Gaming Klout – Increasing your algorithmic social influence

Klout LogoKlout materializes the benefits of being influential and gives you a snapshot of your influence. When Klout first launched I knew it would be ripe for gaming. Who wouldn’t want to have a high Klout score knowing Hotels, Casinos, Airlines, and many other businesses use Klout to select customers for special treatment. For now, gaming Klout scores makes search engine optimization look like rocket science.

So, why would you want to increase your Klout score? Let’s face it, companies now have an outlet to judge us beyond our credit scores. You can now know not only how credit worthy a customer is, but their amplification potential. Those who are likely to be heard should be treated delicately and given priority support, complimentary upgrades, and their needs considered more carefully and policies bent to accommodate them. They are your customers most likely to bring praise or create a PR nightmare.

Kred LogoI don’t believe Klout will survive in the long run. Internal algorithms and API’s supplied by social networks will reign supreme, and Klout will be replaced by services that simply aggregate the social networks internal scores. There are also new offerings on the market, like Kred from PeopleBrowsr. Most of the tactics we discuss today will still benefit your social network influence long after Klout and Kred.

At this time, I don’t know of any companies aggregating your social influence together with your home value and other easy to track indicators (arrest records even? Nice!). We will surely see that in the near future, as even my accountant suggested in the past that I start using Zillow to lookup clients home values before bidding projects (I do not do that).

There are many easy ways to increase your algorithmic social scores. Before we begin, let’s look at measurable factors of ones social influence:

  1. Engagement: How many users are engaging with your content, how often and to what extent. Retweets, @mentions, shares, likes, photos, etc.
  2. Audience: Who engages with you, and how influential are they. How large is your audience?
  3. Amplification: When a user shares your content with their network, does their network engage with your content? How likely is your content to be engaged outside of your network?
  4. Social Networks: Are you influential and your users engaged on multiple networks?

To increase your apparent influence, you need a large network across multiple networks and your audience must appear deeply engaged with you. They should be sharing your content, and the content they share should be engaged with by their own audience. Videos you upload to YouTube should have tons of views and comments, your tweets should be retweeted by influential users, your Facebook page should have active discussions and a ton of likes, etc.

Create discussions

Don’t just drop a link to your latest post on your social networks. Create discussions centered around the content. For example, if you were to share this post you could ask:

What do you think about gaming Klout scores? —link—

Use more networks

Don’t focus on only Twitter or Facebook. Being influential and having an engaged audience on multiple networks is important. Have a presence everywhere, and add those networks to Klout.

Give Klout to those you influence

Give +K to those you influence and that use Klout. They will see you gave them +K, and are likely to return the gesture.

Befriend influential users

Connect individually with those who are influential in your industry and genuinely network with them. The more influential friends you have the more likely they are to mention you and promote your content.

Offer advice

Monitor social networks for questions you can answer. A personal trainer might monitor Twitter for topics like “running sore ?”. You would find posts like this one:

Any tips to help deal with sore knees from running; other than ice; painkillers and rest? #asktwitter

A trainer would have a million awesome tips to stuff into an reply. If your sincere and genuine, you’ll get a reply. Help others, engage others, and get yourself out there more.

Repost high quality content

Klout and other scoring systems don’t consider the originality of content. Be the first to share quality content, and your likely to be retweeted. You can catch on to what topics people in your industry will retweet and start posting about/linking to those topics regularly.

Post outside of peak hours

Try posting your best content outside of peak hours, and having influential friends interact with the content. By posting outside of peak hours and having the content interacted with straight away, others are more likely to hear you over all of the noise and more likely to interact.

Engage in popular topics

Currently trending topics are a great way to get people to notice you. When a topic is trending that you can contribute value to, get in there.

Make it easy for users to share your sites content

Use A/B split testing to fine tune the social integration on your site to generate the most interactions. If you have an e-commerce store and allow people to “share” your products, put an @mention at the end of the share.

Engage with social support

Banks and other brands have taken to social media to offer support. Customers asking for impersonal support are replied to within their main stream – giving you @ mentions from highly influential accounts. Everyday, engage with a new brand and ask a relevant question that warrants a reply.

Ditch the tin foil hat for a radio beacon

Privacy is overrated. Make it ridiculously easy for your information to be consumed. Link your social networks anywhere that allows you to and use the same email/personal information for each. Make it easy to track you.

Get grey (maybe black)

These are not tactics I would recommend, but if your reading this you likely want fast results.

  1. Use MTurk/Microworkers to pay people to engage with your content on a large scale – positively tested recently on a fake account
  2. Create an army of low influence accounts
  3. Use random accounts to engage with the content your audience shared – false amplification

A lot of this advice is simply smart social networking and gets your foot in the door to build a great network. The more you rely on grey tactics to increase your algorithmic influence, the less you will stand up to the scrutiny of a manual review of a company looking to connect with you directly for a campaign.

Who knows how your life will be aggregated in the future, just make sure it’s easy for them to get all of the information you want used to your advantage.

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