On this whole road of fumbling toward publication and platform building, we try this, we try that, and sometimes we get good results. Sometimes we get crickets. It’s often difficult to know whether what we’re doing is making any difference at all. We can make smart decisions, like buying my pal Kristen Lamb’s book We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide To Social Media, which is a fantastic road map to this platform building thing (save the chapter on MySpace, which went crazy a week after the book released–MySpace went crazy, I mean, not the chapter).
You see your daily blog visits go up. Your follower count on Twitter goes up. You get more friends on Facebook. But how do you know it’s really doing any GOOD?
Well one interesting site I’ve stumbled across actually sort of measures this: Klout.
The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.
True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on those of your followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engaged audience is and is also on a scale from 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.
That all sounds like good metrics for progress to me. So let’s take me, for example. I’ve been platform building for three years. I started with the blog. A couple years ago, I added Twitter, and over the last couple of years I’ve stumbled through the WTF is this thing? into OMG I love Twitter. I’ve built my follower count one person at a time doing one really radical thing: talking to people. I do have an auto DM for anyone who follows me that is an instant conversation starter–NOT one of those Hey, check me out at XYZ things. I autofollow anybody who follows me (with a monthly troll to get rid of bots), and over the last two years, my followers have jumped to over 4,200. We all know I hate Facebook, so I’m not even bringing that into the equation for my success. Let’s still with Twitter.
How effective are my 4,200 followers? Are they mostly bots? Advertisers? Not real people to engage with? Because that’s what you’ll get through all those programs that promise to build your Twitter platform.
Let’s take a look at my Klout Influence Report.
I’ve got an overall Klout Score of 63 (on a scale of 100), and Klout says I’m a Specialist. What’ that mean? According to them:
You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.
What exactly am I a specialist in? Well the topics they suggest I’m influential about are books, writing, authors, gluten-free, blogging, and southern. Um, yeah. If you hang around me on any given day on Twitter, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.
How about my Network Influence?
How about my Amplification Probability?
And here’s the one we all really wanna know…True Reach. Of those 4,200 followers, how many of them am I really reaching?
Yep, that’s right. A whopping 2,000 people. Just under half the people following me are actually paying attention. What a concept.
How does this translate into book sales? Who knows. That’s not what this site measures. But this is proof that I’m doing a good job getting my name out there and engaging people. Which is, in the long run, going to get me a lot more in the way of sales than traditional advertising. Why? Because instead of annoying people with ME ME ME ME, BUY MY STUFF! all the time, I’m building relationships. And when you build relationships, when you do make occasional requests to spread the word (and even when you don’t), those FRIENDS are happy to do so.
Now, I don’t point you in this direction to give you yet another stat to obsess over. I don’t see the point in checking in more than once a month (as things generally don’t change that fast). But it’s worth logging in to see where you stand and figure out what you might need to change.
What’s your Klout?
Very Interesting…I’ll have to check it out
Hey, I just helped your Klout by commenting and liking the post. I’ve always wondered how many people were aware of the various metrics that are out there studying pretty much everything we do in the public sphere.
Great over view and analysis, Kait. Thanks!
Okay – here is my question for the day. How important is this klout profile to you? I am a fan and follower of your work and site. I get your email / blog almost everyday and generally read the entire posting and really enjoy it and actually look forward to reading what you are sharing any given day. I love following the things that are going on in your world and the lovely tidbits you share. Now I do not comment on the post often and I usually do not read your post from the web site, but rather in my email browser. So do you want me to click and read from the blog or is the email okay – unless of course I want to contact with a you go girl comment? What is the most satisfying for you – to get an I was here comment – or the clicks on the site – or stopping to send a message with a question or more expanded good wishes – because I can guarantee that each morning reading your email / blog I am sending good thoughts your way – and a huge you go girl with lots of smiles ! 🙂 So if you want me to read your post from the site I will and it will still provide me with the same satisfaction.
zaky[at]charter[dot]net (this is the mailbox my subscription comes to)
Oh by all means, continue reading HOWEVER is most convenient for YOU. That’s absolutely why I have all the subscription options. Lord knows I’m not hopping by checking everybody’s blogs directly on their site every day. If I can’t get it by email, it probably doesn’t get seen unless somebody on Twitter pops up and says, DUDE Look at this!
I’m definitely not out on some kind of crusade to raise my number exponentially. I just think it’s a nice metric for kind of measuring whether what I’m doing is effective. But thanks for being willing to change your habits to help out! That’s so sweet!
Very interesting stuff, Kait. Building a platform is harder than writing, I think. My blog is slowly but surely growing, but I’m constantly wondering what I can do to get more comments and reach more people.
One thing about the Twitter auto DM – I never thought about doing that with something people can’t resist. It’s been so long I can’t even remember what yours is. Any suggestions that aren’t blatant self-promo?
Well I think it should be tailored to fit you. Mine is ” Thanks for the follow! So are you writer, reader, cook, or general humorist?” Because MOST of the people who follow me are one or more of those things. I do sometimes get people who are like “…What? I don’t understand the question.” I think the same kind of rule for cocktail parties holds for Twitter. Don’t talk about you, ask them something about them. And for the love of God NEVER pull the “Let’s connect on Facebook/Myspace/Foursquare/Linkedin/Something Else” card.
Interesting tool to add to the arsenal Kait. Thanks for the overview of Klout. It doesn’t surprise me your number is so high…you are awesomesauce 🙂
Aw, thanks Raelyn!
I had an *entirely* different reaction to Klout: http://johnochwat.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/getting-klouted/
Thanks for explaining this, Kait. I had seen it, but I didn’t really understand it.
I really didn’t understand Klout at first either, when I joined Twitter. I didn’t understand how or why I did something to gain it when it first jumped from 0 to 10, or from 10 to 21. It wasn’t until I reached something around the 30s that I really started paying attention to it. I’m at 60 now, a broadcaster. I don’t Facespace, and have a minimal LinkedIn presence, so all of my Klout score comes directly from Twitter. I never set out to do things that would deliberately raise my score, on some kind of a plan, it just happened that way. Retweeting others will payback in kind for you, that’s one thing I’ve learned.
It’s also interesting the things that Klout thinks I’m influential about. At one time the list included: Coffee (I don’t drink it, but will give a hard time to those who say they can’t function without it), babies (I don’t have any, but I talk with people who do), and Facebook (again, I’ve never used Facebook).
Since no one actually answered your question, I’ll contribute. My Klout score is 37. I joined Klout about a month ago, and Twitter just over a month ago, Jun 17. I’ve been doing Facebook maybe a year, and I’ve had my own website and blog about two years. I’m still struggling to grow, but what Klout does for me most is give me hope. Despite not getting a lot of feedback, I am reaching out, and slowly getting quiet eyes upon me.
Interesting. Mine is 36 and shows as a socializer. But I think it’s only looking at twitter and facebook, not paying attention to blogs. I get what you mean about building relationships versus just building followers. I’d rather have relationships than a bunch of people following just for numbers sake. That may not be playing the game but I couldn’t possibly keep up with 4200 people. I tried playing the game for a while but just couldn’t keep up.
The people I follow, i really follow and form friendships, make sure to comment on their blogs, etc. I run a book challenge and as host make sure I comment one every one of the people’s blogs who join in, then try to maintain some contact over the year. It’s hard but your number system for row80 kind of gave me the idea to hit at least a certain number each week, varying it, to give everyone encouragement.
Come to think of it and this isn’t a complaint, just an observation. I don’t think you are following me. At least you’ve never commented on my blog. Speaking of comments and this is a ROW80 observation – we need to encourage folks to not just go to people’s post and read them, but also comment. Leave some love, even if it was okay nice post or hi I was here. I’m noticing a lot of hits but only as it seems to be the rule with anything only about 10% are actually leaving a comment.
Agreed, although it would help if people gave us something to comment ON. Many don’t write posts with any room for engagement or really talk about their goals or challenges or whatever and it leaves people sometimes scratching their heads like “I want to say something but….what?”
LOL! Isn’t that the truth.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, the whole “let’s connect somewhere else” drives me crazy.
Oh, man. One of these days, I might be able to return to Twitter and Facebook and try to use it effectively. One day. Sometimes I wonder if I’m really a part of my generation because all of that moves too quickly for me. Sometimes I feel even overwhelmed in catching up with the number of blogs I’m trying to follow! I have lots of writers telling me that they’re excellent resources, but it just might take me a while to really get on board with them.
One of these days, though.
There’s so much out there that it’s REALLY easy to get overwhelmed. We’re constantly bombarded with this notion that we MUST DO EVERYTHING. And then we try and we can’t and then none of it is effective. I used to read OODLES of blogs. My feed reader was a scary place. But I am a crazy busy person and I needed to carve out more writing time–the family and evil day jobs couldn’t go, so the blogs had to. I subscribe to half a dozen or so by email (most of those folks aren’t daily posters anyway), and I rely on Twitter to tell me what I MUST read for any others. It’s cut down on a lot of the time wastage. I think it’s better to figure out which social media platform you REALLY like, and try to learn that one and how to use it effectively. The thing I like about Twitter is that, yes it moves fast, but you have to think of it kind of like stepping in and out of a stream. You pay attention while you’re stepping through it, but you don’t worry about what passes you by. it’s the nature of the beast that you’ll miss some stuff and that’s totally okay. I like it because I can check in as I have time, use Tweetdeck to keep up with anybody who’s said something to me directly that I ought to respond to, and check back out again when I have work to do.
Kait, can you recommend any twitter tools to make the auto follows and the monthly bot attack? I do everything manually right now but haven’t been pushing to gain followers.
Sure can! In fact, I’ll make a post about it when I get back from my work trip, so everything is all in one place.