Social Capital is becoming the new currency of online marketing and a hot new web-tool is putting a number on us all. Do these scores have any legitimacy and professional worth or do high-school politics still reign as the ruler, and standard, of social capital?
Each day I start off with a hot cup of Eastern Cape coffee and my iPhone as I weed through about 40 emails. The subject lines range from general enquiries to specific questions, to Social Media campaign ideas and now more frequently to moments of sheer panic from clients that lie awake each night stressed about the latest cyber-self-esteem-bully — Klout.
What exactly is Klout?
Klout is a tool that users of Social Media platforms can use to measure their “standard of influence”. By using over 35 variables of scoring, this web-based tool will determine the success, or failure, of your online influence by the size of your captivated audience, the probability that your words will be acted upon, and how important those that you influence are and what they do with you and your message. In high school terms: how popular you are, how sweet your ride is, and how many other cool kids will show up at your Friday night rager.
How to use Klout
Klout, in all it’s psychological complex developing glory, is actually a seriously useful tool. Much like my time-management efforts each morning with my emails via smartphone and coffee, Klout is most effectively used for strategy measuring and management. With score updating daily, you can change directions much more quickly than stay the course on a sinking ship campaign. Easily test your methods, tweak your tweets, and refine your Social Media strategy after you learn a thing or two from the new mean girl that keeps score.
After a bit of trial and error, here is what I’ve found that works to increase your Klout score; notice the similarities between these personal social capital gaining tips and a successful social media methodology…
Show Up — register your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts with your Klout score, this is especially helpful if you keep your networks separated, i.e. social and professional.
Size does matter – increase your social network size on all three platforms and you’ll grow your connections and launch platform, both the quantity and quality of your social network are important factors in your Klout score.
Produce better content — the more people retweet your tweets and Like your Facebook posts the higher your Amplification Probability.
Go Mingle — when people @mention you, respond; when someone comments on a post, comment back. Engagement is just as important as the size of your social reach, keep conversations going and communicate with a diverse audience.
Be on the List — being on various Twitter lists is a factor in the topics that you are influential in as well as your reach and network score. Lists are important to more than club doorman’s, they also boost your Klout score.
Ditch the dead-beats — Your follow/follower ratio is of huge importance to your Klout score. Following those that do not follow you back hurts your score, remember your social investment in them raises their score, so help those that help you.
Get in with the In-Crowd — Klout’s Network Influence score is basically based off of the social capital of those in your network. The more influential those that you influence are, the better your score will be. Good for Rasputin, not so great for the new kid.
As we can see, Klout strategy doesn’t fall far from the football bleachers; however, the values that Klout scores on are pretty sound in their judgement and provide good lessons on how to make Social Media work effectively in a personal and professional capacity. Brands launching social media campaigns can take a lesson from Klout scoring to see how and more importantly who they should be targeting as both community bases and spokespeople.
Companies can determine what categories they are strong in and revered for and what they should strive to develop leadership in. Individuals can learn from their score how their influence affects a topic as well as what conversations they can add more value in. Using Klout as a research and development tool for Social Media can render brands, companies, and individuals unstoppable in creating and refining some of the best and most effective marketing strategies in the new playing field.
Stay tuned for how Klout can be leveraged and how brands and companies can develop Social Media campaigns based on Klout scores.