There is a very good chance that you have never heard of Klout. This would be especially true if, like Yasir and I, your primary focus online is doing Internet marketing. When it comes to straight up making money online, Klout is not as important as SEO and social media. That said, it is somewhat important and it is also an indicator of just how successful you are in other things.
So What Is Klout Anyway?
Klout is an effort to try to give everyone a numerical score of just how much clout they have online. How much of an influencer are you in your field? To give you an idea of how Klout works, Stephen Colbert has a score on Klout of 90. By comparison, my score (I admit that I’ve been really negligent about this) is a lowly 41 (just above the average of 40).
Some people actually have multiple scores. Visit Klout and try looking up Jon Stewart for example (He’s the host of The Daily Show). I found that his score ranges from 47 to 91 depending on which version of him is actually looked at. Even Colbert has different versions listed so it’s a bit hard to figure out.
Most of us though will have just one Klout score. You won’t know what it is until you sign up and link every network you’re a member of to Klout though. The more networks you link up, the higher your Klout score will be.
Why Do I Care?
One of the most important reasons to worry about your Klout score is because it’s increasingly being looked at when it comes to getting a job. There are horror stories floating around the web of people who applied for a job, were offered the position and then lost it only because their Klout was too low for the job they applied for.
Increasingly, when there are a great many candidates looking to take a single job and the interviewer is looking for a reason to hire one person over the other, they decide whom to hire based on your Klout.
Now the thing is, Quantum SEO Labs primarily caters to people running their own businesses online or already working for a company and simply purchasing SEO services. So why would our readers care about their own Klout scores? Well, aside from bragging rights, there is one other very good reason to care: it affects your ability to engage in social media connections.
If you want to get the big boys in your particular industry to notice you then it’s important to have a decent Klout score simply because that is one metric by which others will judge you. If your Klout score is in the 70s or 80s, you are much more likely to get additional followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook and likes for your Facebook page. You are also likely to get more visitors to your website because of it.
Oh and did I mention the perks? This is yet another cool feature of Klout – the higher your ranking, the more “perks” you will be offered. In essence, these are freebies from people hoping that you’ll talk about them on your various social media connections. Not a reason in and of itself to worry about a better Klout score but hey, everyone likes to get free stuff once in a while…
Building Your Klout
So, you’ve decided that you need to improve your Klout score. Here’s what you need to do, based on my own research. By the way, this is the same advice I plan to follow myself in order to build up my Klout so that I can bump that average score up to something a little more impressive:
Don’t Post Fluff
Klout doesn’t care so much how often you update your Twitter feed or Facebook status. The important thing as far as they are concerned is how many people you are having an influence on. The more people who seem to be talking about what you’re saying and actively engaging with you, the higher your Klout score is going to be.
Want to know the best way to make this happen? The same advice we always give to folks trying to build their SEO – don’t post fluff. Nobody cares that you were out walking your dog or that you aren’t feeling well today. On the other hand, if you just tried a really expensive wine and it turned out to be pretty bad, that’s useful information which may get people talking and actually gain you some klout.
In general, you want to build up a good quality network of posts which people will actually look forward to seeing. The key however is to do it somewhere that will make a difference as far as Klout is concerned. Unfortunately, it doesn’t check everything. Otherwise, my Disqus activity (I’m an avid user of it) could well help me to build up my Klout score.
Build Your Network
The old adage that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door isn’t quite so true anymore. These days, you need to do more than just build a better mousetrap. You also have to go out and actively tell people that you managed to do so. The best way to do that is to build yourself a network of people around you who will actually care what you have to say.
This goes back to posting good content which people will find useful. However, it’s also important to ensure that you actually engage with others. Unless your name is in fact Stephen Colbert (and Mr. Colbert, if you are reading this, I love your show and hope to be a guest someday), you need to actively talk to people on the social networks.
Check what people are saying and help them with their problems. Post useful ideas and information about your industry on a regular basis and comment on what other people are writing. Is this work? Absolutely it is. However, it’s well worth your while to do so because it will make the difference in building a real social presence, not to mention gaining some additional Klout.
Don’t Try to Game the System
I know all about trying all kinds of tricks to game the system and make it appear as if you are more popular than you actually are. Sorry folks but that simply doesn’t work. This is not a matter of building some kind of automated program which will make it appear as if you have influence when you really don’t have it.
Now I’m not saying that this can’t work in the short run. I’m sure that it is possible to game the system for a time. However, like Google and SEO, your ultimate goal isn’t going to be to gain a short term boost in your Klout score. You want something that will be sustained over a long period of time and that means that you need to build a real profile.
Otherwise, just as with Google when they catch websites which try to game the system, you will feel Klout’s wrath when they dump you down into the single digits.
Engage with Influencers
Another great way to build up your Klout is to actively engage with influencers in your area of interest. What does this mean exactly? Well first of all, it does not mean that you blindly retweet everything they have to say. Instead, you want to actually be thoughtful about things and offer them a reason to respond.
You should also find yourself a large number of people who are influencers in your area and actually engage with them. You may not get the Stephen Colbert of your particular industry but you may get a lesser known influencer to take the time to notice you and actually engage with whatever it is that you have to say.
Once you have built that initial set of relationships, getting to the higher levels of the food chain is only a matter of time. You simply need to be consistent about building relationships and maintaining them. Eventually, the next tier of influencers will notice you and engage with you until you are the top dog and everyone is trying to grab your attention instead of the other way around.
Be Sure to Connect All Your Networks
Even if you don’t have many friends or followers on a particular network, every little bit helps. Put in your Tumblr feed, your Instagram feed and more. All of these networks can and will help you to build up your Klout score. By the way, if you are lucky enough to have a Wikipedia page about you, it may be useful to mention that to Klout as well (I can’t find a way to do it so you may need to e-mail them). This does seem to help build your Klout score up though so it’s important to include it.
Try Using Buffer
This is actually pretty cool. I just found Buffer and I’m already in love. It’s kind of like Hootsuite used to be before they started charging for most of their services. In essence, Buffer allows you to set up lots and lots of content for your social media networks and then have it all shared automatically throughout the day.
In essence, the idea behind Buffer is that you set up lots of tweets, newsfeed and other stuff one time and then stuff gets sent out all through the day without the need to constantly remember to tweet or update.
You can also use the service to send out material you find elsewhere so that if you find a bunch of cool photos online somewhere and you want to share them, you don’t have to create your own content. Ditto for sharing news articles and whatever other content you happen to run across which you think folks who see your feeds and or updates would be interested in seeing.
Ask Lots of Questions
Yet another way to easily build up your Klout score is to ask plenty of questions on Twitter, facebook and more. People enjoy answering questions and telling you what they think (just check out the comments section on Yahoo! News and you’ll see lots of people sharing their opinions, some very graphically and inappropriately but still – you can see people like it).
If you ask the right kinds of questions, especially about things that are currently in the news, not only will you get more people to follow you, like you and retweet you but you’ll also improve your Klout. In essence, by doing this, you show the world that you are someone they should be engaging with and that is what klout is really all about.
Don’t Forget to Make Your Content Readily Available
If you really want to build your klout, make sure that whatever you post online is attributed to you and is easy to share. The more often people retweet you, post a link to you on Facebook or actively engage with you in any other way, the higher your Klout score is going to be. Of course, this is also a great way to increase the number of visitors to your website so it’s pretty much a win-win.
What You Post Is More Important Than How Often You Post
As I noted above, simply sharing fluff is worthless. In fact, if you post constantly but it’s also crap, you’re likely to lose points on Klout rather than gain them. Klout doesn’t just check how often you post. It also wants to know whether anyone cared that you posted something. That’s one of the reasons it’s so devilishly hard to game the system to begin with – because you have to get real people to notice you in addition to simply posting.
I’m going to work on improving my own Klout score and hope to post an update to this post in a few months with a much improved score. However, I do know it will take time. There are no easy fixes and you should not expect to see your score change overnight (nor will I be expecting it to, even though it would be awesome if it did).