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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.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Hank Miller

    November 27, 2013 at 5:52 am

    I set up a Klout account about a week ago, I’m presently a 39 and it looks like I’m adding points since setting it up. The only reason I did that was because I’d heard it “matters”, OK. While it can’t hurt, I don’t see Klout as a game changer when considering an agents entire body of work. I’m not up at night wondering about Klout.

    The obsession with social media and “scores” is fascinating for all the wrong reasons. In this arena especially, so much potential business seems to hinge on everything except actually “doing business” – selling the sizzle as opposed to the steak. A significant amount of my work comes from the internet (much more focused and prepared clients) so I maintain a significant and active presence here. However, where’s the tipping point between posting nonsense to raise scores and actually being a skilled, productive agent? It’s getting like some schools where the graduates are fantastic except that they can’t effectively write, speak or complete basic math?

    Klout may matter with some businesses but ours is a pretty simple one with a fairly obvious objective. The information on internet and the ability of Joe Buyer and Susan Seller to pull the curtain back on this industry
    is fantastic, I’m happy to see this force change with how things are done with real estate. I hope this transparancy waves continues to push ineffective hack agents out and make the public smarter when it comes to selecting an agent.

    However, this and every other profession boils down to basic questions: How skilled are you at your craft and can you effectively and efficiently complete the mission? I’ve seen many with amazing sites and social followings that can’t …..

  2. Danny Brown

    November 27, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Expecting Klout to improve based on how easy it is to game? Don’t hold your breath, it’s how it keeps selling it’s popularity based algorithm to brands that don’t know any better.

  3. Jon Aston

    November 27, 2013 at 10:30 am

    My apologies for seeming blunt – but isn’t it infinitely more productive to invest your social media time in networking and building relationships with people who matter to… than it is to waste your time trying to preempt some imaginary scenario in which your Klout score might influence some uninformed stranger?

  4. chrisshouse

    November 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I admit I never even think about Klout until someone brings it up and then I will go check on it.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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