Decades before the digital age, and long before Facebook “likes” and Google Plus One’s, a man named Dale Carnegie taught 14-week courses on a subject relevant to every business person: influence. A Simon and Schuster executive took the course, and persuaded Carnegie to write a book on the topic. Although written in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is relevant to the idea of enhancing your influence in cyberspace. In social web-speak, this type of influence is called “Klout.”
Your Klout Score is a number between 1-100, which represents your social media influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score. Influential people drive others to action. When you share something on your social media pages – or even in real life – and people take action as a result of what you shared, that’s influence. The business and brand development advantages of a high Klout Score are obvious, but you don’t have to be a business person to reap the benefits. If you’re knowledgeable about certain topics, the Klout Perks program rewards outstanding influencers with freebies, substantial discounts and invites to special events. Examples include access to private airport lounges, electronic devices and more. Many of these perks require a Klout Score of at least 55. If you’re not quite there yet, here’s how to raise your score.
1. Connect All of Your Social Network Pages
Your Klout Score represents the sum total of your influence across all of your social media networks. Even if you are more active on some social network sites than others, every little bit of evocative content adds to your Klout Score. Which brings us to…
2. Post Meaningful, Evocative Content
As you get to know your social network friends and followers, you’ll begin to see a pattern to what makes them tick. This is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Some people want all cats, all the time. Others want to read about interesting recipes, current events, politics and sports. Posts that receive no responses do nothing for your Klout Score. Choose your topics wisely.
3. Create Magic Moments
Klout Moments are the social media equivalent to a “sure thing.” These dynamic, thought-provoking posts inspire volumes of discourse among your followers. When the Klout people find one of these posts on your page, they send you an email informing you of your moment of glory. Klout moments raise your Klout Score. Although you would not want to post the same topic over and over again, examine the momentous post and try to determine what triggered the excitement. These details will provide valuable insight for future posts.
4. Ask Engaging Questions
Dale Carnegie advised his students and readers to “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves,” and to “Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.” By asking interesting questions, you show other people that you are truly interested in them, and that your social media pages are not always about you. Asking questions is an effective way to create Klout Moments.
5. Answer Questions
If a question asked on one of your social media pages lies within the realm of your expertise, offer a detailed and helpful answer.
6. Build Communities
Speaking of expertise, just about every social media website has some sort of community of people who share similar interests. Start your own, join others and be an active contributor. If you display a respectable amount of knowledge, you might inspire some of your followers to give you a Klout +K. The +K acknowledges your status as an expert or influencer on a particular subject. These areas of expertise appear on your Klout page. Some companies use them to choose recipients for their Perks.
7. Be Generous With Your Tips
If your favorite restaurant, hotel, theater, store or fitness center is listed on Foursquare, tell the world about it. You will score Klout Points if someone adds it to their to-do list!
8. Hang Out With the Cool Kids
Check out the Klout Scores of other friends and followers, and spend some time interacting with the highly rated influencers. Retweet their tweets, share their Facebook posts and plus one their Google+ posts. They will respond in kind. After all, it’s all about who you know.
9. Time It Right
If you post at 3:00 a.m., when most of your contacts are fast asleep, your content might lose some of its impact. Engage the services of a third-party company like Hootsuite, which will defer your posts until prime time on the web.
10. Avoid Meaningless Content
There’s one in every crowd. The person who seems to live on his or her social media site. They post throughout the day, sharing meaningless information like “I’m going to lunch, “I’m going to the bathroom,” I’m on the train, etc. Don’t be that person. Your followers will eventually block your updates.