@h+klefevre and the Quest for Klout

Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t, but last week I was a social media fiend. There’s a reason. A little over a week ago, a comment was made by a client responsible for social media that they would expect someone offering advice on social media to have a higher Klout score than themselves. I wasn’t in the meeting, but one of our art directors made the comment “Wait until you meet our head of planning. She’ll give you a run for your money.”

When my colleagues return and tell me about the meeting we go online and compare Klout scores. Mine is 40. The client’s is 51. I’ve never paid any attention to Klout before this but they insisted I try to do so and get mine up. So I connect my Facebook account. Then Foursquare, Instagram, Google+ that I never use, and LinkedIn (that ought to take care of this competition). And then I simply put attention into all of these networks. After 24 hours my score had gone up 6 points. By the end of the week I was at 53 and it seems to have leveled off there. But that’s still 2 points higher than the client’s.

What did I learn from my experiment?

1. We are not our Klout scores. Klout cannot measure the latent goodwill that your networks have for you. If I start communicating openly through social networks, then I get a bump in my numbers. But it doesn’t see the fact that I have many side conversations over DM or Facebook messages. I can call people and they will answer the phone. If I go to other countries, there are friendly people willing to meet for coffee.

2. Klout, though an imperfect algorithm, measures something. It measures the fact that I am creating more content than I was a week ago and it is being spread because the content is interesting in some way and I have said latent good will. No algorithm is perfect anyway. No computer can measure human interaction perfectly. Have you had a conversation with Siri?

3. Keeping score inspires competitive spirit and action. This is why a dashboard and select KPI’s isn’t just something to do for fun. It gives you or a brand a sense of progression. And comparing your results with others’ given different approaches can certainly help in that quest. Have a look at this picture comparing airlines. What can we learn simply by the number of followers, the number of tweets and what we know about each of these brands. They are certainly yielding very different results. KLM is up to their elbows in tweets, but JetBlue has so many more followers with far fewer tweets.

4. Scheduling consistent posts reminds the world that you are alive. I have never scheduled my posts before, so I dip in and out when it is convenient for me. But I know a few people with very high scores who do schedule their posts so I gave it a go. I set up Buffer on my browser and now when I read something interesting the tweet goes in a queue that I can control. I’ve set it to post 3 times a day at times I’m generally not tweeting. That way I can still post whatever I come across and I hopefully won’t get spammy.

5. You’re presence can mess with your perceived value. One of my planners says that seeing me in his feed all the time makes him less likely to click on links and pay attention to what I’m saying. It’s perceptual supply and demand. Most brands forget this I think. Exclusivity with great content is often better than a deluge of great content.

6. There is not a huge amount of cross-over between my Twitter network and my Facebook network. I stopped posting all my Tweets to Facebook shortly after trying it out a few years back. But what I tried this week was taking some of my most popular Facebook posts and tweeting them. Such as “I just saw a wireless network called ‘prettyflyforawifi.'” It got a lot of play on Twitter just as it had 4 weeks ago on Facebook, just among different people. Funny is funny so cross-pollination is a good tactic.

7. Digital memory is short. Perhaps even flea-esque. There are a lot of great things I have read and a few I have written that many people haven’t seen. Or with the planner survey I figure a lot of people are considering new positions and may want to refer back to it. Something from a few years back even may still be very relevant today. Greatest hits are definitely good sources for posts.

8. Klout can be gamed. Klout has their own currency called +K. There are topics of influence that you need 5 +K’s in order to add to your own profile or another person’s. Then once the topic is added you can spend 1 +K to agree that a person is in fact influential on a subject. As I was looking for people to spend my +K’s on, I was rewarded with more +K’s for visiting more profiles. Then more for visiting Klout.com. It is reminiscent of Farmville. Lots of clicking.

9. The quest for Klout is not sustainable. I have a lot going on at work, personal projects, friends, etc. Writing and thinking about my brands usually has to trump tweeting my ass off. That’s why brands need a team of people focused on creating content and communicating with customers. It’s a full-time gig.

I’m curious to know what you think of my little experiment. And the competitor in me will gladly accept any +K’s, RTs and @replies you’d like to give me for Christmas.