Klout, the free online tool that measures social influence, has been the source of much debate: what’s their secret algorithm, why do they change their measurement techniques causing scores to rise and fall at whim, and are their scores actually meaningful anyway? To me, the real issue is when people start trying to game the system get their Klout score opp – that definitely is not the point. Rather than working for Klout, might I suggest you make Klout work for you? Here’s how:
Step 1: Forget about the score – it’s about topics
More important than your Klout score is the areas of influence Klout tells the world that you have. To see them, just log in to Klout.com. Look for “Your Topics” (currently located in the lower left quadrant). Your top three areas of social influence, as determined by Klout (based on content you tweet, your interactions, etc.). Roll over that area and “See More” will appear – click it, and you’ll see all your areas of “social Klout.” This is your opportunity to do some reputation management…if there are topics listed that you don’t want the social sphere to associate with you, just “remove the topic” by rolling over that particular topic’s icon at left, clicking the box, and hitting “okay” to confirm.
Step 2: Find others who are on topic
Whether you are working on social media for yourself, your own company, or someone else’s brand, Klout can be a great tool to help you find others who are influential in and/or influenced by the desired topic of expertise. Just key this into your browser:
Example: Say you are launching a new make-up line and you want to find out who is talking about and talked about in terms of beauty on social media. You would type in http://klout.com/#/topic/beauty – and here’s what you would see:
Saving you oodles of time scouring social feeds and the internet, Klout puts everything together into one neat dashboard that shows you this topic’s: top influencers as determined by Klout, top +K recipients (meaning social media users whom other social media users have “given Klout” – +K – to because they believe they are influential in this area), and the latest greatest related buzz.
Step 3: Mine the influence of others
What do you do with all of the great info you just got in step 2? This is the fun part. Start educating yourself by seeing what the top influencers, +K recipients and latest buzz-makers are saying. Look at who they are following – and who follows them, then look at those followers / followings and go deeper into their connections, and so on. Through all of this, you can begin to build your own, unique list of online influentials. Follow them on Twitter (and in other social networks) to begin connecting with them. Retweet relevant content and interact with them socially to start your relationship. Before you know it, some of the influencers will be following you. Then when you are ready to share your big news, you’ll have a foundation of followers to help you along. This is the “networking” part of social networks.