A Beginner's Guide to Klout

So what is Klout and why does it matter? Klout measures influence across the social web. We assign a Klout Score from 1 to 100 based on your ability to drive action. We also find your most influential topics, your influencers, who you influence, as well as other stats surrounding your influence. Think of it as a social credit score that will increasingly impact your life.

How do we Score? We believe influence is the ability to drive action. We are not focused on follower or friend count but instead look at social actions such as Retweets, @messages, likes, and comments. If you have a lot of highly influential people engaging with you on a regular basis you will have a high Score. We score based on Twitter and Facebook (more networks coming soon) Learn more.

How can I use Klout as an individual?

  • Benchmark your own success: Note as your own (or your business’s) Klout Score goes up or down. If there’s a dramatic change that indicates something you’re doing is working (or not). You can also check out our tips for increasing your Score.
  • Get Klout Perks: If you’re registered for Klout you’re eligible to receive Perks such as early access to products or exclusive events. We’ll notify you when you’ve received a Perk. Learn More.
  • Recognize people who influence you: We recently introduced the ability to +K (give Klout) to people on the topics they have influence you on. This is a powerful way to thank the people in your network. Learn more.
  • Find out who you influence: Your Klout profile shows you who you influence and how many people are in your True Reach. This can help you understand if your message is reaching your audience and who is really listening.

How can I use Klout as a business or application?

  • Engage with influencers: Businesses can use Klout Perks to connect with top influencers in a given topic and offer them the chance to try your product. Learn more.
  • Know who to connect to: Look at the Klout Scores of the people in your community to find out how to most effectively use your time. Those with high Klout Scores have the ability to impact a large audience. You can use tools like Hootsuite, Cotweet, Seesmic, or even Klout Chrome and Firefox Twitter extensions to help you do this. Look not just at Klout Score but at their topics of influence and who influences them to understand what they care about.
  • Use Klout data: If you’re an application looking to integrate Klout data we have an API you can use. Learn more.

What’s the story on the company itself?

We’re a startup in San Francisco, founded by Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran in 2008. We’re VC funded and we have about 40 employees. We believe everyone has influence and our mission is to help people understand and grow that influence. And, yes, we do check our own Klout Scores. Learn more.

Let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!


Klout Perks 101

You may have noticed that a new section appeared on our site — Klout Perks. Klout Perks started over a year ago based on our belief that everyone has Klout and that your influence should earn you Perks.

Klout Perks are exclusive offers or experiences, given as a result of your Klout. Perks allow brands to connect with influencers in their area of expertise. Our goal is to promote authentic conversation, so we have a strict code of ethics for our program. Influencers can tell the world they love the product, hate the product, or say nothing at all.

Check out some examples of Klout Perks:

  • Audi invited top design, technology and luxury influencers to test drive their new 2011 Audi A8 at exclusive events. A few lucky winners were awarded all-expense-paid weekend trips with the car.
  • Universal Pictures invited top entertainment influencers to screen the Adjustment Bureau before it was released in theaters.
  • Hewlett Packard offered top film influencers an HP laptop pre-loaded with the top films from Cinequest film festival.

“We believe that companies can no longer simply judge each customer by the lifetime value of what they spend with them. Every individual now has a network value based on their ability to leverage word of mouth and social media to influence their network and spread the word about a product or service. We all have friends we turn to when making purchasing decisions. If I am looking to buy a car or new computer I will definitely ask my co-founder Binh — I don’t care that Hewlett-Packard has Jay-z or Shaun White saying how great their computers are. I am not buying one until Binh says I should. Klout recognizes influencers like Binh and the impact they have on the decisions of their network.” Joe Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of Klout

Q & A:

Q. How do I get a Klout Perk?
A: Influencers are chosen for Perks based on their Klout Score, topical influence, location, and other factors specific to each campaign. It’s not just about having the highest score, but about being an expert in a topic related to the Perk. For instance, if your friends follow your every word when it comes to coffee, you may see a coffee related Perk from Klout. When Klout has the right Perk for you, we’ll notify you via email or @message.

Q. What if I’m interested in running a Klout Perk for my company or brand?
A: Shoot an email to partners@klout.com and someone will be in touch. Thanks for your interest!

Q. Do you run Klout Perks campaigns internationally?
A: We are predominately focused on the US, but we have run several international campaigns and are hoping to do more in the future.

Spotlight on Klout Perks: Virgin America Campaign

“You have so much Klout that Virgin America has asked us to give you a free roundtrip flight to San Francisco or LA.” With this line, it all started. The campaign was featured in Mashable, The Los Angeles Times, CNN Money and more.

So, how did it work? Virgin America was launching a new route to Toronto and looked to Klout to help them build buzz around it. We did this by giving free roundtrip flights to 120 top Twitter influencers so they could get a chance to experience the route (and Virgin America’s great service) for themselves.

This is a model we’ve used for campaigns with many other major brands such as Starbucks, Covergirl, and Fox. Targeting influencers allows brands and marketers to ensure their product is reaching the right hands. We have a very strict code of conduct; we do not buy tweets or require any response from influencers who participate in one of our Perks.

Brands and marketers have always given special treatment to influencers, we are highlighting a new group of influencers who are valued based on the content they create. Welcome to the Klout Meritocracy.

Let us know if you have any questions. We would love it if you could nominate us for Most Creative Social Media Campaign in the Mashable Awards.