5 Things Small Businesses Should Know about Klout - Page 2

By James A. Martin | Posted August 02, 2011

4. Using Klout, SMBs can target influencers with news and promotions

For the moment, primarily large, national and international brands such as Subway, Visa, Nike, Starbucks and Virgin America are partnering with Klout to offer freebies to people with attractive Klout scores. The idea is that by offering perks to social media influencers, those influencers will in turn be likely to spread positive word-of-mouth across their networks about a brand's product or service.

Small businesses hoping to obtain positive word-of-mouth on a budget can check out the Klout scores of their Twitter and Facebook followers. For instance, once you connect your Twitter account to Klout, you can see in your Twitter stream the Klout scores of people you follow and who follow you. Armed with that information, you can reach out directly to those with high Klout scores who are influential in your area and offer them promotions, information about new products or services, and so on. Klout.com also lets you create lists of people and brands that you can use for targeting purposes.

Keep in mind that Klout scores are just one way of measuring influence, notes Jeremiah Owyang, Web strategist for research firm Altimeter Group. "While influence helps to prioritize how quickly a company can respond to an influencer, remember that even non-influential customers can have a significant impact on a company," Owyang says. For example, Owyang points out the person who uploaded the 'Sleeping Comcast technician' YouTube video, which went viral and created a PR stink for the cable company, had previously only posted a few videos.

Owyang also warns companies not to alienate mainstream customers by overtly catering to influencers. While Klout high-scorers appreciate the perks, those with lower scores might feel left out and go where they'll feel appreciated -- perhaps to your competitor.

5. To increase your Klout score, be authentically helpful

Just as with Google search results, there are countless people already trying to 'game' their Klout scores. Ultimately, here are the best strategies for improving your score:

Don't simply increase the volume of your tweets. Some Twitter users, hoping to boost their Klout scores, start sending out 200 tweets a day, if not more -- which is bound to irritate their followers. A better strategy is to send out quality updates.

Quality updates are when you're actively engaging with friends and followers "by sharing links, comments and original content about things you're passionate about," notes Mark Schaefer, a marketing consultant and college educator who blogs at Grow. "Be authentically helpful. Look for ways to interact, not just broadcast links."

Going to a conference or trade show? Post newsy, interesting information you learn during sessions on Twitter or Facebook. Those updates are more likely to get shared than, say, something you've simply read online -- which has probably been shared hundreds of times already by others.

Try to get people with high Klout scores to follow you and, even better, retweet or share your updates. Sometimes, people will follow you back if you follow them on Twitter. You might also get their attention by retweeting them with an @reply mention of their Twitter handle.

As Klout's CEO Joe Fernandez told Forbes: "If you're really passionate or you're excellent in something, and you want the world to know, the Web and social media is there for you to share that stuff. If you consistently share your passion with the world, then everything can take care of itself from there."

For more tips, see 10 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following.

James A. Martin writes often about social media and SEO. You can follow him on Twitter.

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