropped, so you can actually see how you’ve really been doing over the past several months. But even though your number is lower, you haven’t changed. It didn’t drop because you’re “engaging” any more or less. It didn’t drop because your fans suddenly hate you and the horse you rode in on. It didn’t drop because you’ve been doing anything wrong. It just dropped because the system recalibrated.

This is a good thing because it means that scores are more accurate. When I visited Klout in the past to track my own score, I couldn’t help but think that some of the scores were a bit inflated. A good example: someone with a much higher Klout score than me was an affiliate for one of my past products. This person tweeted several times about my product, but didn’t make a single sale. Another friend with a much lower Klout score than me was also an affiliate. This person sold several copies of my ebook. So who was really more influential.

I know – other factors, like target market for example, affected the sales. But that’s the point. Klout is just a number. It doesn’t dictate what you can and cannot do. You should track it because it can help you determine your own strengths and weakness (and correct problems), but the actual digits you see, the number itself, doesn’t matter. Look at the graphs they provide without caring where on the big 0 to 100 scale you fall. Are you see progress, an upswing, continued growth? Then you’re doing a good job. Are you stagnant or falling? Then you might have some issues you can work on.

Another way to look at the situation:

Let’s say that you’re using some third-party stats program to measure your blog’s traffic. According to this program, you get 1000 visits a day. Respectable, though you are continuously looking for ways to improve. Suddenly, the company providing your states goes bankrupt and you need to switch. So you do – this time going with Google analytics, since it seems to be the industry standard. after a few days, you log in to check your stats and you’re mortified. According to Google’s tracking, you only get 500 visits a day. Why the discrepancy? Spiders, inaccuracies, who knows? But the fact of the matter is that you weren’t doing nearly as well as you thought.

But you as a blogger…you haven’t changed. You still get the same amount of comments on your blog posts. You still earn the same amount of money in affiliate sales and PPC advertising. You’re still working to get better.  The “drop” is only perceived because someone attached a different number to what you were doing.

One more example:

Let’s say that you’re rolling along with your 1000 hits a day. Then, you change all your links to open in a new window, whereas previously they bounced people away from your site. Because of this, fewer people hit the back button or type in your address a second time, because the window is still open. But at the same time, because the window is still open, fewer people forget about your site and spend more time clicking around it after they’re done with the link you gave them. (This isn’t what will necessarily happy if you set all your links to open in new windows, but let’s just say that it does in our example.) Your overall traffic numbers stay completely the same, 1000 hits per day. But people use your site completely differently. Your sales jump, you get more sign-ups for your mailing list, and your posts get more comments. The numbers show that you’re holding steady, but in real life, things very different.

My point is that when you fixate too much on a specific number, you miss out on the big picture. Numbers definitely matter, but accuracy and analysis matter more. Klout’s tweaks are a good thing because they make accuracy and analysis better and easier. So even though you might be a bit disappointed to see a lower score on your profile right now, turn this into something good for yourself. Track your new and improved score to constantly better your online efforts – and embrace any changes that will make it better and easier for you to do so.

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Allison

Head zombie wrangler here at Blog Zombies. Obsessed with all things social media. Lover of shenanigans and pancakes. Definitely not a ninja.

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