You May Be Bigger Than I Am, But I’ve Got Klout!

Apr 13, 2016 | Featured Posts by Holly Jahangiri, Social Media, Social Strategy for Writers

Some time between fourth and seventh grades, I grew taller than my mother. One morning, as I was heading off to school, she climbed up and stood on top of the bed, bent over, kissed the top of my head, and said, “You just remember, you may be bigger than I am, but I still have clout!”

I had no idea what clout was, but I got the gist of it: Don’t mess with Mom.

In much the same way, I’m not really sure I understand the point of Klout and Kred and all the other “social media influencer” stats, but I suppose it’s a little like a weird “Who’s Who” of the Internet.

I imagine a couple of So-Me Queen Bees, “doing lunch,” surrounded by yahoos at the Panda Palace, comparing their Klout scores, and getting all huffy over salade niçoise as they scowl at their iPhones, trying to outdo each other in a race towards better Kred by crème brûlée. The waitress, roundly ignored by the Queen Bees, rolls her eyes and spits in their lattes.

That’s how it goes, when you’re trying to outsmart an algorithm – it spits in your latte.

Does it matter what your “social media influencer score” is? Probably – to someone. Who knows – maybe you can trade in Zulilly sidebar ads for Harry Winston if you talk enough about your private jet and refer to your diamonds as your “best buds.”

Why You Should Care About These Scores at All

All kidding aside, let’s say you wrote a book about dinosaurs for young readers. You might want to look for the influencers among mommy and daddy bloggers, or among education professionals. Their reach and influence, if you can interest them in your book, may provide a boost to your message.

If someone’s harassing you or bad-mouthing your brand online, a low score may mean they created a new account just to complain; however, a high score probably means they have an established social media presence and a voice that will be widely heard. I wouldn’t advise ignoring customers whose Klout and Kred scores are non-existent, though. Social media influence isn’t an indicator of who matters most – just how much reach and amplification their voice has online.

Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Barack Obama have similar Klout scores. Mine is only 20 points below Pope Francis’s.




Odds are good, if you’re reading this, you’re not moving in the sorts of circles that would express awe and admiration over a high Klout or Kred score. It’s probably best not discussed over dinner and drinks in polite company.

How You Can Use Klout in a Non-Krappy Way

We’ve discussed the importance of sharing other people’s work – giving them a boost and giving your followers added value, in a broader selection of informative, entertaining, useful content while you do. Klout has hidden value when it comes to kontent kuration – er, content curation; it unearths and lets you schedule (for free) Twitter and Facebook posts.

Go to and register for an account, if you haven’t done so. Complete your profile, connect all of your social media networks and select your areas of expertise (up to 30).

  1. If you already have a Klout account, log in.
  2. Click your profile picture or name in the upper left corner.
  3. Select a topic you’d like to be recognized as an expert in and click Improve:klout-share-topics

    Alternatively, you can click Explore and choose a topic from My Topics.

  4. You will see a screen like this:klout-explore
  5. Find articles you enjoy, then click Share.
  6. You can share them immediately:klout-share-now
  7. Or you can click the Schedule tab and schedule the post for later. Klout will suggest the best times to share, based on when your followers are most active:klout-share-schedule
  8. Here’s what a scheduled post looks like:klout-scheduled-sample


This makes the process of finding and sharing content that your audience will find interesting and useful, even if it’s not yours – easy, while helping you to build your influence in targeted topics.

This is more important than you may imagine. Search engines get confused, sometimes – particularly when it comes to us creative writers. It thinks Marian Allen is an herb farmer specializing in mushrooms and turtles. It thinks I have special knowledge of  Naeglaria Fowleri and neti pots. It never hurts to give it a nudge back in the right direction.

Writer’s Block, or, Gimme a +K!

I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel, here, for a relevant “K word” for today’s post. The only other thing that was coming to me was “Killin’ It on Social Media” or “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid,” which is generally sound advice but makes for a really short post.

Your Turn

Do you keep track of your social media influencer scores? What’s your favorite tool for doing that?

Do you keep track of your audience’s social media influencer scores? Do you pay much attention to how many followers they have?

Any thoughts on influencer marketing?

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


    • HollyJahangiri

      The Naughties sound much more fun. Who wants to be a Teenie again?
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…JabberwockyMy Profile

  1. Mitch Mitchell

    I hate Klout, Kred or any of these other ranking systems and I’ve written about it a few times. Why? Because back when I had a Klout account years ago I read some of the recommendations from the company that basically said to only talk to people with higher scores than yours because that was the only way to grow, and that if you talked or connected with people whose rank was lower than yours that your score would go down.

    Frankly I thought that was insulting; who were they to determine that someone was “lesser” and that their participation meant less than anyone else’s! So I deleted my account and have never looked back.

    The punks! lol
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Determine Who And What You Are Regardless Of OthersMy Profile

    • HollyJahangiri

      Recommendations from Klout said that? Or bloggers speculating on how it would work? I don’t think that’s true – I think it’s just misguided, bad advice (like SO much that’s out there!) My score’s pretty high (supposedly in the top 1-5%!) and I hardly hob-nob with the folks whose scores are in the top .5%. Sure, Obama follows me (or used to) but he follows everyone who follows him. 🙂 I guess he’s not too worried about that tip you got – and if the “leader of the free world” isn’t worried about hanging with the common folk, I’m not going to start now! 😀
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…JabberwockyMy Profile

      • Mitch Mitchell

        Recommendations from Klout said that in order to increase my score. That irked me to no end.I was also irked that they hadn’t created any way for it to show how influential you might be via your blogs… I doubt they’ve figured that one out yet.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Reduce Inundation For Peace And HappinessMy Profile

        • HollyJahangiri

          Why are you worrying about your “score” anyway? Who are we trying to impress? My theory? Be you. Do your thing. The less influenced YOU are by algorithms and bad advice, the more leadership you demonstrate and the higher your score will go – naturally. Have you seen how well the advice to “only link to sites with more authority than yours” has worked out for anyone BUT the “authority” sites? It has caused selfishness and the death of hypertext. Real readers don’t give a rat’s whiskers what your Klout score is. They’re afraid to click links, anyway, thanks to all the text-based link ads that proliferated across the web like cinch bugs. So just…be you. Use Klout for curation and ignore the rest of it. If people did that, their algorithms would also be better and more accurate/meaningful. That would be a good thing, in my opinion. “Pay no attention to those data scientists behind the curtain…”

      • Mitch Mitchell

        You missed the point. If they could tell me that interacting with people who they considered as being “below” me, that meant they considered me as being “below” someone else. I didn’t care about my rank overall, but I thought that bit of advice was insulting to anyone who was participating in it. I refuse to play along.

        You know me; you know I don’t support what I consider is bad behavior. That was a horrible recommendation.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…30 Mistakes You’re Making With Your BlogMy Profile

      • Holly

        If either of us were that ethically pure, we wouldn’t be on Facebook – particularly after they refused to remove images of kiddie porn saying it did not violate their community standards.

        But if we followed that reasoning to its logical conclusion, we’d commit suicide – because we live in a world that ranks people unfairly, is full of horrible recommendations, and where justice only wins about 54.7823% of the time. (I can make up stats with the best of them! Oh, yeah, and lies abound!! So many reasons to refuse to live in the world – but what are the alternative options, seriously?) I’m not ready to die. So I will try my best not to support entities that are actively acting against people – but we all use the tools provided by such entities, and one hopes haven’t abandoned them wholly to the Dark Side. A knife can be used to cut vegetables and feed the hungry, or it can be shoved into someone’s back.
        Holly recently posted…There’s No Place Like Profile

    • HollyJahangiri

      To the extent that you could get one of those higher-scoring folks to actually engage with you and RT your posts, yes – probably, that would increase your own reach and influence score. Makes sense, right? But it doesn’t mean you’re nobody till Lady Gaga notices you. (Think about it – THEY have more reach, by virtue of their fairly devoted following. If they RT your link, more people will see it and be influenced by it. It’s not a snobbish thing.)

      That said, it’s deeply disturbing, to me, to see it tied to things like grades in a journalism class, or hiring practices. It’s not proof of intellect or skill or professionalism at all – its simply a measure of your ability to share interesting content, schmooze online, and get others to share your stuff. I could see it as one small factor in hiring a social media professional – assuming such things were relevant to the job – but it’s troubling to see SOME people give it more importance than it’s worth.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Images Motivate Readers to ShareMy Profile

      • Mitch Mitchell

        Overall, I dislike the concept if it’s in any way based on the people you interact with like that. Now, if it was a true judge, it would rank people based on the actual interactions without any regard to who, and possibly the number of people who you’re connected to in many circles. Not only was it “NOT” that but at the time I had a very highly ranked blog that was getting lots of attention but they couldn’t figure out how to count that. So, it becomes an arbitrary tool that really doesn’t mean anything; I didn’t need it in my life.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…There’s Power In Positivity – By Kelvin RingoldMy Profile

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Where can I buy an influencer? That’s my only question.

    I have a good plan – use GOOD fiction to make points about how the world sees age and disability – and no energy to implement my plan.

    Curiously, I don’t get taken up much on the idea. But it is a very strong one: think of the influence on the world of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for example.

    For a more recent example, Ordinary People – who was wrong: the kid who tried to kill himself – or the mother who wished he had died instead of his older brother?

    Books – fiction and non – can have enormous influence on how people see other people. But they have to be read first.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted…Mental Dialysis, slow CFS brain, and extreme restingMy Profile

    • HollyJahangiri

      I think that’s a really good idea, Alicia. Not only because I think that the stories and their potential impact would have a positive effect on readers and maybe influence attitudes, but because we all know that readers want books where they can see themselves in the characters, in a strong and positive light. We need more diversity in children’s lit; we need more diversity in terms of age and gender in lit for an older audience – a GROWING older audience, at that – and who loves reading more than baby boomers?

      It’s a terrible thing to say, maybe, but I’m not that interested in young romance stories, anymore. I’m more interested in reading more complex stories about young adults facing world issues, and older adults dealing with a fast-paced, changing world. But we’re still seeing a lot of the same formulas in books.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…JabberwockyMy Profile

    • HollyJahangiri

      All of those things will lead to a better Klout score. I think the problem is that Klout (and Kred) have been “oversold” as some be-all, end-all “social proof.” They’re measurements. And like most measurements, they CAN be manipulated (you could stand on a box when measuring your height, but it wouldn’t do you any good in playing basketball).

      So, you’re absolutely right, I think – building relationships, engaging with people you like who like you, is definitely better than chasing a “social influencer score.” But how do you gauge whether that’s actually right? People can chat with you on Twitter all day long, but may not be helping to spread the word about your book launch. You may not be able to get half your friends to crack open an email. This is one way to measure it – and assuming you’re following that authentic, human approach in the first place (not trying to game the system), it should help you to see where you might need to put forth a little more effort. (It occasionally reminds me that I have more engagement on YouTube than I imagine, or that I’ve ignored Twitter for too long. 😀 )
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…You May Be Bigger Than I Am, But I’ve Got Klout!My Profile

  3. fim

    The beginning where your mother said she’s got clout, reminded me of a movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” where Kathy Bates’ character gets back two upstart gals, and turns and says to the, “I’m older and have insurance.” It’s interesting what things will spark a memory. 🙂


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