Category Archives: Klout

Why You Should Stop Curating From Top Content Sites

stop sharing curated content from top content sitesLet start off with a question:

Why would you share the most popular content from high traffic content sites that most people are already reading and sharing?

Recently we found a new study released by eMarketer that details the curation sharing from top content sites across the social graph. In one example, Nearly all Upworthy articles go on Facebook. Did you read that? Nearly ALL.

Articles Shared on Social Networks by Publisher Here are some of the numbers:

Nearly 100% of Upworthy articles were shared on Facebook

Nearly one in 10 BuzzFeed articles were shared on Pinterest

With Facebook being the largest social network, it is pretty clear as to why the numbers are skewed heavily in their favor. However, the point is that content from the top sites is being heavily read AND shared by social media users. The top sites garner the largest amount of subscribers, traffic and readers.

It is really important to understand the purpose for content curation and the intended effect you should want it to have with your social media audience. It is also imperative that your social media strategy is inline with that desired intent and can be coupled with an efficient set of tools within your social media management.

Why Should You Share Content From Lesser Known Sites and Authors?

The Purpose Of Content Curation – There are several reasons you should be properly deploying unique content curation into your social media strategy. A few of them are:

1) Providing selfless value in your streams – Relevant content that your audience will find interesting.

2) Sparking conversation – If your content is always interesting to your audience and is “off the beaten path” from what everyone else is reading and sharing, it will spark conversation. This can come in many forms, but one way a conversation opportunity arises is through a RT or share of unique content you have curated. Use these opportunities to thank and open a discussion and remember that conversations build relationships.

3) Thought leadership – If you always have unique content in your streams that your peers do not, you will build more thought leadership, faster.

The Intended Effect From Content Curation – Unique content curation drives action.

1) Clicks/Views – When the content you share is unique, you will get more clicks and views of what you post. Again, this leads to more repeat and new conversations with your audience.

2) Shares – When the content you curate is unique, more people will Retweet and share your posts. Additional opportunities to engage in conversations and build relationships.

3) Discovery – When you curate unique content that result in more of 1 and 2 above, you will see a rise in the number of people who wish to discover more about you. This will translate into looking at your bio, learning about what you do and clicking to your site, landing pages and content.

Social media has a considerable amount of “noise”. If you are going to be successful using content curation, then you need to be able to cut through the noise effectively. If you are curating the same content everyone else is, from sources that everyone is already reading and sharing themselves, you end up amplifying the noise, not cutting through it.

We all want to be unique in life. We all want to display our individualism and be set apart from the crowd. In our real life circumstances this has been ingrained in many of us from a young age. Unfortunately, too many in social media do the exact opposite and are unwilling or thus far unable to spend the time to ensure they are different in this medium.

To make matters worse, tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Klout and many others are now “suggesting” content for you to share. The problem is that they are suggesting POPULAR content based on what everyone else is already reading and sharing, adding more noise to your stream. To be effective with content curation, you need to be both efficient and strategic. These platforms are furthering the problem, not improving the net results.

To be clear, I am not saying to NEVER curate content from the top content sites. I’m saying that these sources receive a ton of traffic and social sharing of their content already, therefore making it less effective for your strategy. Be unique.

Curating UNIQUE content is an important way to add value, cut through the noise and be unique. So what should YOUR answer to our opening question be? “I wouldn’t want to frequently share content from popular sites my target audience is already reading and sharing.

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Filed under Audience, Content, Curation, Engagement, Klout, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Tools

How Social Media Actions Within Relationships Build Trust

There seems to be a new round of social scoring and now “trust” based sites that purport to either determine a persons social influence or business trustworthiness. As if we did not have enough of these sites already, it seems every geek that can code is trying to jump into social media software to try to get a piece of the pie in this ever-growing industry.

Seeming to coincide with this new rush of social media influence and trust score platforms are some bloggers telling people to shut up about them. Not to stop talking about them because they are tired of it, but telling people like me that are highly skeptical of such services ability to accurately measure social and e-commerce influence and trust into a score to shut up. Really?

“Actions Within Relationships Build Trust, not easily manipulated false scores.” #quote

  • Actions that result in trust with your online community are what is important.
  • Real results, actions and revenue are the measurement of trust and value you deliver to your community.
  • Relationships that go beyond conversations with your peers is what truly measures your successful social media marketing.
  • The right social relationships that are earned through proper actions will result in something well beyond an inaccurate score, something that imparts monetary value to both you AND your community.

I was approached a couple of times recently regarding a newer social scoring site. One conversation went something like “I think u would want to because #TrustCloud is like your online credit score. They evaluate profiles & give u a score.” To which I replied, “No algorithm can do that. A credit score is based on your payment history. These social scores can easily be manipulated.”

So let me be very clear. I will not shut up about easily manipulated social media influence scoring sites like Klout, Kred and the like. I will continue to preach real results and help guide my audience to things that will help them achieve those results in their social media marketing efforts. I will continue to battle against all efforts by those people in this industry that have high scores, but no real results to show for it.

Dare I say that ROI matters? You need a return on your investment of time and resources from your social media management that goes beyond your ego and the perception others have of you because of your score!

If your social media marketing success story is about your book, seminars and speaking revenue covering the social media industry, that does not qualify you to preach the validity of scores to a restaurant, entrepreneur or brand. Having done social media marketing successfully for one does. I can and have “gamed” these scoring platforms to get my score to increase. Doing so has always resulted in a reduction in “real” effectiveness and results.

Focus on your actions within your social relationships, so your social media marketing achieves a clearly defined goal, not a high Klout score that doesn’t buy groceries!


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Filed under Community, influence, Klout, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

3 Effective Ways To Use @Klout Everyday

Though I am no fan of “the Klout score” and have written on this extensively. The fact that that self-described scientists and engineers are behind the social influence scoring system and NOT social media professionals, makes the score by default far less that accurate. Further, I am not sure that you can really measure one’s social influence down to a single score.

Having said that, I had originally stopped logging into Klout for sometime after their last score algorithm snafu, however I never did delete my account as many did. I waited a while for the dust to settle and went back in and began to develop some effective uses for their technology outside of my main score. Today I am going to share the three main ways I use Klout daily to improve my social media marketing, messaging, strategy and efficiency.

1) Follow backs on Twitter – Again, though I am not a fan or believer in the Klout score accuracy, I have found that when you get a ton of followers daily (I get between 100-200 new followers every day) it is one of the indicators we look at to determine whether we will follow back or not. Since we do actually look at every new followers bio (at a minimum), we often have to take it further by also reviewing their actual timeline and even Klout score to determine if we are going to follow back. Loosely using the overall score as a measurement of their engagement level, influence or spamming makes quick work of deeper investigation of a follower.

2) Measure content strategy effectiveness – I believe one of the best things about Klout is that it tracks the topics you are influential in. This can be incredibly useful to measure how well you are managing your messaging, conversations and content strategy. If your Klout tracked topics are not inline with your content strategy, messaging and company focus, you need to make some adjustments on your content and conversations to change that. Additionally, if you are not receiving +K from your target market on the proper topics, again you need to make some adjustments.

3) Give +K – One way to more deeply connect with your prospects, customers and influencers is to give them +K on Klout for topics that are important to them and their strategy. I have found this to be as helpful in furthering conversation and building relationships as Follow Friday on Twitter and Likes on Facebook. Remember that your social media marketing should not be about you, but helping and connecting with others.

Again, I am not a Klout fanboy by any stretch. I have simply found ways to use their technology, outside of their main score to make me more effective at social media marketing, relationship building, content strategy and efficiency with follow backs.

Rather than spending time modifying your activity in an attempt to get your Klout score higher than your friends, I highly suggest that you instill some strategy, discipline and good practices that result in return on your investment. Social media marketing is more than content, engagement and relationships. If it is business related, there must be a clear plan, goal and method to deliver value and extract measurable return on investment (ROI). ROI isn’t always or completely measured monetarily, but rather is often a compilation of many metrics that equate to results that are desired. Hopefully monetary measurement is a large factor you are taking into consideration, but not the only one.

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Filed under Facebook, Followers, Klout, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter

My Klout Experiment And The Disturbing Results

In my professional, humble social media opinion, it is about value, engagement and relationships that lead to ROI, not what someone or something says about how influential you are. Having said that, many of you that read my blogs on social media marketing and Klout know that I have been fairly supportive of the company, it’s business model and their perceived desire to provide a reliable, yet imperfect overall influence score.

Fast forward to just after the recent substantial changes Klout introduced a week ago yesterday and the firestorm of unrest that ensued, I wrote a post that supported the changes and tried to put everything in perspective.  In my article titled “Klout Changes Affect Millions” I state “It’s NOT the number increase or decrease that is important here. What’s important with the score is what that number can tell you and how you can make changes to your activity”. As I watched my score and others in the industry continue to decline for no apparent reason, I also began to watch and compare my Klout data with some major brands to try to gain some insight to share to all of you. I noticed only three significant differences between my @fondalo account and some of these brands, celebrities and industry experts:

1) Number of followers – most had thousands more than I do.

2) Following percentage – most don’t follow more than 10-20% of their followers. I follow folks that aren’t spammers and that are my target market. (as should all social media marketers)

3) Engagement – most do not respond and engage with their fans/followers at any significant rate.

At this point there has been so many posts and articles about the substantial changes Klout made and the anger toward the lack of explanation and transparency or any semblance of sense around what has resulted. So I don’t want to add to that. I did however begin to have a hunch regarding the algorithm when comparing my score to some brands.

I know I influence thousands on a daily basis, based on conversations, mentions and RT’s, let alone the significant number of comments, likes and shares I experience. We see significant ROI with our social media efforts as well, which in my opinion is a huge indication of our influence. One rule I have within social media is that I respond to every single mention, comment and RT. Whether it is furthering conversation or a polite thank you, I firmly believe this is important. Most of the larger brands out there do not. I also know that as a social media marketing software company, our target market and therefore friend, fan and follower base is mostly made up of peers with similar or lower scores than myself.

*Note – the time between Klout’s change and the start of my experiment, I wrote a blog post that received the highest traffic, views and comments, as well as being shared more on Twitter and Facebook than any other article I have written. Furthermore, that same period included a Friday, where my twitter account receives literally thousands of mentions in a single day. All the while my score continued a steady decline. Is that possible if influence is truly being measure?

All of these things got me thinking, then asking myself some questions…

1) Does Klout now determine you are more influential if you DO NOT engage/respond to everything?

2) Does Klout now determine you are LESS influential if the folks/brands that mention engage with you have less influence than you do?

I embarked on experiment that was very painful. My hunch regarding number one above was combined with a change in activity to see if anything interesting resulted. Over three days I only responded and engaged when someone directly asked me a question or their mention or comment really required it. All other likes, comments and RT’s were ignored. (I want to note this was so hard for me. I pride myself on not being like the other arrogant social mediaexpertsby always responding and helping others, etc.) It was incredibly difficult to stay firm with my activity pattern change to ensure these 3 days resulted in accurate findings.

Results:

My hunch related to number one above was completely wrong, but I noticed something that is even more disturbing. Based on my reduction in engagement and response to my friends and followers as well as blog comments, you would expect that the rate my score is declining would substantially increase. This did NOT occur. As you see in the image, it maintained the approximately the same level of decrease during the experiment.

Why is that important? It says that according to Klout’s new algorithm, responding and engaging with your friends, followers, fans and Blog “commenters” (which I might add builds relationships and therefore increases opportunity for ROI) has little to do with your influence in the social graph. Disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about this discovery.

What’s more, the data in the image shows two additional frightening discoveries that should be pointed out:

1) Amplification Stabilized – Even though I stopped conversing at usual levels, my amplification stopped declining at the previous steady pace since the Klout changes. Seriously? How does that remotely make sense or be in anyway possible? So by not engaging and thanking people, how much I influence them increases? Disturbing to say the least.

2) Network Impact Increase – After a steep immediate decline at the beginning of my experiment, my Network Impact began to show a pattern of slow steady rise.

So while my overall Klout score continued its steady decline, my overall amplification influence and network influence became more stable or even started to rise.

As a previous proponent of Klout and someone that consistently saw their system as one with proper focus, leadership and focus on accurate depiction of the social graph, I am dismayed. As a heavy social media user, consultant and someone that has driven ROI and strategy for many businesses large and small, I am now almost speechless at what I have found.

Based on my experiment, it appears that Klout’s algorithm changes are not focused on improving their social measurement system, but a clueless attempt to prop up larger brands and celebrities anti-social behavior and stifle effective relationship building that leads to ROI for those that do it right. -OR- even worse, tech geeks and scientific formulas that have no real understanding of social media and it’s proper use in business.

Being a social media technology company, you would have thought Klout would have better managed their decision to release this new tech as well as get in front of this story with better answers that made some kind of sense. Instead, they decided to let social media do what it does and react to it, albeit poorly. This entire thing is an incredible example to other brands on how NOT to manage a crisis and to tech companies on how NOT to let your head get too big. Your customers and users should have a lot to say about the game, not just you.

I am not upset at all that my score lost 11+ Points. I am pissed that a company I trusted, upheld and cheered for has fumbled in such a horrific way. The only way Klout could save face with me at this point is to do what Bank of America is doing in the banking sector. Roll back to previous algorithm and make small incremental changes that are accurate and thoughtful.

*note – I did not add or remove any social media platforms during my experiment. I only altered my engagement pattern. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Filed under Facebook, Klout, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Twitter

Klout Changes Affect Millions – What You Need To Know

Did you notice?  Of course you did. Millions of people’s Klout scores were affected by the recent changes to their scoring algorithm. The majority affected saw a decline in the overall score they previously garnered through the site. My score dropped by 11 points. OMG, the sky is falling!!!!

Now, hold on here. Take a deep breath and relax. My take on it is this…  Anything that improves the overall measurement of ones effectiveness and influence in the social graph is a great thing. Having no third party measurement tools is not an option, nor is ignoring tools that are out there. Some kind of independent measurement, scoring is crucial to being effective in social media marketing.

But listen to me carefully here. It’s NOT the number increase or decrease that is important here. What’s important with the score is what that number can tell you and how you can make changes to your activity. Not changes that improve your score for score’s sake, but rather changes that improve your results and ROI.

My Klout score is important to me about as much as wearing the right attire to a business meeting, or that the outside of my office looks nice. It is often first impressions that make a huge difference. What should be most important to YOU is what are you doing within social media to impact others positively and obtain an appropriate return on your time and resource investment with the medium.

Based on all the changes made to the Klout algorithm, the one most important to me every day is True Reach. Mine went from 9k to 17,000. THAT is the number I care most about. How many people am I actually reaching and engaging with. The significant changes to the scoring platform seem to measure influence now more on how many people with more influence than you engage with you. This is perfect for many, not for me. Our users and clients are peers, like social media marketers, agencies and consultants. Therefore, most will not have more influence than I do and I am ok with that.

Honestly, if my Klout score is a 5, but our social media accounts drive the appropriate level of users and subscribers to our technology, then I am happy with that. You need to keep your eye on the proper measurement items and not the superfluous ones like your score. Measure your effectiveness based on return and goal achievement, and pay attention to your Klout score as a helpful way to make improvements that impact those goals.

As many of you have gotten used to from me, I tend to just go ahead and tell it like it is. So today is no different. Stop whining and complaining. Klout says they made improvements to their system to better reflect influence, so that is what’s important. Accuracy should trump your ego in business always!

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Filed under Klout, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

Why My Klout Score Will Not Likely Exceed 75

In my investigation of Klout and it’s scoring algorithm, as well as watching videos of Megan Berry, Klout’s Marketing Manager, explain the technology, I believe my Klout score is likely to remain where it is. I have seen the improvements with their systems and how they affect my score, combined with how my sustained and consistent activity creates an impact as well.

There are many factors that go into their scoring algorithm that in my opinion provides the best measurement of someone’s social influence on various topics. Think Google’s search algorithm and the complexities that it addresses and carry that over to the social media space and I think you will get the idea of the variables involved. It is highly complex and is taking a lot into consideration, then uses that data collection to establish a baseline for a scoring matrix.

My investigation has determined that at some level the amount of engagement you receive from those with higher Klout scores than you is a significant factor in your score improvement over time. Since I am one that does not follow celebrities, nor do I engage with industry “guru’s or #fauxperts“, this will peg my score at a consistent level based on the activity I am currently doing. I am also perfectly comfortable with my level of activity, engagement and the results we achieve based on those levels.

I for one have never changed what I do for my social media marketing in order to influence my score. Most of the people I know personally that have higher scores are also those realizing ROI and effective social media campaigns. I will share with you some of what I do as a part of my social media management that makes me effective, resulting in the success and Klout score I have.

Content is king:

Everything in social media starts with content. Sharing valuable, relevant content for your target audience is THE most important thing. You must be consistent at this practice, maintaining a constant stream of value. Additionally, you need to post about YOU, what you are doing and add the human element into your presence.  Valuable content breeds conversation, which results in relationship.

Related to effectiveness, your content must create engagement. Likes, comments, Retweets and sharing is what you are looking for and is a significant part of what Klout measures. Make people laugh, post things that spark action and involvement. This is the social part of social media. Oddly enough it is also the social part of the real world as well. It’s how we typically get to know people when we first meet them.

I am very comfortable knowing that my consistent, relevant content coupled with my engaging and helpful spirit will keep my Klout score roughly where it is today. I hope this post helps you to increase your effective social media marketing that produces financial gains and a Klout score that reflects that hard work!

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Filed under Klout, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

Klout Perks – Going Beyond the Social Media Checkin

As most of you know I am heavily involved in most things in social media. I was an early adopter of Foursquare, HootSuite and Klout. I am constantly checking in when I am out and about and love how it fosters discussions. Due to how often I discuss coffee and/or am meeting at Starbucks, I even made Brian Solis’ blog post about “the top 100 most connected people within the group mentioning Starbucks” back in February. Check out number 90. :-)

The fact that I discuss coffee and Starbucks so frequently has resulted in being constantly jabbed by friends and followers. It has also become an incredible connection point to build closer relationships with many people simply because we have this love in common. This common connection leads to conversation, which leads to relationships, which leads to discussing business. This is social media at its core.

This weekend after church, I took the kids to Subway. As usual I checked in on Foursquare, which pushes my checkins out to Facebook and Twitter automatically. This started some fun conversations both on Facebook and Twitter as it often does. But something carried over to the next morning, that I found incredibly powerful and I thought it should be shared with you.

Monday morning Klout sent me a tweet from their @KloutPerks account. (See pic to the left) What do you think the chances of me getting a “Perk” for Subway, the day AFTER I recently visited? Slim to none in my opinion. Clearly Klout is doing something incredibly smart and effective, that transcends the social media check-in marketing we are all familiar with.

By having access to my Twitter account when I signed up for Klout, and using their algorithm to analyze my posts and content, they are able to discern the topics I am influential about. More importantly, they are also able to track various places I check-in to, my social media content, as well as brands I tweet about, then use this data to provide promotions for brands. The ability for a brand to target influencers based on their interest in a brand AND also tie their follower counts and Klout score into that data is beyond brilliant. Major brands can generate buzz through those people who can generate the largest reach and reward them for doing so.

This not only represents an incredible tool for larger brands, but a very interesting additional revenue model for Klout. I believe we will continue to see more of this from Klout as it is a far more effective marketing solution over the standard location-based coupon scenario.

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Filed under check-in, Facebook, geolocation, Hootsuite, Klout, location based services, Mobile, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter