Klout has always occupied a strange place in the social media universe. Rather than presenting itself as the stereotypical social network, Klout was all about measuring influencer impact. By tracking the number of followers and types of engagements a user had on a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Klout would then generate a score between 0-100. The higher your number, the more impactful you’re considered to be on social media. A score above 60 meant you were at least nominally noteworthy.
Frankly, as far as we can see, Klout scores have not been particularly meaningful in influencing anyone’s networking decisions. Some brands were using Klout to determine who the relevant influencers in their industry were, subsequently reaching out to those individuals for marketing purposes, but this practice is far from widespread.
Now Klout is making moves to increase its relevance to a larger user base. Re/Code has reported that founder Joe Fernandez has stepped down from his leadership role; Klout itself has been acquired by Lithium, which provides enterprise level social media customer service experience software.
This week, Klout announced a new feature, Klout Topic Expertise. If you are a Klout user and you haven’t checked your account in a while, when you log in, you’ll be greeted with a congratulatory message that details the subjects Klout considers you to be an expert in. You can add these expertise to your profile, so when someone checks your Klout score, they’ll be able to see the subject areas you’re most well known for.
In many ways, this feature is similar to LinkedIn’s Endorsement system, although rather than depending on personal verification from others to determine your expertise, Klout appears to be doing it algorithmically. Be aware that the system may need some refining. My own topic expertise includes a mix of expected items like digital marketing and social media and some eye-brow raisers like football and salsa dancing – I may be a fan but I’m hardly an expert!
Will this new feature make Klout a more useful tool for business owners and brands? It can’t hurt, although only time will tell how reliable the topic expertise designation may be. If you’re active on Klout, adding the relevant expertise to your profiles can be a shrewd move.