How an Absolute Nobody hit a 71% Klout Score

On Matter, Mentors, Mentions & Manners…

Upwards & Onwards
It’s about engaging more, not increasing Klout

With recent chatter about Klout revising their measurement algorithm, I’m going to share some thoughts on interacting more while adding value, versus hanging out on SM channels, trying to ‘build your personal brand’.

When I started being active online in twitter, I had a klout score of 1. I had no idea if that was 1st or last (we’re #1,) but after learning and settling into  my own comfort zone, a friend pointed out today that my klout was 17 gazillion! ;>
I’ve taken some justified teasing as a result from fun (and wise) folks because my score is now higher than some genuine Thought Leaders. I’ve had a good laugh along with them, as while it is flattering, it has had no direct impact (yet) on my ability to trade it in on a wondrous new gig in my field.

I’ve also taken some snark recently from long time friends in real-life. “Yeah, I noticed some have higher scores though they don’t ‘work’ to engage like you do.”  mmm-kay…

Some think that the algorithm (and new version) used is utterly skewed if a relative nobody can hit high, and others note the true value of influence ratings are still an unknown; neither of which concerns me much one way or the other right now, but has made me think about the things I’ve done differently since my early days on twitter when my score was -17 gazillion.

Let’s turn this into a learning experience for those who do think there is merit in a higher Klout score.  Or better yet, maybe it will simply help someone out there improve their own ability to influence ideas or learn more about their profession through Social Media efforts.

(I hope this doesn’t come across as a vanity post, as my goal here is to share lessons learned forward as a person, not a self-proclaimed pundit of any sort. I get so much out of Social Media, personally & professionally that I can’t help but share.)

It won’t work if you’re working it…

Every social media maven out there will tell you the key to success is being genuine and having a truly authentic voice.  And they’re absolutely right.  Some of the stuff I’ll share below probably sounds like I work at it, but the reality is that I’m simply sharing the content that matters to me in my own efforts to increase my knowledge about things I’m interested in. I’m studying anyway, so it is only a few clicks more to put it out for others’ benefit.

It also really helps if you find a channel you love. I often see people starting out in social media and spreading themselves too thin on too many channels. I think that dilutes your message, and eventually, it would feel like work.  Think about your normal communication style off-line.  Are you a writer, speaker, photographer, or an artist? That will help you figure out where to focus your efforts. This is a great example of a Personal Social Media policy that clearly outlines which channels a friend uses, how & why.

In my case, that Klout score is almost entirely from twitter.  I never use FaceBook, only seldom comment on blog posts, and my addition to group discussions is also less frequent than it should be.  Hell, I don’t even blog (which is another blog in itself for another day). For me, Twitter suits my real world style best – I’m a talker, so engaging in real-time, fast-paced conversations and idea exchanges is not only comfortable, it’s natural and fun.

Regardless of the inaccuracies or flaws in Klout’s system, I’ll admit I am interested in this part of my score, because at the end of the day, I’m just being me. My goal is to meet and interact with new people, as well as those I already know and respect.

“Kelly Craft generates actions and discussions with nearly every message.”

I hope that is right, because it means I’ve done what I set out to do in the first place: I’m learning, sharing my knowledge, and part of discussions, not just spamming a bunch of one-way push crap. It implies that I am getting the true value of twitter.

If I have attained any degree of success, it’s because of …

Matter, Mentors, Mentions & Manners…

As I said, I use twitter more for my own selfish desires, gaining a free education from brighter minds, rather than ‘gaming the system’ to build the ‘Irreverent @krcraft Brand’. 

In my pursuit of an ideal learning/sharing experience, I guess I do use a few ‘tricks’ to make it less work to find quality content. I’ve posted a bit about this before, but I’ll be more specific below.

  • iGoogle rocks! My iGoogle is my start page and command central of my learning hub. From here, I can feed my passion with access to the Best and Brightest Minds that are Mentors, whether they know so, or not. Links to ‘must read’ blogs and favourite discussion groups are only a click away with constantly fresh brain fodder. I check in often throughout the day for new posts, and if I find one that makes me think, I share it in a tweet.
Command Central
  • I also have specific Google news & blog alerts set up to advise me when there is breaking news about Enterprise 2.0. Even so, I also check manually for updates several times a day, always selecting news in the ‘last 24 hours’ to ensure that I’m not posting the same-old, same-old that a million others have posted that day.
  • I follow many of those same expert bloggers on twitter, too.  In fact, they have their own ‘must read’ column in Tweetdeck, which is the first one  I look to for information I want to learn and discussions I want to jump in on. They’re also on a separate ‘stimulators’ Twitter list, which makes it all the easier to share their value forward.
You can’t just randomly RT everything that Thought Leaders/Influencers/Fun Farts post. 
  • I never post any link – ever – that I haven’t first read. What’s the point? And how do you know if it is truly valuable, controversial, or has nuggets of knowledge gold? How do you know if you even have an opinion on the content, or not, if you don’t bother to care before you share?
  • I’ll admit I’m even more thirsty for new ideas than most, as I find many sources for new knowledge (and content) by clicking on the links within those blog posts. ‘Oh the places you’ll go… ‘ that you’d otherwise miss altogether if you tweet like a robot.
  • If you read something particularly clever, favourite it and recycle it now & then for new followers to appreciate and in hopes of renewed discussions.
  • Twitter Chats are also a lively way to learn, engage and discover new people you want to hang with & learn from on-line.  Check out this list of chats to see if there is one that piques your interest or a passion.
    • I don’t recommend participating in more than 2-3 chats per week, otherwise you may find your followers becoming unfollowers due to the flurry of tweets that aren’t their cup of tea, but carefully selecting one or two chats is a certain way to introduce yourself and be introduced, to others who care about whatever it is that tweaks your brain.
    • As with the Must Read group, I do the same thing when I am in a chat.  After watching for a few weeks, it is easy to see who the leaders are, the ones that are expert voices. They’re also in a column of their own, with the #whatever in another.  Sounds cliquish, but I simply don’t want to miss their opinions in the flurry.
    • That doesn’t mean that you only engage with ‘Board Leaders’, like a snotty mercenary. If you do it right, you monitor key notes and discussions around the topic and share/forward them to less experienced participants and your own followers who might not be part of the chat.
  • On Mentions and Manners… this is a really easy one to screw up, and I still struggle with it myself – and here is why:
    • Gratuitous mentions or RT’s of someone high-profile or influential for the sake of looking like one of the ‘cool kids’ bugs me enormously.
    • Which is not to say that I never mention someone who has those attributes, but I’d like to think I only do so when they’ve shared something I appreciate, or when making an actual comment to them, in discussion or as an aside.
    • I follow many influential folks, just like others, but I usually only directly @ them if we’ve already got some sort of existing relationship via previous conversations, events, chats, introductions, or discussion groups.
    • If you really want to raise someone’s profile, why not pick someone new to your twibe who seems bright &/or funny, then draw them out in a conversation about something interesting they said or shared? >Buildup as yet unknown influencers – don’t just follow the usual suspects and hope they’ll beam a little benevolent attention your way.
  • I panic every time I sit to send out my ‘thanks’ for mentions & RT’s.  I’m always worried I’ll forget someone who was particularly kind, and hurt feelings inadvertently. That said, I’ve also come to learn that it is almost impossible to thank every person, every day, for every bit of kindness or lively talk.
  • Some of the people who ‘influence’ me the most are the ones I thank least often.  We’re friends, or study-buddies in this big social world, and they already know I value them greatly, simply because we connect when & where ever for facts, fancy & fun.
    • I’ve tailored my thanks tweets to make certain to appreciate those who reached out or shared unexpectedly, encouraging further interaction.
  • I’ll also bust the ‘secret’ vault wide-open and admit I’m not a fan of #followfriday in many respects.
    • Truth be told, I really don’t want a bunch of random new followers who I might not share any common interest with.
    • Likewise, it is always very uncomfortable for me on Fridays when I know I’ll hurt some feelings by not reciprocating full #FF lists on which I might have been included.  I don’t necesssarily know all of these people, so be damned if I’ll ‘promote’ them just because someone else suggests it.
    • I like to think of #FF lists as I would think of hashtags I follow.  For example, there are #custserv folks I will consistently recommend be followed, because I know others can & will benefit from their insight and expertise. Likewise with #E20 & #scrm, which I’ll include at the end of the #FF tweet so that others know these folks have specific areas of interest & knowledge.
    • I’d like to see #FF go in an entirely new direction altogether. It’d be great if instead of pushing out random #FF’s each week, people made one or two direct introductions between other professionals in their field, people passionate about the same cause, or picked a favourite charity to promote on Fridays. We can all do that every day, but it’d be especially nice to see Friday’s stream full of some fresh changes with high value, and less guilt. ;> 

If you want to have more influence, be more influential. Have a clear, focused voice about what drives you. Increase your signal with fresh content. Share content only if you truly have an opinion on it or learned something from it. Pay attention to only the ‘cool kids’ who have something to say that actually resonates with you personally. And give the (allegedly) less cool kids a leg up in their own Social Media efforts.

Most of all, be your own self, whether it be driven, focused, funny or a snark monster.  You’ll find your footing, and others you want to meet will find you.

It’s only work if it isn’t genuine.

What am I missing?  What methods do you use to add value to your own Social Media efforts?

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26 thoughts on “How an Absolute Nobody hit a 71% Klout Score

  1. Kelly,

    This is really great — a primer for social media engagement. As one who has come to know you through social media, I can attest to your genuine desire to converse/share/debate. This link gets saved for future use.

    Thanks!

    Alan Berkson
    Intelligist Group

  2. Great one Kelly! And congrats on your Klout score – you know how much I value that (…)

    Dozens of people before you have written posts on this subject, just like dozens of firms like Klout are trying to wiggle their 1.0 marketing ass into this 2.0 world

    Yours is a very well-balanced and valuable one, adding weight to the do’s and dont’s and somehow mysteriously striking me as genuine on its own

    Thanks for hitting my Twitter stream! No idea why you decided to revive your stream but I certainly like it – btw I’ve noticed that tweeting and blogging goes hand-in-hand

    • Thank you Martijn.

      I do know how you value (?) Klout, after reading through your adventures with them over a span of months. Yesterday’s piece on the veracity of the scores was particularly interesting: http://bit.ly/cOCRAZ <Recommended reading for anyone who does think the score matters.

  3. Kelly:

    Everyone says “be genuine”. I think your post actually describes what that means.

    I am sending links to everyone I know who are starting with Social Media.

    Marcio.

    • Thank you, Marcio.

      That means a lot coming from you, as we’ve formed a genuinely fun & educational relationship via Twitter that I value. Our ongoing conversations off-line on all things SCRM are something I value greatly.

      I hope the tips do help others to find interesting new people to share & learn with, just as I have with everyone who commented here.

  4. Good stuff!

    There’s a few things Klout just can’t measure. For instance, I’m MOST influenced by people who I know for real; my best friend Sean (@ssjseth) and my fiancee Bri (@penguinloverwoo). They aren’t movers and shakers in social media, but the three of us use Twitter to stay in touch and make plans for hanging out. Neither of them are interested in “Crushing it” or “Hustling” to build up their personal brands. They’re just normal people.

    As for the group of friends I’ve come into through the #custserv chats, I’m just as interested in hearing about your day as I am in reading articles about the business. That’s why I follow; I want to know more about people when they’re not on the bandstand. As a result, our interactions can be casual and fun and much, much, MUCH more genuine. I think it’s unreal sometimes how I’m having silly conversations and throwing stupid youtube clips around with people who’re followed by thousands, usually people who’ve written books or speak regularly at conferences. Meanwhile, who am I? Just some tech support guy in the prairies with absolute zero pull in the professional world.

    I’d like to add an example to the opposite of your title. Our good buddy @FrankEliason carried over a multitude of followers when he left @ComcastCares and set up his new handle. His interactions however, are limited to being real with people who actually strike up conversations with him. Frank’s never seen it necessary to obsess over or update his Klout score. It was actually at 4 or 5 for quite a while until the automatic system kicked in the other day. We all know how influential he is in our circle, but he never had to play “the game”. He’s just himself, and people like who he is.

    • Hey Jay! (I love saying that…)

      I’ll check Bri & Sean out. If they’re even half of the wit and wonder that you are, I know I’ll enjoy them, too. Thanks for the recommendation!

      The thing is, you are the epitome of genuine. I recall one time saying to you in DM, “WTH are you doing? Do you know who you just said that to?” At which point you laughed at me and demonstrated that you’ve built these strong relationships by being the guy who can whip out the silly YouTube one minute, while having solid, sound advice to offer up the next, especially in regards to providing solid customer service.

      And your dead right about @FrankEliason, which further illustrates my underlying point. Klout doesn’t matter. Interaction, learning & laughter is where the real value is.

      Thanks – you’ll have a scary Tim Curry coming your way. ;>

  5. Thanks for this Kelly, I look forward to catching up with you each morning (my morning) and wondered how you did it, but didn’t like to ask. If your influence has got this far then you must indeed have some @klout. Tomorrow I will not #ff, but will do an anti-bullying tweetover…

    • Love the idea! Watch for a few stellar folks like @jen_reyna Friday, too. We’re on a mission to change FF, although I’ll admit I saw some in my stream this morning that I know I will pay in kind. :>

  6. Kelly,

    One thought on #FF. I happen to like the concept. Once a week, give a shoutout and recommend some interesting people to follow. I am not of fan of the bland list:

    “#FF @xxx @yyy @zzz”

    I always give a reason *why* e.g.:

    “#FF @KRcraft for great insight into CRM, SCRM how to do social media the right way”

    As for introductions, that makes a lot of sense. How about #MM – Matchmaker Mondays?

    -Alan

    • Tell me more about #MM – Matchmaker Mondays. I’m all ears.

      I think some of that happens ont he back channels, as we know, but it would be interesting to see the outcome if we did bring it forward into the light. Quandry, I was asked in DM last night to help find some developers for a start-up. I’ll follow through in DM & email, but perhaps I should ask if I may also make those specific intros in the public stream, too. Always good to highlight talent you know well enough to recommend.

      Placeholder reminder on another topic: #provserv ;>

      • How about each Monday we see if we can include 2 tweeps on a tweet who may not know each other that should?

        As for your quandary, I think it’s best left in private. Better to laud the talents of your dev friends on their own merits and accomplishments. You were contacted on a “private” channel — response should be the same.

        I’m all for #profserv chat. First topic, “How to NOT give away free consulting”.

        -Alan

  7. Kelly – I think the comments speak for themselves. Excellent concept, excellent ideas!

    Fred

    • I hope everyone can see how deeply I am bowing in thanks to the man above.

      This post wouldn’t have made it to the page without Fred’s kind and incredibly helpful ‘blog whispering’ the other night. He zoomed in on bad writing and muddy transitions with laser accuracy, then asked key questions to help me figure out how to say some of the points that were most important to me.

      THAT is influence. Not of the Klouty sort, but of the mentoring, educating and encouraging sort. Inspiring others to be more creative, or improve themselves is what Leadership is all about. I’m grateful.

      Namaste.

  8. Kelly and others…

    What are your thoughts on scheduled tweets?

    It is very obvious that engagement cannot be automated (I don’t use any type of auto-response or auto-DM), but I do schedule tweets to time posts so that (for example) they are seen by people in other time zones.

    Marcio.

    • I dislike anything canned, but I have heard other very successful bloggers say teh same thing. One explained to me that he tries to link his posts around 9:00 am daily and again about 10:00 pm so that they are seen by people spanning the globe. That doesn’t seem canned to me. It sounds logical.

      Interested in what the others think on this, too…

      • As with most things, there is really no right or wrong.

        There’s a difference between choosing your audience and delegating. You choose your audience all the time. A tweet, a blog post, a comment, an email, a phone call. Deciding who/what/where/when/why to communicate is what we all do. Scheduling tweets is just another way of doing this.

        Auto-response and auto-dm is delegating. There is a place for delegation, but where you gain in efficiency for yourself you lose in personal connection. You also need to consider the expectations of your audience. I expect to receive automated messages from entities (companies) but not necessarily from individuals.

  9. What a fantastic post!

    The only thing I’ll disagree with you on is the chats, although I know some people have problems with excessive tweeting. I actually have built my community in large part out of people like you who I have met at various chats, and I’ve been honored that people have started attending other chats based on my recommendation. I’m sure some people drop off, but I’ve never been told directly (yet) that I chat too much.

    🙂

    • You don’t.

      Small example of how you impact your community, Marjorie: If I happen to miss your, ‘Goodnight Turnips,’ signoff tweet, I feel like I go to bed without my story & tuck-in. 😉

      You’re a fine example of authenticy, sharing valuable expertise, while encouraging others to be themselves and have a lot of fun along the way.

  10. This is such a good article from so many points. I lay out all these aspects for my clients. One thing that stands out it that both of us are voracious learners. Many people today day are not. I think social media exposes this pretty fast as well as those that are just trying to game the system. I’d love to see more blogging from you.
    John

    • Thank you, John.

      I feel like Twitter has given me the opportunity to have a free PhD education. Just yesterday, I was guided to a paper on Maslow recanting his theory, then had a lively discussion about it with someone who wanted to be sure I understood it fully. Six months ago, I didn’t even know what Maslow’s theory was.

      I am trying to blog more, but getting words to paper is painful for me. I’m a talker. I’ll happily jump on stage and speak in front of hundreds without a qualm, but getting those thoughts pixelized takes real work. In this case, it wouldn’t have been the post it is without th help of a kind ‘blog whisperer’ (Fred) who prodded me along to get it right.

      The out-pouring of encouragement has helped, and I’ll keep trying. (I might also ask for some of you communication professionals to act as editors to this untrained writer.)

      Off to read you blog, with thanks to Jay for introducing us via this post: http://flurrycreations.com/theblog/

      • Kelly, I have had the same experience with twitter. It has just amplified my desire to learn from incredible people. I write more about that here: http://bit.ly/9Yw301
        One thing that has helped me to transfer those conversations and moments of inspiration to actual blog posts is a tool/plugin for WordPress called Editorial Calendar: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/editorial-calendar/
        Every time I have a thought or conversation that could possibly be built into a post I jump into the tool and add at least a title and any text. Often it is really rough but I can come back to it later. It changed my blog from a random post schedule to a consistent one overnight. I am looking forward to more of your post!
        -John

  11. I enjoyed that and nodded many times. It almost felt like transcribed audio stream of consciousness. Why not record it as an AudioBoo or similar?

  12. […] former best friend unfriended you on Facebook, I say, “Forget ‘em.” They were just bringing you down […]

  13. Terrific article! This is the type of information that are meant to be shared around the web.

    Disgrace on Google for not positioning this publish higher!
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