Measuring your social Klout
By Anna Malczyk
The ability to measure and analyse your marketing reach online – often called analytics – is one of the most powerful benefits of internet marketing. Being able to extract data and act on it in real time makes online campaigns very powerful and effective. However, analytics tools have struggled to assess the reach and effectiveness of social media. Social media’s raw data consists of uncountable and unquantifiable elements like complex networks, personal influence and human nuances, rather than the much more straightforward information on page visits, clicks and time spent that can be extracted from a website.
Klout, a social media analytics tool, aims to measure your online social influence and ability to compel others to take action by extracting a range of data from your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Its goal is to “help every individual understand and leverage their influence.” Klout measures over 35 factors and gives users a total score out of 100 that indicates what type of influence, and how much of it, the user is exerting. It then breaks the data up into more specific components, such as network influence (how influential your overall network is) and amplification probability (how likely others are to share and act on your messages). Your “true reach” is the number of people who constitute your engaged audience.
In addition, it analyses your “Klout style”, which indicates what type of influencer you are. Curators, for example, share a broad range of content and participate often, but they rarely create their own messages. Specialists post consistent and focused content, but tend to listen more than they participate. Socialisers are somewhere in the middle, posting a fair number of messages and balancing both participation with listening, and sharing with creating. Understanding your style helps you improve your influence: if you spend too much time listening, try participating more actively. If you only share content, try creating some of your own.
There are many online tools and tricks for measuring social media reach, some more effective than others. The most basic method involves tracking mentions of specific keywords, such as a brand name, but this provides only the barest sense of how far the company’s influence goes, and doesn’t provide any information about the nature of the mention or the behaviour that results. More sophisticated tools aim to decipher the sentiment in the messages by analysing word choice and tone. Klout measures the impact of social behaviour on the network as a whole, rather than presenting discrete points of data like number of reposts or duration of engagement. It also focuses on social actions like sharing and replying rather than data like follower count, aiming to ensure that the result covers active influence rather than sheer volume.
While no analytics tool is perfect, Klout can give marketers and businesspeople a good introductory lesson in how well they are using social media – and where they can improve.
The part-time University of Cape Town Internet Marketing short course is presented online throughout South Africa. Visit www.getsmarter.co.za for more information.