K is for…KLOUT

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Do you have Klout?   And no, I’m not referring to that meeting where you went 6 rounds with a particularly difficult CEO.  As regular readers of this blog will know, the 21st century Interim has a good grasp of all things social media. So, once you’ve mastered the basics of Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook, it’s time to get really serious about your online presence.

Founded in 2008, KLOUT is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank it’s users according to their online social influence. Eh? Social Media Analytics?  Yes people, that’s the technical term for the practice of gathering and analyzing the data from those clever algorithms which power search engines like Google. It’s most commonly used by brands to identify customer preference, in order to find out what they like, and then sell more stuff!

Klout uses analytics to measure the size of a user’s social media network.  A social ‘aggregator’, it works by correlating the content created and measuring how other users interact with that content. In other words, how influential you are online. Your ‘Klout Score’ is a number from 1 to 100. In case you think this isn’t really important, here are some other numbers:

  • Over 200,000 businesses use Klout across the globe
  • Each day Klout analyses around 12 billion social signals
  • There are over 620 million ‘scored’ users. That’s the population of China’s top 15 cities!

Klout is rapidly becoming the global standard by which both brands and individuals measure their social influence. So how does this relate to being an interim?  Well, every time you post on Linked-In, enter a search term in Google or tweet, you are creating social media content.  So far, so Google+…However, it’s not just your contribution to social media that matters – increasingly your influence – i.e. your Klout Score – is an important factor in your job search. Creating and sharing content is a means of marketing your brand as an interim.  But, by providing useful content you are effectively increasing your visibility and establishing thought leadership.  And engaging with your online network can put you front of the queue when opportunity comes knocking!

For example, my Klout scores indicate that I am in the top 1.0% of people talking about Consulting, the top 0.2% of people mentioning Management, and the top 1.2% of people whose topic du jour is Leadership.  As an interim specializing in Transformation, it’s important that I’m seen as an expert in the fields that matter.  The app also lets me see which of my tweets and blogs have garnered the most interactions, so I can keep track of the content that is genuinely connecting with people in my network.

Savvy companies are also actively using social media as a means to vet potential candidates. Yes, now really is the time to unfriend your former client on Facebook and restrict all professional connections to Linked-In!   Of course, an arbitrary number isn’t necessarily going to indicate whether you are worthier than another person with similar skills and background, but it can give you the edge.  In life and in business, we all want to know whether the people we interact with (and their digital persona) are credible and can be trusted.

As with all internet based tools, the decision whether to use Klout is entirely up to you. I find it useful, but I’d love to know what you think?  Comments on the blog, please.

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