On Matter, Mentors, Mentions & Manners…
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’.
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.
- 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?