While I applaud Klout for attempting to assign a numerical value to something that’s virtually impossible to assign a number to — influence — I think it’s ridiculous how concerned people have gotten over it. They go on vacation for 3 days and their score goes down, boohoo. My alma mater Syracuse University dropped from 2nd to 7th place on this year’s list of the “top 10 most influential colleges” and fellow alumni are having a coronary.
RELAX, people. Klout is not that important. (See: “Klout only matters if you say it does.“) But for those of you that are concerned with it, here are some tips — obnoxious, but quick and easy tips — to improve your Klout score:
1. Tweet a lot. A LOT.
One friend of mine currently has 2050 followers, follows 1484 people and has tweeted 12,110 times. Another friend has 526 followers, follows 1148 people and has tweeted 59257 times. You might assume the one with more followers has a higher Klout score, but nope — despite having only 1/4 as many followers, the second user has a Klout score of 64 while the first has a 61.
2. Follow a lot of people on Twitter.
In tip #1′s example you’ll notice both users follow roughly the same amount of people. Several blogs have claimed that the number of people you follow has no impact on your Klout score, that they just look at who follows and tweets you. Even if that’s not true, a lot of Twitter users still adopt the philosophy “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” so the more people you follow, the more will follow you. (Of course, following thousands of people isn’t ideal for a quality social media experience, as Chris Brogan learned way too late.)
3. Be “influential” about popular topics.
Klout’s decision about what you’re “influential” is always dubious (I love how @dagsly once gave me a +K for the Shaq Fu video game) but if you tweet about popular topics (i.e. Facebook privacy, Apple iPhone) then you’ll get more responses and be considered an influencer on those topics.
4. Participate in every Twitter chat you can.
There are tons of chats which happen every week on Twitter (such as #SEOchat, #blogchat, #cmgrchat) where people pump out 50 tweets an hour, including a lot of retweets.
5. Hijack every hashtag you can.
Most conferences and events (i.e. #SXSW, #140conf, #grammys) are easy to follow and, if you tweet them (whether you’re at the event or not), other people following the tag will likely see your posts and retweet/respond even if they don’t follow you. Do it with weekly events, such as #MusicMonday, #FollowFriday, #TravelTuesday.
6. Live-tweet everything.
Watching #Glee with another 10 million people? Post a reaction to every little thing. “OMG, Artie’s new glasses are sexy! #Glee” will likely get you a few responses and retweets. (Note: Live-tweeting laundry and household chores won’t work, unless your socks come to life and put on a show.)
7. Post inspirational and funny quotes.
Steal them from @iheartquotes, @quotations, or any site with Twitter-ready quotes. People are suckers for retweeting these. Accuracy and correct attributions matter little, as a fake MLK quote went viral after Osama Bin Laden’s death.
8. Start a fight.
Most social media gurus/experts/rockstars embrace the philosophy “respond to criticism before it becomes a PR nightmare,” so they’ve conditioned themselves to reply to any mention, especially the negative ones. Say something controversial and debatable (not “your face sucks”) and you can go back-and-forth tweeting for hours. Others will see the debate and chime in, too, and you’ve just boosted your number of @ replies.
If you think these tips are absurd, you’re right. But that’s my point — Klout scores are flawed and shouldn’t be used a yardstick for social media success. At least, not yet.
I’ll point out that Klout gives their own suggestions for improving your score — including signing up for a Klout account, which is ridiculous to bother with since they now measure 100 million users whether they have an account or not. I have a score, but I’ve never signed up for Klout — why would I? Really.