If you are reading this, you probably first looked up sources on Klout. You probably have already heard horror stories about the guy who didn’t get a job because he didn’t know what Klout was, and as it turns out, he had a low score.
Can this even happen? Is it legal? Well if you are looking for a job in social media and you have low klout, of course it matters! It indicates you do not know how to leverage social media tools. If you ran a hospital and you were hiring a doctor, would you hire a doctor with low boards and a low GPA? NO…you would want someone with proven ability!
First of All, What is Klout?
Basically, through a bunch of algorithms, Klout determines how much influence you have over the social world. Do people retweet your tweets? Do people engage in conversation with you? Do people mention your handle in their tweets? Do you have thousands of followers? Are your followers bots, or real? Are your followers influential, or are they nobodies in the social world?
Yeah, Klout measures all that. Just think of The Influentials, by Jon Berry and Ed Keller.
Back To How Klout Matters…
My 9-5 (or really, 9-8 or -9 or so) involves putting together conferences. I am using #FollowFriday / #FF for our exhibitors, promoting both the conference, and the companies who pay to be a part of our conference. I have gone through my list of 70 exhibitors who have submitted twitter handles, and have added in their Klout score and their number of followers. I’m not going to tweet out all 70 at once. If I do eventually get the all accounts, it will happen over the course of 6 weeks. But let’s get real. What do I get out of this? The tweeter with a score of 80 or 90 following me helps ME more than the tweeter with a score of 10 could help me. That’s because people with high Klout following me makes me more reputable, thus increasing my Klout. And the tweeter with a score of 80 or 90 with over 100,000 followers can retweet to a larger group, including my handle, helping me get more followers.
Of course I’m altruistic and want to help the small-guy just starting off. Twitter is this great equalizer, with the potential to pull a mom-and-pop business to the top! So yes, I will randomly choose a few tweeters with lower scores or less followers on #FF and mention their handle. But I want my own score to rise. I want my followers to rise. So I am going to do most of my promotion on Tweeters who already have high scores.
So How Do You Get A High Score And Increase Your Followers?
Oh, sure you want to know. I’m sure you skipped the whole beginning and went straight to this portion! Well there’s no quick and easy way. At least, not if you want to do it for free (pssst, you can actually pay to promote a hash, or your handle).
My company’s handle was struggling. We were getting maybe 10 followers a month. It was sickly. I had nothing to show my boss. I couldn’t say “look at this awesome thing I did for our company!”
Every day, I send out news clips on Twitter. I hash the important terms that I think people will look up, whether it’s regulation, the elections, or a cool movie. If the article is about a company or an individual with a handle, instead of saying “Microsoft sold…” I will say “@Microsoft sold…” That then puts me in more twitter searches. If someone goes to Microsoft’s Twitter page, my tweet about them will show up, and maybe they will click on me to see who I am, and will follow me. And suddenly I went from gaining 10 followers a month to an additional 100 a month.
Of course, you want to make sure everything is well integrated. If you send out regular emails, make sure your twitter handle and maybe a specific hash about the content of the email is not only on your email, but is linked in your email. If you have a web page, make sure your twitter (and Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) is all linked on the main page (and all the others, too, if you can give up the real estate).
Hmm…this has been a lot already, and I’m off to a tangent. Check back for another post on this.
So How Does Your Score Matter?
Job opportunities based on Klout…
Others wanting to be associated with you…
Think back to the book I mentioned earlier. Klout measures your influence. And if people listen to you about where to eat, what books to buy, and who to vote for, then a company is likely to want to give you free stuff so you can then use your Klout to talk about how great they are.
But Don’t Get Too Caught Up With Numbers
Yeah, really. It’s an algorithm. Algorithms are science, but only according to what the people who designed the algorithm decide what is important. It’s great to get free stuff, but I prefer to focus on trends. You might only appeal to a small group of people. You may never have reason to be as popular as Justin Bieber (who typically has a higher Klout than the President). And you shouldn’t be ashamed of never having Bieber’s perfect Klout score of 100. But is your Klout steadily increasing? Are your followers steadily increasing? Do your followers engage in conversations with you, and retweet what you are saying?
Yes, Klout is a great metric. And you definitely should have it on your radar. But they regularly “retool” their algorithms. My company Klout went from 42 to 26 to 50 — each leap taking place over the course of a day — due to the retooling. So don’t get down about a low Klout. But use it as one of many guides.