Klout is a Catch-22

I admit it – my Klout score worries me. It’s not my actual numeric score of 45 that concerns me -or the fact that it was previously a 51 before the new Klout algorithm/criteria hocus pocus went into effect. What bothers me is that – as a solo professional services entrepreneur – I really don’t know how much my Klout score is under the scrutiny of prospective clients. And what do they consider a “good” or a “bad” Klout score?

For readers who aren’t in tune with Klout, it’s been around since 2008, and it measures your online influence (on a scale of 1 – 100). It analyzes your impact on others via the content that you create and your engagement with others across the social media networks where you have a presence. Klout recently revamped its formula for calculating influence; as a result, most individuals and companies saw a significant drop in their scores.

The brutal reality for solopreneurs – professional services solopreneurs whose time truly is money – is that we’re not always capable of carving out enough time each day to engage on all our social networks in the interest of making our Klout scores more impressive to prospects. Sure, there are some helpful (free or almost free) tools out there like BufferApp, HootSuite, TweetDeck, and many more to make us more efficient, but they all take some time, too.

What micro-business owners like me are faced with (other solopreneurs, please jump in and confirm or deny if this is true for you, too) is that when business is good, when we’re at capacity with paid work, our time for and effort focused on social media takes a hit. It’s a catch-22. Making the cash, but unable to fuel the social media engine (and stoke the Klout score) to boost our brands and gain prospects. And if more and more prospective clients consider Klout scores when evaluating who they do business with – we’re at a disadvantage even though we’re actively delivering excellence to our paying clients.

So, what’s the magic bullet? I sure wish I knew. For now though, my suggested plan is this:

  1. When the good fortune of good work is with you, put forth the majority of your time and effort on your paying clients.
  2. Engage and interact on social media as best you can within the time constraints you’re faced with. (But don’t ever completely ignore your social networks. ALWAYS respond and recognize comments and customer interaction when they occur)
  3. Don’t give your Klout score too much clout. Be aware of it, but don’t obsess over it. If it slips because you’ve been in demand professionally and don’t have as much time to devote to social media…well, it’s likely you’ve established enough of a following and credibility to ride out the occasional Klout downgrade.

How much clout do you give Klout scores? Please comment and share your thoughts!

Some recent Klout-related tweets that caught my eye:

@sacca: Just deleted my @klout account. Conversations are better when no one is keeping score.

@sparker: How is my Klout score (79) higher than Justin Timberlake (77) with just over 1% of his followers? (92,538 vs. 6,666,339)

@sparker: That was a rhetorical question designed to increase my Klout score.

@DabneyPorte: Klout is a joke.

@TheHospitalClub: Klout is starting to have an impact on real life – you can’t get some interviews or into some parties without a klout score of 50 or 40

@SharonHayes: I tweet/interact with people that I like, not because of their scores on sites like Klout.

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