Can Klout and Kred scores be “gamed” ? (inc. some tips on how to do just that).

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As someone living outside America, in a place where the very thought of such social media measurement is unknown, it is has come as quite a shock to me to gradually realise how much these “influence scores” mean to some people.

It came to a head last week when a woman asked to interview me about how to raise your score. I asked her what she would do with the interview. She intended making an “information product” and said that she would make me a special affiliate link if I wished. Remarkable! She said the product would be highly popular.

Well charging money for this kind of information is not really something I do so I told her to read my blog and if she wanted to create something from what I write on here then all power to her.

Klout and Kred are of course games and this is the basis of their popularity. We love games. To take the scores seriously and use them when filtering job candidates and such like, as is reportedly happening, seems ridiculous to me.

Yet as with many things in life simply wishing the away is never enough.

So if it is in fact important to you here are some tips on how to “play”. Here are some things you may want to consider about Klout.

1. Who you talk to online definetely matters. (This is even more the case for Kred but I will deal with that below). If you want a higher score then hang out with people with higher scores. Likes, +1s, comments and retweets and mentions from these people will raise your score faster than those with a lesser score.

2. Notice that I did not mention “shares” on Facebook. These do not help your score although on Google+ they will. There is no reason to this.

3. Klout is heavily weighted towards Facebook. In fact almost completely. Klout tells me that I get about 90% of my score from there despite the fact that I spend far of my time on Twitter and a reasonable amount on Forsquare and Linked In and Google+. So for a better score use Facebook a lot more. Most of my friends with a high score are getting even 98 or 99% from Facebook.

4. Hang out online with people who talk about Klout and are interested in improving their score. These people are already helping each other raise their score often instinctively or intuitively and will help you and provide ba perfect example of how to tailor your activity towards the score.

5. You get no “Klout love” from Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest and even Linked In and Foursquare seem almost impossible to dig a percentage point from. Do not waste your time and energy on these places.

6. Be regular. Klout counts your latest 90 days activity with extra weighting for your last 30. So “missing a day” or worse two will have a highly adverse effect on your score. This I really believe holds people back. When I look at who is scoring high amongst my friends it is the folk who are around each and every day that are in the high 70s and early 80s.

7. Have your conversations in public rather than by email, Facebook groups or text etc. Klout does not measure non-public online activity.

8. Klout rewards interaction with a large number of different people rather than repeated contact with a small group.

Kred is a slightly different beast and right now only measures Twitter and Facebook activity with a seeming leaning towards Twitter. Kred also has 2 scores. A “Community Influence” score and an “Outreach” score. The community score is based on what happens on your Twitter wall or your Facebook profile. Outreach comes from what you do on others’s social places.

Kred is highly transparent about how points are awarded. You get one for example when you get a new Twitter follower or Facebook friend. When some people tweet at or retweet me I get 50 points. Others will earn me 25 and the majority only 10. Same for Facebook “mentions” and posts on to your wall. It is all there for you to see on your Kred profile in real time.

Many of the 8 points I have listed above apply also to kred.

Kred also ignores (bizarrely) shares from your Facebook wall. How these differ from Retweets I have no idea. Maybe the Facebook API does not release this information.

Kred “Outreach” rewards high levels of activity. Whether people take any action from this seems irrelevant. So posting a lot of tweets and mentioning many people in each of them is valuable. As is posting a lot of links and photos on Facebook.

As a result of this almost total transparency Kred seems far more gameable than Facebook. You even get points when people give you +Kred in one of your chosen or allocated comunities. So just ask for them!
Klout +Ks on the other hand do not contribute directly to your score. I suspect that Klout rewards contact with “higher score” people on a 1-100 sliding point scale rather than 10, 25, 50 (big differences right?). As Kred does not distinguish whether say 10 or 1000 different people are talking to you a small group of you can get together to “game” Kred very easily.

So yes it is all a game but an important one to many people.

There are many reasons for keeping these “influence scores” high and for spending time in networking related activities revolving around them.

Their importance seems to grow and grow so they are not really avoidable anymore and some level of tailoring of your online activity needs to take into account the factors I have mentioned. This makes many very uncomfortable but is simply reality in 2012 so get used to it.


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