Social influence measurement site Klout has attracted a lot of attention. The site tracks social media influence across a range of sites and has generated love, hate and even parody!
Klout fans praise:
- the ability to put some numbers behind your social media interactions using an impressive array of social networks.
- the fact that it’s easy to identify social media influencers and those who are at least active (a big plus for brands).
- the Perks that you get for being influential.
Others criticize Klout because:
- it seems artificial and could be gamed by those using automation and minions to update their accounts (though the site has made changes since the worst of those accusations)
- people get obsessed with Klout and use it to decide who should get social media and content management jobs.
- the Perks are brands’ attempt to buy your loyalty.
Love it or hate it, social influence measurement seems here to stay. Here are some free and low cost alternatives to Klout.
The Main Competitors – PeerIndex and Kred
PeerIndex used to be very different from Klout but now it seems strikingly similar.
You can plugin Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora and several websites to get your PeerIndex (PI) score. The higher the score, the more rewards you get. And those rewards are front and center on the home page, whether you’re logged in or logged out.
While Klout Perks are generally free, many of the rewards on my PeerIndex profile were significant discounts on various products.
PeerIndex offers a Chrome extension and also integrates with Rapportive, MarketMe Suite and SocialBro. The PeerIndex user profile, which you can only see when logged into the site, also includes avatars of the people you most influence and are influenced by. Hover over the avatars to get additional information on these users.
Similarities to Klout include:
- measuring your interactions to create an influence score.
- tracking different topics to see how influential you are in particular niches. These include some broad topics tracked for all users as well as topics specific to each user. As with Klout I found the second set of topics less accurate.
- tracking lists of influencers (though you will need to use the related PeerGroups site to do this).
One of the differences between the two is that it’s much easier to see how your PI score is calculated. PeerIndex takes account of your activity over time instead of changing every time there’s a flurry of activity.
In theory, this results in a more accurate measure of social influence. However, it does track fewer sites than Klout does. It is also worth noting, that other users cannot add PI to your score, as they can with Klout and Kred.
PeopleBrowsr’s tool Kred measures both social influence and outreach, providing a score for each on a little shield that appears on your profile.
For influence, it works primarily by assessing retweets, replies, mentions and follows on Twitter. You can also plugin your personal Facebook account, but at the moment, there is no way to have it work with your page.
Outreach is a cumulative score based on how often you retweet, reply, share and mention other people. Like the other two, Kred also offer rewards.
Each social action by you or your followers results in a certain number of points and there is an activity page where you can see exactly what has contributed to your Kred score, making it the most transparent of the three main social influence measurement sites.
Like Klout, you can give Kred to other people. And Kred also tracks your influencers, the people you influence and your top communities, hashtags and topics.
All of these appear in separate cards on the home page when you log in. The page includes cards for follower count, an influence and outreach chart and the top locations where your network is from. Each card on this slightly confusing interface can be shared via social media.
Cross Platform Tools
As the tools above show, there are a number of components of social influence. Instead of measuring them as a whole, the tools below address some aspects of being influential online.
- Social Mention allows you to search for brand mentions across multiple platforms and set up alerts too. No scoring here, but if you find that lots of people are talking about you, then you’re obviously influential. You can also use the tool to find and connect with those people.
- Hubspot’s Marketing Grader combines a number of its previous tools and assesses your website as well as social media reach, engagement and optimization for web and mobile. No numbers here either, but it does provide tips on how to build engagement and an assessment of social sharing of your content.
- Crowdbooster offers analytics for Twitter and Facebook, with colored hotspots on their charts indicating high engagement and reach. You can use it to identify and engage with key influencers on those networks. Once a free tool, Crowdbooster plans now start at $9 a month.
- TwentyFeet gives you analytics for Twitter and Facebook profiles (via its free account) and Facebook pages, groups and apps, Google Analytics, YouTube, MySpace and bit.ly via its paid plans. It operates on a credits system. Currently it costs just $12.45 per year to add your Facebook page to the free plan. The site describes itself as an ego-tracker, letting you get a handle on the efficacy of your online actions.
- Sprout Social works with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, allowing multiple profiles from each network. While this is a paid product, it has recently launched a free #BePresent service which allows brands to get a regular report on now they are engaging on Twitter.
Platform Specific Tools
- Google+ Ripples – Klout aside, most social influence measurement tools don’t integrate Google+, so it’s difficult to get a handle on how influential you are there. The answer is to use Ripples to get some stats on who is sharing the links you post. Follow the drop-down arrow at the side of a post to see if there are any Ripples, then click the link for a nice visualization of how your link has spread. This tool is still experimental, but it’s the best way to assess what’s happening with Google+. If you want to learn more about Ripples, Social Media Today has a useful guide.
- EdgeRank Checker tracks your Facebook activity to give you a score based on your influence on that network. If you want recommendations for further action, you will need a Pro plan. You can also get some information from Facebook Page Insights – though this focuses on the content side rather than overall influence.
- Twitalyzer provides analytics for Twitter via a variety of paid plans. It allows marketers to measure engagement and reach and prides itself on providing immediate updates on how your influence changes..
- Commun.it was cited in our post on social media engagement dashboards. It’s primarily a Twitter tool and can help you get a handle on who’s influential in your network. If you want to engage with other influencers, though, then it’s back to the top line tools.
Which tool should you choose? Each has something to recommend it. If you’re active only on one social network, then one of the platform-specific tools might work well. If, like most people, you are present on multiple networks, then one of the top-line Klout alternatives is a better pick.
Are you using any of these social influence and engagement trackers?
Still confused about the whole idea of social influence? These articles might help: