The Chase For Influence Via Klout

What started out as one thing kind of turned into a little research project for myself, and now I’m ready to talk about it. It’s the chase for influence, and I used Klout to measure it because I wanted to get a better handle on just how it might work and not work. Here’s the tale.

On June 24th I put out a post called 21 Of The Top Black Social Media Influencers. I wrote that for a specific reason which I talked about on the post, so I’m not going to bring it up here.

I did some things with that post that I don’t usually do. With our friend Ileane’s help I first looked through Klout scores as my criteria for who to select. Once the post was out I made sure to try to find some, not all, of the people I’d mentioned in the post. Actually only a couple because I wanted to see if those people would find it for themselves. I went to Facebook and selected certain people and asked for their help in promoting the post. I didn’t do it on Twitter because I thought if some people didn’t see their name in the list they might not be as happy with it.

That post got a lot of response. Most of the people mentioned in the post stopped by to thank me. It got retweeted all over the place for many days. It got mentioned in a couple of radio programs; Ileane was influential in getting that done. And it even got mentioned in passing on a few other blogs.

And something strange happened. By using social media, my influence, through Klout, suddenly jumped. It actually went up 3 points in 4 or 5 days; pretty amazing since Klout only used to move once a week. So I thought I’d see what I could do to keep it going high.

I now have a smartphone and I have an app I use called Tweetcaster to keep me connected with Twitter; works great for me. Anyway, I knew that Twitter was the biggest factor in Klout rankings so I undertook a new role. I started talking to a lot of people on Twitter via their messages, and I started retweeting many links as well, almost always adding some kind of comment. I often went and left a message on the post as well, but Klout doesn’t count blogs right now.

I did that for a couple of weeks, and I found that not only did many people talk back to me at least once or twice but my Klout score jumped up a bit more. In the next two weeks it jumped 2 more points; I was on the verge of 70. When you hear that the average is around 19 (I wonder how they get that since most people in my stream seem to be coming in closer to 30) that’s pretty good.

But you know what? That can be fun but it can also be tiring. It’s definitely time consuming, and when you’re not making any money doing it and it’s pulling you away from work, you start to ease off some. That’s what I did; I still go in here and there but nothing like that two week period. And what’s happened? My Klout score has decreased two spots, and will probably fall some more.

The experiment proves one thing; Klout really loves it when you play the game. And playing the game can be tough; after all, most of us have other things to do. Since I refuse to do a lot of automation I know that to keep my score up I’d have to continue at a pace that’s unreasonable. Actually, I’ve noticed that automation hasn’t really helped Karen’s blog all that much as far as her Klout score,and she’s all over the place. This tells me that Klout can discern automation from real engagement.

Another experiment that’s yielded some answers that I probably already knew, but just had to test. Unless you’re making money with it all, this type of influence definitely isn’t the way to go; whew! I wonder if my influence would grow if I wore funny hats…

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38 comments on “The Chase For Influence Via Klout

  • Your funny hat wearing score just went up 5 points!!
    Seriously, thanks for doing this research and I’m glad your seeing that engagement has made a difference for you. It’s funny you mentioned monetization because I just talked to Justin from DragonBlogger the other day about this and he does well with Sponsored Tweets. Might be worth a look 🙂

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Ileane, I’d hate myself if I went the sponsored tweets route. Not how I’d want to make money on Twitter, if I actually wanted to make money on Twitter.

      • Mitch, I’m not sure I understand the reluctance, but what do you think about this. Why not advertise your services on Sponsored Tweets or MyLikes? Last time I checked the rates were very affordable and the audience is targeted. Do you invest in any other form of advertising? Just curious, since we’re on the topic.

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        Ileane, I’m reluctant for the same reason I don’t like paid review posts on blogs. It just seems like that’s not what the medium was set up for, and thus I’ve decided not to participate until the Twitter folks themselves say “okay, we’re opening up advertising, so who wants to play along.” And right now, no, I don’t invest in any type of advertising.

  • Most of this post went right past my head (not over it, though) ‘cos as you know I don’t use facebook or twitter, though I do remember you mentioning Klout before. But it’s put me in mind of something…

    Some weeks back I was getting worried because my stats were getting low. I worried myself silly thinking that it was my comment policy (a different one from the one I have now), or the post I did on racism, or something else that might’ve upset people. Then I got into a mood to post a lot and – hey, suddenly the stats climbed and I realised, it had nothing to do with what I’d posted, it was how little I’d been posting before.

    Which is a bummer for me as I’m just about to take another break!

    Oh internet, internet, how fickle you are.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Val, it seems to work the same way for blogs, strangely enough, but in a different way. Last November when I had a week of double posts because I wanted to highlight some of my products, traffic jumped while readership seemed to fall; at least my non-advertising products got fewer comments during that time. Then months later, when I was back to my “every day” schedule, traffic started to drop and I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized those extra posts, as little attention as they got, helped traffic overall. A direct correlation but not something I was about to continue either; way too much.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      At least we can’t yet, DeAnna, since at some point I believe Klout will need to find a monetary way to sustain itself.

  • I like your funny hats, definitely it will go up.. Well, thanks for sharing your experiment, it is really an effort on your part to do so.

  • I have started using Klout, after I read your post and sign up with multiple projects. I recently saw that they are adding extra metrics including more network. I guess that again depends on the business, some of the projects benefit more from social marketing, others does not, I think combining this data with Google Analytics, can bring useful information of how much related is traffic from social networks and technically the score number doesn’t really matter.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Carl, they’re always modifying things, which is why I figure at some point they will figure out how to get blogs included in there.

      • Yeah, definitely need to check all possible metrics, I am also using a plugin for WordPress which shows nearly 20 different stats from GA through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn traffic, very useful, but a bit heavy for server.

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        Carl, I start getting worried about some plugins and the like. I was running a plugin through Firefox that was giving me a lot of information when suddenly Google started making me prove I was who I was saying I was, saying something dodgy was going on. I figured out it was the plugin and disabled it, and now realize I can only use it sparingly.

  • I can’t remember when I joined Klout but it has gone up some since I’ve been passing a bit of Klout around. It’s now sitting around 52 but I’m pretty happy with that because I haven’t done all that much to get it to rise from 47.

    It seems that the more people who give you Klout the more Klout you get and that giving the case it’s probably a good idea to use up the 5 Klouts a day that you’re allowed.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Sire, I haven’t quite gotten to giving away 5 points a day, but I’ve reached 3 and that’s good enough for now.

  • Mitch, as always, your post has some golden nugget takeaways:

    “Sustainability.” “Game”. “No money”.

    When the quiz comes on Friday, the three questions will be

    1. What is the limiting factor in using Klout?
    2. To what do you compare the activity of Klouting someone?
    3. What will keep non-social media people away from Klout?

    Heh. I am going to lose my Klout credibility ofr “social media”. Some nice person thinks I influence them that way … wait-a-minnit! Maybe I DO! (not)

    Just as you’ve done a great service by conducting this, and other, social experiments, perhaps people are reading my social media rants and finding validation in some of them.

    As we continue our conversations, I’m seeing more and more that we are saying the same things. Where we differ is that you are actively seeking to properly use social media, while I have chosen to ignore it, by and large.

    Our friend Vernessa has twisted my, strike that, encouraged me to claim my Klout profile. The compelling statement she made was that (quoting from G+):

    “I suppose the perceived value of ‘clout’ is worth a ton of good will — because it ‘rises’, because others can ‘give’ it to you, because just like a good neighbor, you can extend a reciprocating hand (or like any modern-day scepter-wielder, you can ‘bestow a blessing’).”

    Oh, okay. Sort of like CommentLuv! I can relate to that. Now, I won’t perceive it as a “OneTrueFan” popularity contest but more of a referral system.

    I just found out how to give +K (The developers sure made it tough to find.) So, I’ll do my part 🙂

    I also found out I can remove that social media category … I’m off to do that, now.



    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Mitch, it costs nothing to embrace something like this because, as you said, someone will come along and find what you’re saying as a big deal, whether you believe it or not. And when people react to our stuff like that, it becomes empowering to a degree. I’ll take some of that and a diet soda! lol

      • Very true. I expanded on this with a post on Google Plus.

        Another good word there: REACT. That’s exactly what’s really going on here.

        Sometimes, I think the world is divided into two groups: the first group has sheep, the second group has maniacal shepherds.

        The shepherds do experiments on their flock, share the results with other shepherds and laugh about it over wine and cheese.

        Why else do Klout, Foursquare and OneTrueFan all follow the social gaming paradigm most commonly seen on Facebook?

        Because it works. LOL



      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        That’s interesting Mitch, although one might argue that Facebook saw all those other things and decided to incorporate them, as they did with 4Sq. I don’t know that I’d want to go as far as you did with the two groups, but I wrote a post years ago about the 7 types of people you see, based on a study that had come out, and I think that still exists, probably in those same percentages.

  • I noticed this behavior as well, of course the more you play Klout’s game, following its “rules”, the better you’ll rank on it. It’s probably a good measure to know what to do in order to be truly engaging, but eventually you notice you become far too obsessed by a simple number. I check it once every couple of weeks just for fun but honestly I stopped caring too much about it.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Gabriele, I actually see my ranking and everyone else’s ranking if I pull up Twitter on the browser, so I don’t go out of my way to check it all that often. I did for the testing, though. It seems you need to have a high level of engagement that’s hard to keep up with, and many people with relatively high rankings have lamented that they have gone away on vacation for a week and found their score has dropped between 5 and 10 points; that’s astounding.

  • You’re having too much fun wearing that hat, Mitch!

    You’re spot on with it being too much of a task to stay constantly engaged on Twitter just to increase, or maintain, a Klout score. When I first claimed my profile, I wasn’t sure what to do, how it mattered, or whether I even had the desire to find out. I followed Ileane’s and Gail Gardner’s lead, with giving the +Ks, watched Ileane’s video, and added TwitterFeed to the mix so it could mitigate the time I did not have. And initially, I simply reciprocated when others shared +Ks.

    Of course, since then, I’ve dug a little deeper in order to ascertain whether Klout makes any difference in my blogging world, and if so, I wanted to integrate it properly. Since you wrote the 21 Top Black Social Media Influencers post, my score has increased by 10 points. Automation is key for me to have a presence and it allows me to hop on Twitter 3-4 times a day for brief periods. Some folk with high (and really high) Klout scores have consistently given me +Ks. I am almost certain that carries some kind of extra weight, but I don’t know the true impact.

    As Mitch Allen mentioned (and you’re aware of), some conversation around Klout and the question of influence continues to take place over on GooglePlus. And G+ leads us to yet another conversation waiting to happen on how it is impacting (and measuring) influence. Is that your next experiment? 🙂

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Vernessa, I never really know what my experiments will be from day to day, but I think it’ll be awhile before Klout is ready to add G+. But as you saw the effort for getting those high scores is incredible; I just don’t have that kind of time.

  • I had never heard of Klout before until I read your post on the 21 Top Black Social Media Influencers. Then all of a sudden someone posted on Twitter that they had given me some kind of score.

    It joggled my brain again over recently when I saw a follower post her klout score of 29 so I decided to check mine and it was 52. I don’t know what that means but it’s over 50 so I guess that’s a little better than average.

    My latest client didn’t know my klout score but she knows I have plenty of clout when it comes to knowing media and promotion so I guess that’s really all that matters.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Bev, if you remember that post, your Klout score at the time was 45. Seems that everyone got a nice bounce from that post, and that was incredible. You’ve continued to grow, but mine is going backwards. But that’s okay because that’s not the point, or wasn’t the point, when I wrote that post. Of course, it ended up making for a nice little experiment for evaluation.

  • Rachel Lavern says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Love the hat. Wow, I am impressed by the effort and research required for your experiment. As some of your readers expressed, I hardly know what Klout is. Someone mentioned it a few weeks ago and I did a brief search and logged on via my Twitter account. I still do not know if matters. I would be interested in learning how business will use the metric.

    I do realize that relationships are important. I need more traffic on my blog and perhaps a relationship with a person with a high Klout score can send it my way. Perhaps being able to get in touch with a person with a high Klout score can help me see what they are already doing successfully that I would like to duplicate.

    Do I really want to see people flaunt the Klout and other scores online? I somewhat resist tools that help people say “Look at me…I’m so important”. I think that those that have true influence do not need to flaunt it.

    Now that I recently because interested in making money online, my attitude my change based on what I learn 🙂

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Rachel, here’s the thing overall. “Klout” doesn’t matter as much as “clout” does. As a general tool, though, Klout will tell you if you’re at least being noticed. If you do enough to be seen online via Twitter and LinkedIn you should at least end up with a score around 40; it’s a good starting point I figure. You have a score of 52, so you’re doing just fine.

      With blogs, though, Klout means nothing. It’s still going to fall back on a few things: 1, are you visiting other blogs and getting into the blogging community; 2, are you somewhat famous outside of blogging so people want to find you to see more of what you have to say; 3, when they get there, are they getting anything from what you’re writing. The early bloggers had some leads on the rest of us but in today’s world, it’s going to probably come down to those 3 things for most people. I could get into SEO and the like but that’s a different discussion.

      Yeah, the hat; I have my goofy moments. lol

      • Rachel Lavern says:

        I enjoy seeing the goofy side of people when I normally sess them in serious mode.

        BTW: Did you notice that I subscribed to comments so that I could know when you responded? Actually, I usually remember to come back

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        I have noticed you participating more, Rachel; cool! I subscribe to your blog as well so I always read your stuff, whether I comment or not.

      • Rachel Lavern says:

        Awww….wassa matta you? Someone told me early on that if I “click” on a blog, I must leave a comment. And I do unless I cannot relate at all to the post. I know that you have lots to say about a lot of things. Leave a comment already 🙂

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        Who told you that Rachel? Certainly not me. There are times when there’s nothing extra to add, and at those times I won’t comment. But you’ve certainly seen that I comment on your blog many times, so you shouldn’t be feeling left out. 🙂

  • Visibility on social networks will always help, no matter what your goal is, if people “share” you that means your worth something, you will also get a decent amount of traffic. Its a great thing actually, congrats on the “Black Social Media Influencers” success. Keep them coming.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks Cristian, and you’re right, visibility is always a good thing. That is, for most people anyway. 😉

  • I never knew Klout before but you take me on this great opportunity in building influence with other bloggers. Thanks for the share.

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