Breaking The Matrix: How To Tout Your Klout

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.

If you have been involved in social media for any length of time at all, you have heard about Klout. Klout is an online 'yard stick' designed to measure the "influence" you have on your social media network. In other words, how big of a splash you make when you toss a rock into the social media mud puddle.

Being the inquisitive type...and having been a bit of a Klout skeptic for quite some time, I set out on a task this last week to see if I could break Klout...or, at least, learn more about it to prove either myself or the system wrong. And, what I learned surprised me in several ways.

In order to do this effectively, I enlisted the help of fellow Twitter addict and all around social media evangalista, Debra Trappen to help me run some testing on several theories. And, much to her credit, she agreed. (I wouldn't have been able to run several of the tests that I did without help...and I was thrilled to have been able to work with her on this project of mine. Her willingness to help was invaluable to me. So, thank you, Debra!)

 

One of the things that I notice about Klout at first was that it seemed to only be affected by my own activity.  The more I talked...the higher my score went. Seemed simple enough...self promotion. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, I was wrong.

It seems that Klout is actually rewarding users for ENGAGEMENT...the whole premise behind the use of social media. The more you actually engage with your audience (whether that be on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc), the bigger the ripples you make in your mud puddle. The bigger the ripples, the better the responses from your audience, the better the engagement. And, surprisingly, it works just like it is supposed to work. Something I had not expected based on my previous misguided thoughts.

Another thing I learned this weekend is that you can add yourself (and others) to the Lists feature on Klout. (Why would you add yourself?? I don't know. But I had to test it to see if it impacted your score.) And,I found out that it does not affect your score. You can be added to numerous lists in numerous locations by numerous users. All that does is help the individual user keep track of your activity. Only if the react to it will it increase your score. (Again, going back to the ripple theory...)

 

Also, when you are added to a list, you get a notification that gives you access to the list regardless of the user the created the list. That is a huge bonus to you as a member of the list...and a giant detriment to the potential creator of the list. Here's what I mean:

When you are added to a list, you receive a notification just like you receive when you get a +K from someone. (Oh yeah...+k....I will get to that in a bit...) If you have been added to a list, so long as you KEEP this notification, you will always have access to the list that was created regardless of who created it. If you delete this notification, you will remove your access to the list. Only if you hunt it down will you be able to get back to this list. It's not that hard to locate, but it does take time to find.

Now, knowing this...if you are CREATING lists of people, be VERY CAREFUL as to what you name this list. If you are tagging folks that you think have no idea what the hell they are doing on social media and you create a list called "Social Media Idiots", the people on this list are going to know about it. So, be respectful. Just as with any social media standpoint, pay it forward, not backward.

Since it appeared to be actual engagement that Klout is rewarding, I ran a test on Facebook this weekend. I posted the following on my profile and simply waited all weekend to see what happened.

Aside from the likes, I ended up getting 5 comments on it also. But, the post itself got 50 likes prior to those comments. My theory was that likes alone would elevate my Klout score. And, I was wrong again. My score actually dipped by a point as this was the only thing I posted on that day. Once the comments were added a day later, my score recovered it's one point loss. Again...it is the engagement that is being tracked.

Now...a couple more points that any Klout user should remember about +K:

1. +K does not affect your score at this time. It is only a way of other users recognizing that you are an influence in their mind on a subject or topic they connect with and want to notify you of such. I am not a fan of people ASKING for someone to give them +k. If you have to ask for someone to validate your knowledge, you appear to not have the confidence to warrant belief in that knowledge. Quit attention-whoring (Sorry I'm so blunt, but someone has to call it like they see it...) and start engaging with people and prove your worth on a topic. When others see that you really do know what you are talking about, the +k will come in just like the 'likes' on FB and the RTs on Twitter.

2. When you give someone +K, don't just use the auto-tweet feature and be generic. It's boring and offers no value to the receiver or those in your audience as to WHY you are doing it. Be specific. Change the post to give a REASON as to why you are giving them the respect you feel they deserve. That way, both the riders of your wave of influence AND the person you are giving the props to know that you respect them and the reason for such respect. Again...engage.

Aside from the obvious networks like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and others, Klout has recently added Tumblr, Last.fm, Flickr, Blogger, and instagram to the mix. Again, the idea behind this is engagement. The more you can engage regardless of the platform, the better chance you have of influencing your circle...of making waves in your mud puddle.

My advice...Sign up for Klout and play around with it. It is a valid way to assess your level of engagement online. Don't go all nutso and start putting your Klout score on your resume or anything, but use it as yet another tool to help you become better than you are right now. Surprisingly, it does help. And, coming from a new convert, I'm looking forward to hearing how you do on it.

 

Feel like connecting? Hit my company up on Facebook. Or, connect with me on Twitter or on Klout.

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Ambassador
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Wow Clint- great information and I did suggest it.  I've been signed up for Klout for a while but as a Social bumpkin I really had no idea what if anything to do with it.  But I like what you said at the end.. use it as a way to gauge your own level of engagement.  I think we can get so caught up in the "likes" etc that we forget about what the purposes of our blogs, posts, and other social media is. 

Aug 15, 2011 11:58 AM #1
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Kathy -- Thank you so much. Exactly. And it is a really good tool to take an objective over-view of all of your networks. Make sure you link them all to your Klout account. That way, you can guage on an umbrella-type level rather than on specific networks. Great tool.

Aug 15, 2011 12:01 PM #2
Rainer
11,518
Derek Overbey
Roost.com - San Francisco, CA

Some good testing Clint. Did you see Jeff Turner's little Klout experiment? http://www.jeffturner.info/game-klout/

Aug 15, 2011 12:18 PM #3
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Derek -- I have not had a chance to read that post, but I knew he had written one about it. Will go read it now. Thanks!

I somewhat agree with what Jeff has to say in this post. However, I would also like to point out that you can learn something from any game. (Why do we have sports in high school if they are of now value?) Jay Thompson wrote a great post on EmpireAvenue that says pretty much the same thing. http://next.inman.com/2011/08/empire-avenue-its-just-a-game-or-is-it/

Yeah, it is a game. And with any game, it can be manipulated. But, you can still learn something if you keep an open mind about it. ;-)

Aug 15, 2011 12:23 PM #4
Rainer
242,337
Emmary Simpson Tierra Antigua Realty - Tucson AZ
Tierra Antigua Realty - Tucson, AZ
Serving Tucson AZ

Interesting results. I think what we need to do is stop asking 'what's in it for me' when it comes to all of these social media tools and begin to think about 'who's in it' - who is interesting and with whom can I engage. Klout is a great way to measure but shouldn't be the end all yardstick. (If that makes sense)

 

Aug 15, 2011 12:37 PM #5
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Emmary -- I agree. There is no real way to define the level of engagement on any social network. Followers, likes, +k... really none of it matters, per se. What does matter is that you spend your time on social media putting others forward. When you do that, you will gain respect.

Aug 15, 2011 12:45 PM #6
Rainmaker
307,310
Mike Mueller
Tech and Social Media Consultant - Walnut Creek, CA

I've talked to Joe (CEO of Klout) about this, although it was prior to the +K, and I still firmly believe that Klout is powerful.  But not for you or me.  For us, it's a toy, or a game.  It's powerful for the business who wants to identify 300,000 twitter users for a promo (Klout Perk). 

That said, giving a +K to someone is like a virtual pat on the back, that's a good thing.  Like you and I have said, don't just +k and auto tweet - take a minute and tell us WHY.  (please)

Aug 15, 2011 12:55 PM #7
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Mike -- I have often thought that Klout's primary focus was based on the premise of locating an audience for B2C promotion. And, it seems we agree on that point. ;-)

Aug 15, 2011 12:58 PM #8
Anonymous
Debra Trappen

Mike and Clint, I completely agree... I believe it is an amazing tool for companies to identify influencers who may be able (AND open) to assist them in the testing/promoting their products.  You are not required to tweet about the "perks" you receive.  The few I have gotten have been worthy of a shout out... and I follow the "guidelines" for sharing my thoughts.  It really is a slick program.

Remember... in the past, this was only reserved for the elite stars and sports icons... now, they can actually get it in front of the CONSUMER who pays for things. (amazing concept!) The key we all need to remember is being AUTHENTIC in our engagement and content we share.  Being who we are is imperative for these types of tools/programs to work.  Share what you are passionate about - work AND play... don't be forced OR dull and it will be a fun time for all! :) @debra11

Aug 15, 2011 02:28 PM #9
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Debra -- Preach on, sistah! :-) I could not agree with you any more than I do...and, like you, I have gotten perks from this. And, I do tweet about them as I have also found that they are decent products and a good value. Not to mention, it is fun when you qualify for something. ;-)

Aug 15, 2011 02:31 PM #10
Anonymous
Debra Trappen

Amen, brotha Clint!  I figured I would go for it since you called me an "evangelista"... Seriously, that had me roaring... Leo style. :)

Aug 15, 2011 03:24 PM #11
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Debra -- :-) Im still waiting for my Vodka perk to show up. ;-)

Aug 15, 2011 03:35 PM #12
Rainmaker
635,240
Dawn A Fabiszak
Keller Williams Real Estate ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Clint ~ I am really trying to embrace all the social media stuff.  But to be honest, if I were graded, I probably would get an F.  It's difficult for me, and many others I am sure, to keep up with everything going on.

Aug 15, 2011 08:36 PM #13
Rainmaker
189,018
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Hey Dawn -- Yeah, social media is a big thing to grasp. My recommendation is to start small. Pick one thing...master it. Or, at least learn it...then, do it again with another network and learn it. Eventually, it will be second nature.

Aug 16, 2011 12:52 PM #14
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