I was checking out Klout’s new beta layout, and liked how easy it was to see and understand. It really helped me get an understanding on how the whole system worked. And it made me realize I was on the right track with some of my strategies to improve my Klout.
I’m sure some people wonder why Klout is even important, or will dismiss it as nothing more than a popularity contest. But think of it as a way to show off your social media chops — quantifiable proof that you are awesome. Some marketers are even using Klout as a way to reach special influencers with their promotions. I’ve personally gotten some cool swag from TV studios that want me to watch their shows. Audi asked several Klouters to test drive their new A8, and TBS gave Sony PSP 3000s to key influencers. Plus, right or wrong, some employers are basing hiring decisions on Klout scores.
So here are three secrets you can use to improve your Klout score.
1. Reduce the number of followers.
This seems counter-intuitive at first, but it makes sense when you realize that one of Klout’s scores is your Amplification Probability, or “the likelihood that your content will be acted upon.” The more followers you have who are not acting on your tweets, the lower this score will be.
Think of it this way: if you have 2,000 followers, and 20 of them retweet something you send, you have a 1% retweet rate. But let’s say you drop that to 1,000 followers — eliminating people who haven’t used Twitter in a few months, spammers, and abandoned accounts — and you still get those 20 retweets, you now have a 2% retweet rate. Your Amplification Probability rate has doubled.
Tactic: Use ManageFlitter.com to find all people who have not tweeted within the last 2 months or longer, and unfollow them. This will get rid of the people who aren’t contributing anything to you, and cut out all the deadwood. They’re adding to your Following count, but aren’t doing anything at all, except dragging the value of your network down.
Tactic #2: Make sure you’re actually creating interesting stuff that people want to act on. See Secret #3 for more on that.
2. Engage mostly with people who are likely to engage with you.
Klout measures your True Reach, which is an indication of how engaged your network is. If they’re engaged with their own networks and are talking with people, not blasting and broadcasting, this adds value to your network, especially if they respond to you. It means they’re real people, not bots, not spammers, and not celebrities.
This doesn’t mean you should only follow people who are following you. There are some people who may have valuable information you want to get, and if you ignore them, you could be missing some important stuff. But it means you need to be selective about those people you follow. Don’t just follow people because you think they might be interesting. Be sure.
Tactic: I hate to say it, but drop all the celebrities you’re following (keep your favorite one or two). Also drop the news networks you’re not paying attention to. Block & Report for Spam anyone who is spamming out junk. And unfollow anyone whose sole Twitter contribution is nothing but motivational quotes. One or two quotes a day is fine, but when there are 10 a day, and nothing else, they don’t need to be in your Twitter stream.
Tactic #2: Use ManageFlitter to identify those people, and then use Formulists.com to keep that list clean. Formulists will show you people who have unfollowed you. Use the “Recently Unfollowed Me” list a few times a week to identify those spammers. It’s also a common tactic of spammers to follow a bunch of people, get those people to follow back, and then unfollow everyone. This lets them artificially boost their number. But Formulists lets you spot those people
Tactic #3: Pay close attention to your new followers. Don’t automatically follow everyone back. Ignore people who don’t have an avatar, a bio, or talk about helping people make money in their bio.
3. Make an impression on influencers.
I once asked Jason Falls what the secret was to getting a lot of readers on a blog, and he said, “Write good shit.” If you read his Social Media Explorer blog, you get a daily dose of good stuff, sometimes two or three articles in a single day. Doug Karr does the same thing with his Marketing Tech blog.
If you want to reach influencers — people with high Klout scores — you need to be innovative. Write about new ideas, new tools, new strategies, new ways of thinking. You can’t just aggregate the same old stuff that everyone else has seen.
Strategy: (This point is a whole strategy, not just a simple tactic). Your blog is the hub of your personal branding campaign. It needs to rock. You need to write your own good shit, and get a lot of people to notice it. If you get a lot of people interested in what you’re talking about, it will eventually catch the interest of the other influencers. As they catch on, your stuff will spread, and your Network Influence will grow.
Tactic: Get to know the influencers, offline if possible. Attend conferences and networking events. Have coffee or lunch with them. Interact with them online too. Set up your TweetDeck or Hootsuite app with columns and lists so you can keep track of your industry’s influencers. When you read their tweets, respond where appropriate.
Tactic #2: Don’t be afraid to ask your influencers to retweet your stuff once in a while. Don’t make it a regular thing. Once a week is probably too much. Once a month is okay. But — and this is a big one — make sure you’re retweeting their stuff a whole lot more. It shows that you have an interest in them and believe in what they say. While they don’t have to do it for you in return, it shows that you’re a giving person, which means other people will do it for you too. This is another reason you need to retweet those up-and-comers too — the people who have a lower score and less popularity than you.
This is not about gaming the system. This is about being a good social media citizen. If you tweet and write interesting stuff, maintain a strong network, make valuable contributions, and don’t feed the jackasses, your Klout score will naturally rise.
But if you engage in bad behavior like trying to artificially gain followers, tricking people into retweeting your stuff, or contributing nothing whatsoever of value (looking at you, random motivational quote generators!), then your Klout score will sink like a stone.
These are awesome tips Erik. Thanks for putting this together, it is appreciated.
Mike, You also have to put out a lot of good content AND start getting more followers who are interested in your stuff. Ask some influencers in your network to retweet your stuff, which will introduce you to their followers, and help get them interested in following you too.
Leave comments on other people’s blogs as a way to introduce yourself to them as well. Gary Vaynerchuk built his wine-and-social-media empire by doing this.
I followed this advice and trimmed my Following list of celebrities, news sites and folks who do not follow back, bringing my Following list numbers very close to my number of Followers. This did nothing for my Klout score and merely made my timeline less interesting.
Ari and Cindy, good question. I actually do mean to reduce the number of followers by blocking spammers and abandoned accounts. You’re right about not being able to stop followers otherwise.
Lisa, thank you very much.
Great tips, and I appreciate the fact that it is all “white hat” stuff. Nothing spammy, gimicky which is what I thought I might be in for when I clicked on the link. thanks for the new tools.
I have the same question as Ari. The post left me confused about what you meant on this point.
Reduce followers or reduce who you follow? It’s one thing to authorize third-party tools to determine which of your followers are spammers etc and to block them from following you, but you have no way of forcing your followers to unfollow you other than blocking them or reporting them as spam.
If you mean to reduce the people you follow, that’s different.
You have tons of good info there. I always wondered why formulists were so popular. I’ve never used them. And I’ve been following Jason Falls for a long time without a followback! Oh well – He does tweet good stuff. I like following him. The most interesting thing to me if that I never thought about the idea that you’ll have a higher RT ratio with fewer followers. Does Klout make a distinction between people who click the “RT” button or people who build a reply into a RT?? I always thought most replies are good for Klout. Have I got this right? Lots of food for thought.
Thanks for the good info. Good Klout will lead to a good EmpireAvenue stock price. ;) One good thing leads to another.
@Billy, I appreciate the question. I’m actually going to try to answer it tomorrow in another post.
And thank you, @Kathy and @Erin.
A good post, thanks. With great common sense tips and some new tips I wasn’t aware of, like reducing the number of followers. I do have a question. Why should I care about my Klout score? What exactly is it, and how does it influence me on twitter? Thanks for any insight you can give!
“Really good shit” Erik – Ha! seriously, good points, all of them.
By the way, I just tried subscribing to your blog via email & got error message.
Look forward to reading more posts.
Excellent points, Erik – thanks for the insight here.