It’s really been grinding Douglas Karr’s gears that my Klout score is higher than his, even if it’s only by a couple points or so.
He mentioned his anguish during a recent talk at a Northwest Indiana tweetup, and then again on his Marketing Tech radio show, so I know it’s getting to him. Still, Doug has set the bar plenty high, so to even come close to him on something is a pretty big deal, let alone beat him. (And since it’s the only thing I’m going to beat him in — ever — I want to hold on to this for as long as I can.)
It’s possible to game the Klout system, but it takes a long-term strategy. Sure, you can try to work it in short bursts, but the system will weed out people who don’t stay dedicated, mostly because they use cheap techniques that take too much energy and effort for an extended period of time. So I came up with my own system that will work, by tricking Klout into thinking I’m actually a model Twitter citizen. Here’s how I did it.
1) Be choosy about who I follow.
One of the things Klout pays attention to is the follower/following ratio, how influential my audience is, and whether they take action on my tweets. Having a big network doesn’t do me any good if I’m following junk accounts, abandoned accounts, or spammers.
I use Manage Flitter to unfollow people who don’t follow me and haven’t tweeted in the last three months. This way, I clean out all the deadwood on my network. Why run up my following count on people who won’t use the system more than once every 90 days? They don’t provide value, so they’re out.
I also carefully consider whether to follow someone. I’ll follow people if they provide good value, if they are real people and not brands, and if they don’t tweet crap, constant news headlines, or motivational quotes. I avoid the spam accounts, bot accounts, and the accounts that follow 2,000 people but have never written a single tweet. By following people who know how to use Twitter properly, my network is made up of people I’m happy to read and retweet.
2) Be choosy about who follows me.
I am actually a little choosy about people who follow me. I will “block & report for spam” any porn accounts, anyone who uses Twitter to promote their MLM or money-making system, or is going to do nothing but sell crap. By eliminating these people, my network is more engaged and more likely to read my tweets and react to them. I don’t need to artificially boost my follower account by letting in these spammers and fakers, and I would certainly never join one of those “find followers fast” networks that promise to boost my numbers.
3) Tweet good stuff.
If you want people to pay attention to your stuff and retweet it, make sure you say something useful. I will never tweet out motivational quotes, daily “good morning tweeps” messages, or news headlines after news headline. Instead, I send out things that will be useful, interesting or funny to my Twitter network. Since my network is made up primarily of social media folks, writers, and people with a sense of humor, I make sure at least half of my tweets will be appealing to one or more of those groups. The other half are real conversations and responses to other Twitterers.
4) Retweet good stuff.
I set up a few columns on my TweetDeck to monitor people I want to pay careful attention to. I have columns for people in my state, other social media pros, humor writers and comics, and PR and marketing pros. Whenever someone in those groups tweets something useful, interesting, or funny, I retweet it. I also respond to their conversations with thoughtful responses, and answer questions.
This introduces these new voices to my own network. And since I have earned my network’s trust by only tweeting out good stuff, they’ll read and respond to those retweets as well. This helps expand their networks by connecting these people to each other, which can enhance my own reach as well.
5) Write good blog posts.
Of course, the best way to get people to retweet my stuff is to write good blog posts in the first place. People don’t retweet my vacation photos. They don’t retweet posts where I talk about what I do, what my plans are for my company, or what kind of magazine I would be. I have to write useful information, like exploding grammar myths, how social media is not an entry level position, or an SEO strategy using microsites and specialty domain names. By writing useful posts like these, and promoting them on Twitter, people are more willing to retweet them to their own networks.
So that’s my strategy for gaming my Klout score. By spending an hour writing a single blog post, searching for valuable information to tweet and retweet, and by sending it all out to a drum-tight network that I insure is made up only of valuable and interesting people, I’m able to trick Klout’s algorithm into boosting my overall score without having to work very hard to. . . ah, dammit.