If you've been following my recent blog posts you'll know that I'm currently obsessed with simplifying social media and removing white noise and clutter from all our output. What do I mean by white noise? I mean the endless automated quotes, the repetitive clickbait, the constant stream of 'you'll never guess what happened next' posts that plague our timelines and don't add any value to our messages or dilute the impact of what we're trying to achieve. The very things we tell our clients to avoid using if they want to be taken seriously.
In the first two weeks of my obsession, I switched off all my automated posts, all my curated content and instead focused on writing original content for my blog and for my regular scheduled posts. I also decided to only share articles that I'd personally read and agreed with, that I thought my followers would appreciate reading too. For me, this felt like the right thing to do. To focus on genuine, authentic content that helped my audience get to know me. It meant no distractions, no clutter, no white noise, just quality over quantity.
Now, before we go much further, let me tell you a little about Klout. In the social media world we're all looking for validation, looking for a scoring system that somehow shows where we rank in relation to other social media professionals and influencers. To date, Klout is the only recognised measure we have. It's makers keep it's calculation algorithms a tightly guarded secret, but it's supposed to reward users based on value, engagement and genuine discussion on social media platforms with a score between 1 - 100, with 1 being the lowest and 100 being the highest.
As a result of this scoring system (as invariably there is with any scoring system) a certain elitism has been created by those who have been able to break the fabled #Klout70 score and who are therefore more 'social' than the rest of us. Indeed, I've been approached by users offering me work all over the world if I could break that fabled barrier and become one of the 'elite'. If you're interested, my highest score to date has been 69, just 1 digit away from joining the elite and apparently from securing myself all the work I could want.
Since removing all the white noise and automated drivel from my timelines, my score has slumped to an all time low of 64. It's dropped 5 points because I chose to focus on quality. It's dropped despite the increase in engagement I've seen from my followers and the support I've received for seemingly doing the right thing. But according to Klout, I am still in the top 0.1% of 'experts' in my field. And that is why Klout is no longer your friend. From my experience and anecdotal evidence from colleagues, it doesn't reward true engagement at all. It actually rewards noise, it rewards clutter, it rewards ceaseless broadcasting and talking 'at' people. All the things that we social media professionals denounce as bad practice.
Yet we still cling to our scores, because it's the only measure we have. I don't think that's good enough anymore. Is someone with a Klout score of 69 less capable of managing your social media channels than someone in the elite #Klout70 group? I doubt it. Is someone with a score of 78 that spews other people's quotes out on their timeline every 5 minutes and has never replied to any of the tweets I've sent them more credible than someone with a score of 50 that writes all their own content and regularly talks to their followers? I wouldn't have thought so. Would you?
Klout is not your friend. It's flawed and it's being exploited by 'influencers' who can effectively game the system by using the very tactics they tell their clients never to use. The very strategies we frown upon as being bad for your credibility are being used by professionals on a daily basis to get ahead. It's a ridiculous double standard, and it needs to stop.
Only you can decide who you entrust your social media accounts, your online business presence and ultimately your credibility to. I think I know who I'd choose.
But what do you think?