by Ted Rubin (@tedrubin)
What does it mean when the “Standard for Influence” company (Klout) makes a change in its algorithm that seems to suggest a change in its standard as many Klout “Online Success Scores” dropped significantly overnight? It means they’re crazy to make the change…or… are they crazy like a fox???
Whether or not you subscribe to the value (and validity) of their scoring system, you need to pay attention to what Klout is doing – both through the way they rank your brand, and what they are doing as a company.
Personally, I’m not sure I really care how Klout ranks me, so I don’t place much weight on my actual score. However, the Klout ranking is definitely on the mind of many, and many of the people who work with us or engage us use the Klout score as a measure… so we can’t simply ignore it. If nothing else, use it as a simplistic way to gauge where you stand in relation to others, but beware of using it as a gauge of where you stand with yourself! If your Klout score dropped significantly and you live in your own little world and concerned only with keeping your score up, you probably panicked. But if you see the score as only holding value in relation to others, you probably noticed that the score of many others in your sphere of influence also dropped… so in totality, nothing really changed!
I am actually glad that Klout’s algorithm change has caused such uproar, because it gives me (and others) a chance to say once again that it is not the numbers that count – it’s the Relationships! When it’s all about the numbers, we run the very real risk of basing multi-million dollar decisions on a surface level popularity contest. High school tactics are not a smart way to run a business. When it’s all about relationships, however, we instead build ongoing connections that over time wisely influence strategy-level change and innovation.
But back to Klout. One thing many are missing is that Klout has done a remarkable job branding themselves and selling through to the corporate/branding world; therefore, if “they” care, we as marketers and influencers need to care. We cannot operate in a vacuum and still expect to be relevant, interesting, or valuable to those in our networks.
Also, notice that this algorithm change has Klout clearly and quite visibly in the media and gaining a huge amount of attention…always a good thing when marketing to corporate America. This attention is tremendous for their brand awareness, and relevance, when it may have been slipping. Just think about all the conversation going on about Klout now and I am sure for a few months to come. It may not be the way all of us choose to draw attention, but in my opinion, we need to give them credit for their level of influence right now. Remember above all else, to survive and create a revenue stream, Klout has evolved as a marketing agency first, a measurement company second.
So, I repeat my initial question: Was Klout crazy to make the change… or crazy like a fox? What do YOU think??