Have Klout? And/or, do you need it?

Klout.com, the new San Francisco based social media analytics company, says it can tell you exactly how popular and influential you are on popular social media platforms. Instead of just the numbers of followers or connections you have, Klout purports to measure the information you share and how influential that information is to your audiences. Every move you make on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare is analyzed, synthesized and spit back out in neat graphs with daily updates.

You even get a Klout numerical score. [Miller got a puny 15 for his personal social score; he’s busy rocking clients’ social projects all day. Schmertz got a respectable 38; he’s networking up a storm for career opportunities.]

In an interview with Forbes, Klout CEO Joe Fernandez explained that, “It really boils down to what the likelihood of the content you create on social networks is being acted upon; people commenting, clicking links, liking, retweeting, whatever it might be.”

If it is adopted as a measurement tool, the service has a huge potential for advertising and marketing monitoring in the social space. If the formula works accurately in measuring influence, companies will be able to judge the effectiveness of their strategies in spreading content through social channels.

Klout not only gives you a numerical ranking, it also groups your social habits into categories. Every Klout user can be identified by one of 16 behavioral categories that include Curator, Broadcaster, Tastemaker, Observer, Explorer, Networker and Thought Leader.

Businesses also can use Klout to offer products, deals, samples and other rewards to their frequent and active social media users, via the Perks section of the Klout site. In theory, this gives brands the opportunity to put new products and services directly into the hands of influential and vocal individuals, who love sharing information and interacting with others. This has huge potential for brands to launch, create buzz and generate exposure to key demographic audiences.

While Klout claims to be able to measure influence, its lacks the ability to fully monitor a user or company’s complete online presence. The company has announced plans to explore integration opportunities and hopes to add Google+ in the near future. As the social landscape evolves, Klout will have to regularly integrate platforms and applications, to truly be an accurate measurement tool.

Although Klout is still in beta mode, it has huge potential for helping companies and individuals move the needle in their social media channels. Stay tuned.

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