The days of only movie stars getting free hotel upgrades are gone.
The time has come where social media influencers and powerful bloggers have an impact on the world.
And now that your every move is tracked on the internet, there is of course a way to measure this.
It’s called Klout.
It is not the only tool of it’s kind, but it is definitely making an impact.
Do you know what your Klout score is?
Maybe you are wondering why should you even care?
Fair questions I grant you, but bear with me, there is gold at the end of the rainbow.
Let’s ask Susan and find out all about Klout…
And as a result, she has quite a lot of online influence.
So, it is no surprise that she knows and understands how Klout works, and why it is important.
In this episode of the podcast we discuss
Take a listen to what has to say about Klout and online influence
(or read the transcript if that is your thing).
If you prefer to read the transcript, you can
Ashley: Welcome to the show, Susan. Thanks for joining me today.Susan: Thanks for asking me to be here, Ashley. This is fun.Ashley: It’s always great to meet someone new and have a chat about the things we love talking about, right?
Susan: Yes, absolutely.
Ashley: Just for everyone who doesn’t know you, can you give us a quick 2 minute spiel on your background?
Susan: Sure. My background is as an entrepreneur. I had a brick-and-mortar business in San Diego, California, and as a result of the growth that took place with that business, then I wrote a little gift book, and it’s really just inspirationally based, called The Land of I Can.
But then I did so well in the publishing world and did so well with it online that I started helping other authors and other publishers. So there came a point that I decided that I wanted to move to the Seattle, Washington area, which is where I am now, and I sold the business in San Diego – although I am the co-author of The Idiot’s Guide on how to operate and open a coffee bar, so that was my legacy.
Then moved up here and have been helping authors and entrepreneurs – because again, I’ve had a brick-and-mortar business and I can certainly help the solo entrepreneur. I had 55 employees when I had the five locations, so I’m not a Fortune 500 kind of gal. I really believe in paving your own path.
And then the topic we’re going to talk about here shortly is that I wrote a little Kindle book last summer on the topic of Klout, and I’m very passionate about that.
Ashley: And marketing, online marketing in general, you’re very active.
Susan: Yes, very, very active. Again, it comes as a result of I want to do it first and learn how to do it well, and then be able to help others. That’s what happened when I published The Land of I Can, and then on Walking the Talk.
I use social media and I use Klout because I’m always looking at how I can improve my own sphere of influence and what’s working and what’s not, and then I can bring that back home and help people, either through my coaching and consulting, done-for-you services, or in any books that I write.
Ashley: Okay, so on a daily basis, you’re working with a variety of people doing all these kinds of things.
Ashley: We’re just getting onto the topic we’re jumping onto today, which is influence and Klout. Maybe we should first quickly just define what we’re talking about, for those people who don’t really understand this whole influence, influencers, powerful people online. Because it is, for many non-marketing people, quite a strange thing.
Susan: Here’s the way that I like to approach it, is that influence isn’t new. Influence has been around as long as human beings have been on the planet, and the official definition of influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something or the effect itself.
To bring it into at least the 21st century kind of thing, think about Dale Carnegie, who was the grandfather of people skills and talking about the power of influence when he published How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1937. So influence isn’t new. The new spin is that we now can influence people online, where in the past our influence was more person-to-person.
Ashley: There’s sort of an amplification going on, really, and also an ease of reach. You can reach influencers very easily, too.
Susan: The world has become our oyster, because we don’t need to do – like when I had my brick-and-mortar business in San Diego, I could only reach those people who were within a sphere of the location that were willing to come in. But it would’ve been very hard to sell them coffee and muffins in Switzerland.
But when you’re online, everybody is a potential lead, a potential customer, a potential JV partner. We’re not limited anymore.
Ashley: I don’t know how to place this, but is there a specific time when you’d say somebody becomes an influencer? Or would you say we’re all influencers in some way?
Susan: I think we’re all influencers; it’s just the degree of. That’s one of the things that Klout, which is this third party social media measuring system – and it’s not perfect, and we’ll talk about that, but it does work.
So what I like to think of it as is when you’re in school and you get a “C” on a particular topic, you know you have some work to do, right? If you have an “A,” you say, “Okay, I’m doing pretty well. Maybe I need to go work on that topic where I’m failing.” Everybody who’s in school is getting a grade, and anybody who’s online – in particular, having a Twitter account – has an influence score.
The question is, how influential and where are they on that “A, B, C, D, E” scale, so to speak, if we think about it in terms of a school and how well we’re doing. In my opinion, we always want to be improving.
Ashley: That’s the hard part, right?
Susan: Exactly. We want to be improving in anything that we’re learning or doing, and in business, we always want to be improving. With your web work, we use Google Analytics, we use tracking so we can tell what’s working and what’s not. Because if we’re not testing and tracking, we can’t improve it.
So that’s what Klout allows us to do, is to be able to measure our influence and how well we’re doing, and it does work. When I started, because I’ve always been active in social media, I came into Klout with a relatively high score. It’s bantered about, but I think if you’re over 45, you’re influencing people. If you’ve got a score of 18, you have some work to do.
When American Airlines opened up their Admirals Club a year ago, I believe they were looking at anybody with a score of 50 or above. And when I published the Klout score book last year, my Klout score was 64, and today it’s 83. So it’s just constantly using the systems that are in place to see how well it’s working. I mean, how did you find me? You found me online, right?
Ashley: I think we’ve probably touched base – I’m not sure if it’s been through – Triberr, maybe? Are you on Triberr?
Susan: I am, but I’m not really very active there. I think we just met on Twitter.
Ashley: It’s funny how it happens, because sometimes I can’t remember where I find people. It’s just through certain retweets, through certain hashtags. And that’s an interesting thing; it just kind of happens organically, and as you say, it’s a calculation of your reach. If you don’t have a big reach – because I have no idea who I’m touching. Yeah, it’s an interesting idea, you asking me that question, because actually I really don’t know.
Susan: That happens for me frequently. I did a speaking engagement in Denver at Author U the first part of May, and I used to go out and do a lot of speaking engagements when I lived in San Diego and around the country, but once I moved up onto my farm, it’s pretty hard to get me out of here. I like to stay here. But I had promised Judith Briles, the woman who puts it on, and she had interviewed me on Klout and other social media topics.
So I went out to Denver and did that topic, but I said, “I don’t need to do that,” because people find me online. My clients come to me through referrals or they find me online. And when I ask them – they reach out to me – “How did you find me?”, it’s always going to be one of those two answers.
So you really can market from wherever you are in the world, and if you are influential and if you are building a good brand online, then you don’t really have to go out and market the way we used to.
Ashley: Yeah, it’s an amazing thing. Actually, many of the people I have on the podcast, when I talk to them pre-show or post-show about their situation and what they’re doing, it’s usually the same story. It’s someone often in the middle of nowhere or in a very small place who has very little power or connections where they are, and online they appear as a complete other person.
Or maybe it’s no longer the case. We say that it’s not a separate thing anymore; it used to be. But it’s really, really interesting. It’s an amazing thing. Actually, I’m wearing a t-shirt now which I got many years ago which says “I’m famous online,” and I used to joke about it.
Susan: There’s a cartoon that shows a dog sitting in front of a computer that says “Everybody’s famous online or something to that effect, and I love that, of course, animal lover that I am. But yeah, who knows who’s on the other side of that computer screen, right?
Ashley: Yeah, it used to be a joke for me because it was always like “Oh yeah, yeah, you’re famous online” because you have a Facebook account or whatever, but now it actually becomes a point where people know people and they don’t even realize they’re known by those people.
You have followers, you have people reading your blog and reading your tweets and they never respond. You don’t know who they are, you don’t know who’s listening. You don’t know who your audience is, often. Only a small percentage of them. We have a huge amount of influence.
Getting back to Klout, which is what we were going to talk about, this came about as – were you using this from the beginning? Was this founded basically as a way of measuring online influence?
Susan: Being someone who’s been in social media almost from its inception, before it was popular – I used to use it for SEO and for ranking websites because the links would get spidered so well – so as somebody who’s always looking at what’s new, a lot of things come and go. They don’t stick.
So I got involved with Klout and Kred, another social media measurement company, I’d say about 2 years ago, and then finally decided to do the book last summer, because I really felt that Klout is here to stay, it’s not going to go away, and that Klout was the one that would be the leader.
And certainly with its acquisition from Lithium in March at $200 million in cash and stock, I do think Klout is here, and whether people like it or not, it’s better that you know how to use it and how to improve your business, because I don’t think it’s going away.
Ashley: I wasn’t aware of these examples; being in Europe, Twitter and these kind of things are not taken seriously. But if you’re saying that companies are using some of these measurements as a way of determining marketing and reaching people, then it certainly is something worth paying attention to if you are a serious online marketer.
Susan: Oh, absolutely. I had a wonderful conversation – and I’ve had it on my to-do list to do an article on it, and I haven’t yet – but a great conversation with the Head of the Social Media Department for American Airlines, and they love Klout. She shared a lot of the information, the internal documents with me from the promotion that they did.
And think about it: if you’re checking into a hotel and they have your email and they can pull up your Twitter account, and they see that you have a Twitter score of 83, do you think they’re going to put you in a room next to the freight elevator and one that needs repair? Or are they going to put you in a really nice room with a view?
Because they know that you have the ability to let people know when you like something, and you have the ability to let people know when you don’t like something. And we are the media now. We don’t need – although we do watch TV, we do listen to the radio – but you’re creating a podcast right now. So we have the ability to affect what other people think or know.
In fact, Dale Carnegie said that there are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world, and that we’re evaluated and we’re classified by those four contacts. It’s what we do, it’s how we look, it’s what we say, and how we say it. And we can do all of those things online.
Ashley: Sure. It’s really, really interesting, because I’ve never really thought about this stuff like that. Because as I said, here in Switzerland, social media is LinkedIn, basically. People are using Facebook and LinkedIn just for personal or CV-related tasks. There’s very few companies using Twitter. Slowly a couple are picking it up for customer service. So thinks like Klout are nowhere – at least as far as I know, nowhere on the horizon.
Susan: That’s fascinating, because watch out, it’s on its way.
Ashley: Yeah, I can believe it.
Susan: Like worldwide brands, like American Airlines, just as one, as they become more and more used and prevalent, it will spread across the world.
Ashley: Yeah, it makes sense. Instead of saying you need to recognize a face – “Oh, that’s Brad Pitt walking in; we’d better give him a good room.” I mean, he’s probably booked the top room anyway, but let’s just say he hasn’t – and now you’re saying, “Okay, I can now recognize someone from their details and realize that they’re more powerful than I thought, and therefore I should pay more attention to them.” That’s an amazing thing.
So what kind of things are going into a Klout score right now?
Susan: For the most part – I mean, there are lots of different connectors that you can use, but the Klout score really heavily depends on Twitter, Facebook – either your profile or your page; can’t be both, so you want to pick the one that you are most active on – LinkedIn, Instagram, and what made my score go from 80 to 83 is Wikipedia.
So you can connect things like Foursquare, if you’re very active there, a few others like Blogger and WordPress – the org, not the website. But in all honesty, the ones that Klout really pays attention to is Twitter, Facebook. Even Google+, I’m connected, but that really doesn’t seem to move the needle very much yet. I think that probably will change in the future.
But if you are active, and I’ll define what active means, in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you’re going to bump your score up.
Ashley: So even Instagram is having an influence on this? Because it’s still probably one of the smallest, right?
Susan: They love it. Yeah, it’s fascinating. There are people who are bumping up their Klout score significantly, just being more active on Instagram.
Ashley: So Pinterest isn’t taking any power right now.
Susan: Pinterest is not a connector yet. I don’t know why they haven’t; I think it should be. They haven’t asked me, so I don’t get to weigh in on that. But again, it’s kind of like where Twitter was in, what was it, 2007. It’s in its baby form now, and it’s going to grow into an adolescent and an adult, and I think we’re going to see a lot of changes as that happens.
Ashley: This company that bought them, what’s their deal? What do they do? Lithium you said, right?
Susan: I don’t know that I really understand what Lithium does. They say that they’re a provider of social customer experience solutions. I don’t really know what that is, but my guess is that they’re very tied to what we’re just discussing with American Airlines.
I’ll give you a couple of different examples. I was having a conversation with somebody on Twitter. It was around Valentine’s Day, and I had asked if she got chocolate from her husband, and she came back and said she’d gotten Brownie Brittle, two cases of it, and evidently she really liked it. I said, “Oh, I’ve never had Brownie Brittle,” and lo and behold, I got a box of Brownie Brittle delivered to my house.
Susan: So Brownie Brittle was paying attention. They were paying attention to who was mentioning them, saw what my Klout score was, and decided to send me a box. To me, that’s a customer experience solution. I think that’s where they’re coming from, but I’m surmising that. Nobody has told me that.
I’ll give you another example. I love HostGator. I’ve got several reseller accounts with them, and I recommend them as individual accounts for clients. No hosting company is perfect; we’ve all had our share of horror stories, and sites do go down, especially when they’re on shared hosting.
So I’ll go through the typical due diligence of opening up a support ticket for myself or a client, sending it in with what the problem that we’re experiencing is, and then wait an hour, 2 hours, depending upon the severity of the problem, and if I don’t hear anything, I go onto Twitter and go to the support – I think it’s @hostgatorsupport – and just say “Here’s my support ticket number, and it’s been 2 hours and I haven’t heard anything. Could you check on that for me?”
And they will be back immediately and saying “Escalating.” Within 5 or 10 minutes, typically, they’re on it. Why do you think that they responded to me on Twitter faster than they did through the support ticket system?
Ashley: They see your account.
Susan: Exactly. It’s just like you used the example of Brad Pitt. He’s recognizable. Online, you’re recognizable based on your influence.
Ashley: I don’t have a huge following; I’ve got near 7,000. But it’s starting to have an effect, I notice. I’ve been getting invites from companies for free accounts, which I was never asking for, to just try out. Because suddenly they see a post – I think when I did this Pinterest experts post recently, that went nuts. I think it got something like 1,200 shares or something crazy.
Susan: Oh, that’s fantastic. And that’s the whole thing: people notice that. Now, let’s talk about your score a little bit so that you and your listeners understand how the score works. It’s not how many fans or followers that you have, or friends.
Ashley: Not at all based on that?
Susan: It’s really not based on the number; it’s of the number of friends, fans, followers that you have, how many of them are engaging with you? How many of them are retweeting a tweet, or posting a like or a comment on Facebook? How many are giving it love on Instagram? People can have a lot of Twitter followers that nobody pays any attention to at all. They don’t favorite anything, they don’t retweet anything.
So what Klout is measuring is your activity level. How many people are you actually reaching, which is not just the number of fans, followers, and friends. Does that make sense?
Ashley: Yeah, sure. Because you could have 10,000 fake followers, and that means nothing.
Susan: Yes. And a lot of people have real followers that don’t even see what they’re doing because they don’t care.
Ashley: It makes sense.
Susan: So the big thing with Klout is that you need to be giving people good content. This article that got all the activity, you gave them dynamite content, and people responded. That’s what Klout is doing.
They’re constantly changing, and it’s not perfect. When I got the Wikipedia page, what I found is that Klout measures my score differently now that they did. They put you in a different category. So what was really important for me to be active, and I was getting a lot of bang for my buck before, now it’s changed.
So it changed from that standpoint, and also I’m seeing changes now that Lithium – maybe they were changes that were in the works anyway, or they’re changes that Lithium is now putting in, but it used to be you’d have to wait a couple of days for Klout to pick up your activity, and now it’s almost in real time. They may not have the measurement that they’re going to give you for that post or tweet, but they’re picking it up right away.
I find that very exciting, because the more real time it is – like Google Analytics. We don’t have to wait a couple days to see what’s working; we can tell right away, and that’s now starting to happen with Klout.
Ashley: Being bought by someone and suddenly having access to money certainly will allow them to develop things that they’d only been thinking of or give them servers they didn’t have before and do this real time stuff.
Ashley: That’s really interesting. As I said, I haven’t paid too much attention to it; I know roughly my score is, I don’t know, 64 or something. I had a look once. It hasn’t moved much, and it’s been like that for awhile, I think. As I said, I’m not sure exactly how that’s measured, but my Facebook is more or less dead. I don’t use Facebook much. I mostly use Twitter. Pinterest is big for me, but that’s not measured by Klout, so obviously that hasn’t been picked up.
Susan: Exactly. One thing, too, you want to log into your Klout account occasionally – well, I’ll tell you tow reasons you want to. First of all, because sometimes the accounts get disconnected. It happens often with LinkedIn, and it’s just they want you to re-verify, like reconnect it again.
So one of the things you might do is just log in and make sure that they’re all connected, anything that you want, and then play with it. Get active on Facebook or do something different than what you normally are, and watch what happens.
The second thing is that now that they’re providing what is curated content, they will provide content within your dashboard based on the topics that you have listed are your popular topics, the things that you know about and talk about, write about.
So you can go through – it’ll bring up, I always get Facebook, Twitter, social media – and then if I post that, because my profile – I got started in Facebook so early on that it was before there were pages, and so I used my profile for business. And even though I have Facebook fan pages, they never get the activity that my profile gets as a result. So that’s what I have connected to Klout.
With that connection, if I’m really active and it shows up on the account, then I see that I’m being offered more Facebook curation content. So there is a correlation. They’re tracking. They’re tracking what you’re talking about, where your activity is, and they’re feeding you the opportunity to schedule content to go out to either Facebook or Twitter or both.
What I have noticed is that when I’m curating that content, I get bumps – I mean, even though my score is 83, you know that it’s going to range from 82.83 up to 83.40, and at the point that it gets to 83.51, it’ll bump up to 84. So there’s a range within that score of 83, or in your case, 64, and you’ll start to see the shifts.
And it is much easier – I think getting over 50, getting to 60, it takes more effort to get to the 70s, and every bump in the 70s, like to go from 74 to 75 to 76, it just gets harder. So what you can do is connect a few things, like if you’re not active or haven’t been active on Instagram and you connect that, you’ll start to see some activity right away, and you’ll probably get up into the low 70s or higher. But every incremental step after that gets to be much more difficult.
Ashley: Yeah, it makes sense. Because you did also – I was also looking at that earlier on last week when we were talking about this podcast; you did that list of – was it Top 100 Klout People or something?
Susan: And they have discontinued that.
Ashley: Yes, I couldn’t find it anymore.
Susan: They have discontinued it. I was really disappointed, and I have sent a couple emails to Klout, and they keep saying “We have great things in the works.” So I just have to assume that they have things that will be even better, but I really liked being able to see who – and that’s a part of it.
If you are having conversations with people on Twitter that have a Klout score of 25 and you like them and you support them, that’s fine. They’re a person, and you like them, and you want to do business and have conversations with them. But you want to be looking for people who have scores that are higher, because then, when you interact with them, their people, at a higher level, are seeing it.
It’s the example of if you’re going to do an email blast, a JV approach type thing, and somebody has a 100 email list versus 10,000 email list, which one would you pick to do the blast with? And it’s the same thing. You might do it with a person that only has 100 because you like them and you want to do that, but you’re really going to look for the benefit to come to you with a list of 10,000.
So in addition to your activity on Klout, it’s really who are you interacting with? Because the way that I reframed Dale Carnegie’s four important things is that what we do is about positioning, so we want to position ourselves; how we look is our branding; what we say is our core message; and how we say it is what creates the influence.
Ashley: Also, an example of this kind of thinking as well, I’ve heard many, many, many times, which is the people you surround yourself with basically enables you or defines you in many ways. I also have that issue right now, because I don’t have many people around me in Switzerland who understand what I’m doing, can help me with what I’m doing. So I struggle with that and have to try to go online to get that ability. Find forums, find communities, and so forth.
This is a similar sort of way of thinking. If you always surround yourself with less influential people and people who aren’t in a position to help you, then you will struggle to develop and to grow.
Susan: Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head.
Ashley: And I’ve seen it over and over again. Example, this Pinterest post. A lot of the people I wrote to, I knew, and I knew because over the last 12 months, I’ve gradually, slowly built contact with these kind of people, and some of them have quite some power. For example, Peg Fitzpatrick was on there. I don’t know if you know her. I don’t know her really well.
Susan: I do, yes.
Ashley: I had contact with her, so when I wrote to her, she knew my name. It wasn’t a complete blind write. Because for her, I think she may or may not have otherwise responded, because she’s very busy.
Not everyone on that list was like that, but some of them were certainly more difficult to get to than others, and most of them I know already. I mean, not very well; as I said, I haven’t spoken to them, I haven’t podcasted with them or anything. But it helps to know people, and at least to have retweeted something, to have had a bit of a chat on Twitter or whatever the forum may be.
And that’s where this comes in. I’ve used similar tools like BuzzSumo before to see who’s been tweeting my top posts, what kind of people are responding to my kind of content, to see whether I’m really focusing on the right people or not. Because it’s sometimes really difficult to know, right?
Susan: Yeah, absolutely. Something I was thinking about, too, as you were explaining what you had done with your Pinterest article, is that I was selling computers way back when people didn’t have computers type of thing, so you can pretty much date me in terms of how old I am.
Ashley: We’re not saying anything.
Susan: Yeah. But the interesting thing is, if I cold called somebody, they either had to know of me because somebody said, “You should do business with Susan Gilbert,” and then they were open to the conversation, or, as I moved into the ranks of the corporate world and was working for AT&T, just working for AT&T was a door opener.
But now, people can go online and see who you are. They can tell, if somebody wanted to give you an interview or be interviewed, they’re going to go to your website, and the look of your website, the activity within your website, that’s going to speak volumes, just like when I introduced myself as being with AT&T.
So things have shifted, but yet they’re still the same. It’s just online.
Ashley: Different technology.
Ashley: Or technology where there was none before, right? Yeah, when you talk about all of this stuff, as you’re saying, none of it is new. It’s all people being people all over again. When people say to you, “You’ve got to be personal and you’ve got to stop treating it like a computer and you’ve got to stop hiding behind your computer,” it’s basically a wake-up call to this whole effect of what you’re saying about Dale Carnegie’s book about having relationships and forming relationships and being a good person and being nice.
Because if you approach someone cold on email – and we get that all the time, and I get it every day as well, “Can you help me out with a plug-in?” Can you sell my plug-in? Can you retweet this?” I’m like, “Who are you?” It doesn’t work.
So Klout is really becoming a way for brands to use all of that stuff, because now we’re talking about influence and marketing and all of these kinds of things, blogger outreach, and these are all becoming very popular topics.
Susan: Absolutely. And as we reach out and we’re doing it online, then we are influencing other people, and that influence, typically, while it starts online, will often go offline. I know that doing a podcast, are we doing online or are we doing offline?
But I’m talking to you in real time, and it started at Twitter, but here we are now. I have that, and I’m sure you have that happen all the time, where it becomes much more personal after some social media exchanges take place.
Ashley: Yeah, it’s almost like a very online version of meeting someone. Like someone says, you can’t go straight to the bedroom; you have to take the person to dinner first. I think that’s social media. Get to know someone, send them a few tweets, retweet something, maybe write them an email. And then maybe in a few months’ time, you can ask them for something. But it’s just crazy. It’s crazy the way people approach it.
Susan: Yes. Yeah.
Ashley: I’m the exact opposite. I never ask. I rarely ask. I feel really bad for asking, and then I get all these people who ask without even knowing people. I find it just really rude, but that’s just my upbringing.
Susan: Well, and it is. It’s really marketing gone wrong. There’s always going to be spammer, and that’s the category that I put that into, because anybody who’s a real professional will act exactly the way that you do.
It’s kind of like in the old days, when you’d go to a networking group that was all together in one room, there would always be the person that would run up and stick their business card in your face and say, “Buy your insurance from me.” Well, that’s as rude there as it is when someone is reaching out to you when they don’t know you and they haven’t built a relationship with you.
So that networking meeting is great to get to know somebody, and maybe the second or third time you’re at the meeting, then you decide to set up a one-on-one meeting. So everything that we’re doing really is the same. It’s just we’re doing it online.
Ashley: And now it’s being measured by Klout, but still, ultimately, if you’re not doing it correctly – as you say, they’re measuring things, and just having followers doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to actually have interaction. And you’ve got to have genuine interaction.
I saw that BuzzSumo did something similar; they also measured influencers, and they showed you specific columns. It’s probably a similar breakdown to what Klout does of saying “Okay, this person has influence, but have a closer look: what is that influence? Are they getting retweets? Are they retweeting? Are they mentioning? Are they talking to people?” I think it’s very important with that.
I’ve also noticed – you’ve mentioned a couple of these things but maybe people haven’t picked up on it – Klout is expanding. You’ve now got almost a Buffer-like interface where you can share curated content, right? That’s one of their latest…
Susan: Yes, and if you do that, Klout likes that. When it measures on a scale of 1 to 5 dots how much influence, as long as a couple people retweeted or like it, you get a really nice bump. So there is a correlation there.
Ashley: Of course, they’re liking people using their own system. I don’t know how new this is, because as I said, I’m not really a Klout person, but you also get these perks, right? That’s really interesting.
Susan: Yeah, the perks have been around from the very beginning, but of course, as more and more people get involved, there are more perks that are being added in. The perks are – I don’t even know how they randomly choose who gets what, because when I look at all the listings of the perks, I don’t get every one.
But when they send me a perk, then I accept it, and then I’ll give them feedback about it. One of them, I got a baby thermometer. I don’t have a baby, but I have a friend whose daughter had a baby, so she got the baby thermometer.
So it’s odd, some of the things that they come up with, but if you only do it for the perks – and to me, the perks aren’t really the perks that Klout gives you. The perks are some of the things that I mentioned to you before: being able to reach out to HostGator, knowing that I’m probably not going to check into a Hyatt or a Westin that they’re not going to know what my score is and be benefitted from it. To me, those are pretty big perks.
Ashley: Yeah, and it’s becoming more of an issue, whether people realize it or not, but if you’re working in our kind of community, building up your expertise and how that’s seen and measured, and we have to face it now. It’s going to be measured. I mean, it’s measurable. It’s an online interaction, so you should probably start to take it seriously if you’re serious about your online profile.
Susan: Absolutely. When I first was writing the Klout book, I used the example of our credit scores, and that seemed to resonate so much for people. But to me, it’s the same thing. You can not pay your bills and have a bad credit score and then have to pay higher interest on your mortgage or a car or be declined for something that you might want to purchase. You have free will, and you can’t get mad at the credit score company, because they’re just doing their job.
Or you can work really hard on always paying things on time, as you should, keeping your credit limits in line, and having a good credit score. There are companies that, if you’re going to go buy a car, they’re going to reach out to one or several credit scoring companies to see what your score is and determine whether you’re a good risk or not.
That’s what Klout is. So you can say that you don’t like it, you can say that it’s not perfect – and it’s not, just like there are lots of mistakes that happen on credit reports. But it is a system that’s being used in order to determine the risk factor, and I do believe that Klout is being used as a scoring system to determine how big of reach do you have and how influential can you be, and how could this be helpful to my company?
Ashley: As I said, if that is what you do, if that is your business, if your name is your brand, then I think people really need to take it seriously. It’s like LinkedIn. If you apply for a job and your LinkedIn profile is a mess, it may stop you from getting an interview.
Susan: Absolutely. Exactly, you’re absolutely right. We are, like it or not, an online world. So learning how to work with it rather than being a naysayer – because it’s not going to go away.
Ashley: No, that’s for sure. I think if anything, as you say, it makes more sense to me, when I hear the story of American Airlines, it makes more sense to me that it’s only going to get stronger, because we’re becoming more computerized. We’re becoming more interlaced through the internet. Everything is becoming internet. There’s a wave coming of this so-called – what to do they call it? Internet everywhere. There’s a special term for it.
But a friend of mine’s husband’s working on a project. I don’t know exactly what he’s doing, but having devices hooked up – for example, fridges or whatever that can order your food when you run out of milk or this kind of thing.
Susan: Oh, I like that.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s where it’s going. That’s where the internet is going, and I think it’s only a few years away. And like houses that you can unlock remotely; when a friend comes to visit, you let them in. That’s basically what’s happening with this influence. You as a person are now hooked in online through your social media accounts. People are monitoring you, so somehow, be careful.
Susan: Yes, yes, yes. And if we use the credit score where it measures – I’m not that familiar with credit scores, but I know it measures over a time period. In other words, certain things stay on your credit report longer than other things, and it’s measuring do you have a credit card that’s maxed out or is it paid off in full? So it’s monitoring it.
Klout is updated every 90 days, so when you log into Klout, you’ll see what your score was 90 days ago and where it is today. It’ll also show what your highest score has been within that timeframe. So as your Klout score goes up, your average goes up, and so that average gets computed into your current day score. Does that make sense?
Ashley: Yeah, sure. So it’s basically like a 90 day average is somehow influencing the current.
Susan: Yes. So know that as your score goes up, because it’s over 90 days – in other words, it’s not going back to where I was a year ago; it’s only going back to where I was 3 months ago. So as my score goes up, that average goes up and impacts the score.
Ashley: So if people are wanting to take this seriously, or at least take a look, what would you recommend they do? Pop onto Klout and connect everything up?
Susan: Make sure it’s connected. If you have a Twitter account, it’s there. You just want to log in with either Twitter or Facebook, and make sure that at least the properties that you’re active in are connected. I’m pretty much of the mindset – I don’t think everybody agrees with me, but I’m of the mindset that if you’re not active, don’t connect it.
Ashley: Yeah, have it on the side.
Susan: It’s not going to affect your score. I’m not a Foursquare person, so I disconnected it. It’s there if I ever want to go back and become active, but because of my lifestyle, I’m not checking in and out of places all the time. I’m just working in my barn. So I disconnected it.
But the ones that you are active or you want to become active, connect those, and then start engaging with your audience and watch what happens.
Ashley: Yeah, people should be doing that already. If you’re not, if you’re just one of these people who jumps on Twitter and blasts everybody or never actually interacts with anybody, then this might be a good reason to start doing that.
If you’re serious about your online behavior and your online influence and the way you’re seen online, I think this might be a good way to measure how you’re doing. Are you improving your interaction? Maybe take a look at it every month and see how you’re doing. Why not, right?
Susan: And because I’m somewhat of a fanatic, I’m logged in every day because I’m curating content from there every day, and I’m always watching what post or what tweet or what photo did people like? Because you learn. You learn what your audience wants and you give them more of it.
Ashley: Just to give people an idea, if you log into Klout and you give Klout some topics that you’re interested in – and they also look at what you’re interested in as well, right? And then they give you suggested content from the day from top other influencers or stuff that they found online, and you can then share that. Is that more or less correct?
Susan: Exactly. And here’s the really fun thing. I’m not sure if you’ve had this happen yet, Ashley, but they’re paying attention, because they list my articles sometimes from my blog.
Ashley: You can tweet yourself.
Susan: I was curating, and it was like, “Oh wow, there’s one of my articles.” So I’m getting traffic from Klout now. So another reason – they’re paying attention to who’s out there, and there’s just a lot of ways to benefit, and getting started is Step #1.
Ashley: And then the stuff that you share through there, you can then go back and look what got engaged with.
Susan: Yes. And they score it 1 through 5. There’s dots next to it. It’s in your dashboard; it’s not viewable to someone who’s just looking at your Klout page.
Ashley: It’s your internal, private…
Susan: Yes, it’s internal. And they will list, either by the property, the frequency, or the most activity, and you’ve got little tabs to choose from that, and they’ll give you dots, 1 through 5. So of course, if it’s 5, then they scored that high, and if you’ve got 1 dot or if it didn’t show up at all in the feed, then that wasn’t something that your audience was interested in.
Ashley: So that’s three things you can basically do: log in, start using it as a way to share good stuff with your audience – if you’re not using another way to do that already, like Feedly or whatever else people are using, or Buffer is now starting, I noticed, to do something similar – and then the third thing is, of course, if you don’t care about anything else, you also get freebies. You get perks.
Even if you don’t care about the rest, there’s stuff in there. Like yesterday, I was looking through it before our interview. I thought, “I’ll have a look and see what’s going on in Klout,” and there was an offer from – I don’t know if you know Moo. They do these really cool business cards.
Ashley: And that I was interested in. But there was some really random stuff, and I’m not even sure if they’ll send me it in Switzerland, because I’m guessing a lot of it is States-oriented. There was some really unusual categories. I could choose from all sorts of health, fitness, whatever crazy stuff, and I’m thinking, “Why do I get these perks?”
Susan: It’s amazing, some of this stuff. And again, this is only going to get bigger and bigger and bigger, because the brands know this is a way that they can get out into the hands of the people that have influence.
Ashley: Have influence, exactly. Which is exactly – we’ve come full circle. So that is influence, and if you’re on there, you become influential. It’s a way to get products which maybe you can even review on your blog or get a relationship with the company through that as well. So win-win-win, everyone can win. They should give Klout a go.
Susan: That’s right. There’s nothing to lose. If you log in, you don’t like it, you don’t believe in it, you can always delete your account. But it’s kind of like people laughed when we were using Twitter and Facebook, and look where it is now. So I think it’s here to stay.
Ashley: Yeah, sure. Give it a go. I think if people are serious online and they’re looking to get their name known or even just to get a few freebies for fun, they should at least give it a go. I’ve been on there a few times, and it’s always interesting to see what’s going on.
And it’s changing constantly, and now with Lithium having bought it, who knows what’s going to happen? I just saw another article from someone today about Klout, so people are still talking about. I think everyone should take a look, at least.
Susan: That’s a big buyout. I mean, for a young company, $200 million? And I get that it wasn’t all cash and there’s private stock in that $200 million, but still, that’s pretty amazing.
Ashley: Yeah, not everyone’s WhatsApp. They’re not all going to get billions of dollars for a small piece of software. All right, I think we’ll end our discussion there. Is there anything you quickly wanted to touch on before we go? You’ve got your book on Amazon, of course, which I’ll put a link to in the show notes.
Ashley: We’ll put that in there, if people are more interested in that.
Susan: And I’m going to check out your Pinterest article.
Ashley: All right. I’m surprised you haven’t seen it yet; it went everywhere. It was crazy. I think it got 350 tweets and 700 pins. I’ve never done anything like it. I just found a really small little niche of a topic, basically, and it hit home.
Susan: That’s great.
Ashley: And the best place to find you online? Is Twitter the best place to connect with you?
Susan: Sure. My website, SusanGilbert.com, I publish articles there Monday through Friday on social media and promotional work online. And then certainly Twitter; it’s @susangilbert.
Ashley: All right, thanks, Susan. I appreciate your time, and we’ll have another chat about social media in the future, I’m sure.
Susan: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much, Ashley.
Ashley: Thank you, too. Ciao.
Susan: Bye bye.
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Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).