Thursday, November 3, 2011

Does Klout have a PR crisis?

With all the buzz in the past week on social media about the change in the Klout Score algorithm you might be wondering if Klout has a public relations crisis on its hands.

Seemingly across the social-sphere people who had come to place value on their Klout Score were upset that the scores had dropped suddenly - in some cases significantly. (For some background see
Klout Changes ... Scores Drop and Complaints Rise)

Curious about whether Klout was facing a PR crisis I turned to my friend Jim Reynolds, the Strategic Accounts Manager, Social Media Solutions at
Alterian - a company that among other things offers SM2 , a social media sentiment monitoring tool.

He ran the reports and, in a nutshell, Klout has upset a relatively small, although possibly influential, cadre of its users.

The details

Jim pulled reports for the time period Oct. 20 through Nov. 1 that focused on the term "Klout Score" to examine such things as total searches, sentiment and where the conversations were taking place.

First he looked at total searches. There was a big spike in searched on Oct. 26 and 27 (the day the change was implemented and the day after that). But by Oct. 28 it was down to half of the peak and by Oct. 29 searches were back to normal levels.

Then Jim examined sentiment. He and I were surprised to see that in the timeframe of this report almost 79 percent of the mentions were neutral, almost 11 percent were very negative and almost 10 percent were very positive.

Next up was a look at the number of searches by day. During the spike in search Oct. 26 and 27 the numbers of neutral, very negative and very positive results mirror the above sentiment rankings and the total number of searches (around 7,000 per day at the peak) are what Jim described as "a lot for Klout, but not a lot for a brand." He cited Home Depot, which typically gets more than 8,000 every day.

Then he looked at which countries might be seeing the most interest in the topic and hands down it was in the United States with more than 30,000 results. By contrast, the next highest total was that of Canada where there were 1,213 results.


I asked Jim for his expert opinion as to what all of this means for Klout.

"It’s a lot of people in social media talking about something in social media," he said, going on to say this this is unlikely to be a PR crisis for Klout.

In terms of sentiment Klout has a relatively small percentage of a relatively small group who were "extremely negative."

The hard thing to judge, according to Jim, is how much influence or reach the individuals making "extremely negative" comments might be. Given their relative small numbers and their relatively short-lived interest Jim thinks Klout will be OK.

So, what do you think? Was all the discussion around the change to the Klout Score just a "tempest in a teacup" or will there be public relations consequences for Klout in the future?

Possibly related posts
Klout changes ... scores drop and complaints rise
Klout questions for CEO Joe Fernandez
Klout responds to questions and critics