Want to Be Influential? Stop Worrying About Your Klout Score

I realize that by writing this, I am contributing to Klout pandemonium.

The last two days, everybody is asking – while pretending they never look or don’t care about their Klout scores – what happened to the Klout scores. Every major blogger – perhaps to beef up their Klout score – is doing a story on… Klout scores. Even those who dip their toes in social media waters all too infrequently (and yet care far too much about issues like Klout scores) are complaining about their numbers dipping 6, 11, 18 points overnight.

Fact is… real clout takes some effort – and a long-term commitment to engaging via social media to build relationships; to build influence.

That is really what Klout is about, right? Influence? To the point we’ve made the word “influence” a cliché, a buzzword. Soon, we’ll begin seeing the word “influence” on as many resumes and sales pitches as we do “passion” and “disruptive”.

If you want to be influential – you must put in the effort, both online and offline.

And it isn’t that hard to get started. Anyone could dramatically change their Klout score by joining Twitter chats like #jobhuntchat or #leadershipchat. Or, they could write a blog or two and begin to build an online brand. These two “best practices” alone could gain a person a couple hundred followers in a very short time.

The next step in expanding their burgeoning sphere of influence is to leverage online contacts in a variety of ways that could be considered old-school engagement:

  • Attending a coffee chat, a meet-up, or an industry conference
  • Continue to create original and helpful thoughts, and express them IRL and online
  • Be a good digital and community citizen – by giving as much as receiving
  • Serve as a mentor, be mentored – or both
  • Impress other influencers so they become champions and advocates
  • When a colleague visits their hometown… buy a coffee and just talk

Despite the power of social media, which provides introductions to new faces faster than most of us could have imagined, nothing builds better relationships than good, old-fashioned face-to-face interaction!

Influence is not based on some arbitrary Klout score that can be determined by some constantly changing algorithm. Clout – with a ‘c’ – is based on sincerity, traction and genuine effort.

And it must be earned.


About the Author: A passionate supporter of Gen Y talent, CEO and Founder of YouTern Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter: @YouTernMark.

This entry was posted in Networking, Social Media and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Excellent article, Mark.  If Klout says they are important, does that make it so?  If I say I am important, am I?

    Well, in my mind I am and in their minds they are too.  Right now, that’s where it ends.  Anyone can say they are important but until you’ve got a consensus that agrees with you, the words are nothing more than words.

    Thanks for setting the record straight!


    • Thank you, Marc… very glad you enjoyed the post. Wholeheartedly agree that talking about yourself (self-proclaimed “experts” and “gurus” take note) in the positive means nothing; best to let others say good about you… by earning it.

  • Lisa

    Mark, I’m so glad for your breath of fresh air on this subject. I have not been a fan of Klout since it launched. As a long time educator, I see Klout akin to the issues we in educational reform are fighting against everyday:grading and assessments!
    I’m active, as an educator in Social Media to mentor, support, inspire, engage, collaborate.
    I’m not in SM to be “graded” or “assessed” on what,or how well I do it. I agree that we need to always monitor our digital footprint and be responsible in the way we engage, and I seek to do that everyday. And I like, you completely enjoy the relationships I’ve built over the last 2 years, since I began my journey and plan to continue to enhance those.
    Many thanks again, for this great reflection.

  • Mark, great post.  It’s a great reminder that Influence comes from more than producing great content, but based on what makes Influence in real life, trust and generosity – the basis of strong connections between anybody.  

    My company is launching Kred very soon (http://kred.ly) which works through the issues cited in your post in a number of ways.  We separate Influence (one’s ability to produce action) and Outreach (the propensity to share).  We also integrate the offline world by including points for Offline Kred for those who send us PDFs of their real life achievements.  

    Very best,

  • I hear you… but think as a separate issue, it’s bad form for a product to change like that with no notice. I had set some Klout goals for our social media intern to meet this quarter because I wanted her to have a quantified accomplishment to talk about during her post-graduation job search. I am not sure if I have time to figure out how the new Klout works right how, and I’m not sure they know themselves yet, either!

  • Pingback: 9 Rookie Networking Mistakes You’re Making Right Now | MBA Highway - MBA Job Search and Career Network()

  • Pingback: 9 Rookie Networking Moves That Hurt Your Personal Brand | The Savvy Intern by YouTern()

  • Pingback: Common Networking Mistakes()