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Klout scores can be gamed: here’s how you can do it

Many legitimate social media experts will tell you behind closed doors that Klout scores can be gamed, but won’t go public with how – until now.

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Increase your Klout score by 10 to 15 points

I recently did something on Klout that increased my score immediately and it got me to wondering – did I accidentally stumble on a way to game Klout? I suddenly got scared that Klout would blacklist me or scrutinize a score I’ve earned over the years, not by paying attention to my Klout score (which I confess, I sometimes do), but by natural daily social media activities.

Many of the top tier social media strategists joke about Klout and call it useless, but I have continued to pay attention because some professionals truly check Klout scores to legitimize a conference speaker, author, journalist, or advisor, as has happened to me – therefore, “useless” or not, some people insist on using it as validation of expertise.

So we tracked down someone who games their Klout score

I asked these strategists and experts why they were against Klout and many said it was because it could be gamed. But little information can be found with a Google search about influencing your Klout score, and none of the experts would talk. Until now.

We found a social media expert (we don’t use the term lightly, she is a globally renowned social media expert) who was willing to tell us how Klout scores can be gamed and influenced, but she wasn’t willing to go on the record. She also thought Klout would punish her or she would lose her standing in the community, but felt so strongly that the word should get out about the fact that scores can be gamed.

For the record, I did not and will not use any of these methods to influence my Klout score, because they involve a lot of effort over a period of time, and I prefer my score to be legitimate. But this expert and I agreed that exposing these techniques could actually help Klout to improve their algorithm and shed some light for our readers on how the guru ninja mavens are playing with their scores to make themselves appear more influential than they really are.

Trick #1: Klout + Klout

The instinct most people have when they sign up for Klout is to attach every single social network available to it in hopes of improving the almighty Klout score, but the truth is that it can backfire.

While not a trick, few people know that by disconnecting your less active social networks can improve your score in short order, the expert tells us. Even if it feels counter-intuitive.

Trick #2: Twitter + Klout

The expert told us that she sets her Triberr account to update Twitter every 30 minutes, all day. She says she queues up 48 or more updates to Triberr every morning – updates from her blog, stories she read in her RSS feed, things she came across during her morning reading, and so forth.

What this does is increases your level of activity on Twitter, but there is a caveat – she notes that how many followers you have appears to change how impactful this move is, and crossing the 10,000 follower threshold seems to increase the effectiveness of this method improving your Klout score.

Trick #3: Facebook + Klout

As with all of these tricks, we hate telling you how to do these, but this one is particularly painful because it exposes why those of us with naturally high Klout scores get tagged in Facebook updates so frequently, in hopes that we will interact on someone’s page.

The expert says that if you post something on Facebook and get 40 comments from people with low Klout scores, your Klout score isn’t altered, even though so many people interacted, because guess who is obsessed with Klout scores more than the social media ninja gurus? Klout. If you have 20 comments from people with high Klout scores, you will improve your Klout score. Hence, why people with high Klout scores are being tagged to comment on status updates by social climbers.

Less tricky is the fact that having a status update that earns 75 or more likes will improve your Klout score, so you’ll see people concerned with their Klout score post salacious content and solicit likes (“LIKE if you are a cat or dog person,” or “LIKE if you think racism is bad” and so forth).

Trick #4: Google+ + Klout

Google+ is apparently less complicated and Klout is “happy if you’re a one-hit wonder,” the expert confided.

She says that it appears the magic combination is sharing pictures and being added to as many circles as possible (frequently done by adding other people first, hoping for attribution). Once your “success” on Google+ has been achieved, as long as you stay relatively active on G+, it doesn’t matter if you game your score again, unlike Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So, once you jack up your score with G+, you’re golden.

Trick #5: Instagram + Klout

We thought this trick was pretty tricky – apparently, if you post four photos per day, four hours apart, and they have heavy activity (likes and comments), your score will skyrocket in less than a day.

Easy, right? Of course not, it takes a bit of work to get people to interact with you on Instagram, especially if you’re new. But it’s doable and you can’t go about it blindly.

The expert confessed that a major part of her Klout score gaming strategy is hashtagging. Bleh, right? Here’s how it works – download Tagstagram which will add a ton of the most active hashtags (hashtags being used the most and getting the most likes at that moment) to your photos. Shady, right? Sure, but a lot of people do this, even if the hashtags are not related to the picture, taking a page right out of teen America’s playbook.

But you’re an adult and taking a duck-faced selfie is out of the question, so the expert told us that taking pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and stuff by water, then using Tagstagram to add a plethora of popular tags will increase your score dramatically. She admits this strategy has annoyed people, so she goes back later that day and deletes the picture or removes the hashtags, which seems to have calmed the masses.

She also spends a few minutes a day checking out users who are active at the same time she is (people posting pictures using the popular hashtags), and she favorites up to 100 pictures, knowing that they’re on Instagram at that moment, and likely to return the favor by liking her pictures (hence bumping her Klout score).

It takes work, but it can be done

While most people with high Klout scores earned them by being active online, there are people who are gaming the system to increase their score, using these and other methods. The expert told us that combining these efforts can increase your Klout score by 15 points, but she keeps her score at 79, noting that 80 seems to be the magic number wherein people constantly request you to retweet them since you’re mega-powerful now, or tag you in endless Facebook posts so your score influences theirs.

These “tricks” require some time and setup, but this expert says she can control her Klout score, and others told us off the record that they can do the same.

Perhaps this story will help Klout shore up their algorithm so it can’t be gamed, and the fakers’ scores are reduced to reflect their natural level of online influence, or perhaps this will show the masses that it is just a score and shouldn’t be the deciding factor in hiring a strategist or keynote speaker.

Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Social Media

Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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