Interview With Joe Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Klout

By: superadmin Thursday November 13, 2014 comments Tags: Klout, Cyril Bladier, Joe Fernandez, Influence, Klout by Lithium

Joe Fernandez (@JoeFernandez) is the founder and CEO of Klout, a company which is especially famous with the Klout Score, which measures online influence. A few weeks ago, Joe came to Europe and I had the opportunity to meet him. Here are some tips to better understand what influence is and how it is measured.

Joe defines Klout as the standard for measuring online influence. Klout allows everyone _ at the moment from a Twitter account, but identification from mail address is being studied_ to measure its influence, its topics of influence and to improve it. Once registered, it's very fast, you get your "Klout Score (from 1 to 100) and you can compare to your alter egos. For Klout Twitter is the "key network" on the Internet.

Recently, Klout also offered to those who have registered, content suggestions to be shared based on the topics in which they are influential.

Klout Business Model

Klout is free for all. The business model has evolved around business solutions. Klout helps its clients to identify their key influencers. Klout also offers "perks", a solution that allows a brand to connect with its key influencers with special offers (premieres, product tests, VIP invitations ...). For this, Klout analyzes which profiles best match the target audience (Klout Score, topics, geolocation, socio-demographic data).

Compared to other solutions, Klout probably has a better understanding of consumers, wider coverage of social networks and a deeper analysis. Indeed, Klout analyzes 15 billion data per day on 14 different social networks.


Joe defines influence as the ability to generate actions. Is influential the one who has an ability to have others react (those who follow them).

For that, Klout identifies and analyzes the type of actions that have been caused by the published content. As Facebook which gives different weight to Likes and comments, Klout analyzes and takes into account the level of commitment required by the reactions. The more a reaction calls an effort, the more it is valued.

The number of followers is not essential. Moreover, we can see that large audience is not necessarily synonymous with strong influence. It's better to have a small engaged and responsive audience than a large and passive one. Especially since no one is "influential" people who are influential have influence in specific areas.

Become Influential

To become influential or to improve its level of influence, the amount of published content is key. Moreover, everything is taken into account by Klout (+/- 400 different criteria) and Klout has tools for detecting robots and spammers.

Joe admits that if we manage to be followed or better to engage with people who have a good level of influence, the impact will be stronger. Which is quite close to the operation of Google in the analysis of links that point to a website. A link from a media or a .edu site has more influence than a link from your best friend's website.


On LinkedIn, which is the reference platform for professionals and BtoB and not a "transactional"  network, Klout takes into account jobs titles, profiles titles, the size of the company, the type of connections.

Brand and Influence

Regarding brands, we know that many give a different level of service depending on the level of influence, even favoring a casual but influential customer more than a regular but not influential customer, Joe thinks it's a short termist approach because today each customer whoever he is requires "extra care" regardless of its level of influence. The aim should be a partnership with its customers: " network value is more important than lifetime value". It is increasingly necessary to humanize the relationship.

Klout bought by Lithium

Beginning 2014, Klout has been bought by Lithium, platform to manage and facilitate online communities. Lithium and Klout met on a common analysis: we are in a relationship economy. Consumers are drowning in information, from brands or from other buyers. The challenge is therefore not the lack of information but the lack of credible information and confidence. This is why the notion of trust is predominant and its value has skyrocketed.

Trust contributes to the purchase decision. Altogether. It is the foundation of any income. A marketer may seek to capitalize on the power of peer recommendations by collecting users within a social community online (Lithium). He can also look for ways to provide consumers with tools to measure credibility and help identify trustworthy expertise (Klout).


Excluding Joe's interview :

Among the criticisms leveled at Klout, the ability to artificially raise its score. It is probable. But I think it is not within the reach of everyone. As a former marketing director, I think it also shows from those who are capable, some knowledge of social networks and in times of plenty ambient noise it is not useless.

There was also the case of Justin Bieber who had reached the maximum score of a Klout score of 100 before President Obama or the Dalai Lama. Klout does not measure influence in the world but on the social web. Justin Bieber having a Klout Score higher than these figures Score, just shows that he (or his team) had a better use of social media than President Obama's team. Over the target and the audience are not the same. Justin Bieber causing more reactions on social networks by teens hyper connected, than President Obama is not really surprising.

It also questions the ROI of Klout, indicating that Klout generates no cash directly. I think it is not the subject of Klout. As a former Marketing Director, I don't see Klout as a tool to sell but a tool to help me identify the best relay to trigger actions to target that I want to touch.


Cyril Bladier, Digital Strategist, speaker, writer, Professor at HEC Paris.


Cyril Bladier is a Digital Strategist and Web Agency CEO based in Paris. He is blogger (Huffington Post…), speaker (Hubspot Inbound Day in Paris…), author (4 best sellers on Social Media and Digital). He teaches Social Media at [email protected] chair. 

@businesson_line for marketing

@cyril_bladier for HR

About the Author: superadmin