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Klout and Personal Branding Online

November 14th, 2016
Klout Logo

During my never ending job search I sometimes get questions or comments about something on my website, sometimes the comments are positive, sometimes less so. In fact I think people who don’t value honesty and integrity probably never interview me at all. That said a lot of effort has gone into this website over the last ten or fifteen years. The ROI has not been enough.

Despite that I’ve continued to improve this website in the hopes that eventually I’ll succeed despite my folly. Although peak Klout obsession was long ago, it still remains one of the ways you can measure the success of your personal social media efforts especially if you’re trying to demonstrate expertise instead of just become popular. My recent WordPress upgrade allowed me to get Klout for Muskblog. Previously I’d been getting Klout from one of my other blogs.

So did Muskblog improve my Klout? Yes and apparently I now have expertise in iOS. Alas as of May 2018, Klout is no more. Apparently next month Kred 2.0 will launch so you’ll just have to obsess about your Twitter and Instagram follower counts until then.

My newest expertise according to Klout

One thing that has always mystified me about Klout is the emphasis it places on Instagram. I’ve had an Instagram account for years, but I never used the service or app much, I just followed people when they asked me and since I moved to China I got guilted into following someone from my gym, that lead to me following many many gym selfie posters. I’ve also posted a gym selfie or two and of course some food pics, but I don’t understand how 40% of my Klout score comes from Instagram.

The social network I have the most followers on may now be WeChat. It is also the one I’m most likely to use on a daily basis because I live in China, yet it contributes zero to my Klout score, they don’t even measure it. Much goes on in the deep web that neither marketers nor government agencies can monitor closely, but WeChat isn’t really part of the dark web, the Chinese government can probably monitor your private conversations in that app. There is a difference between the deep and the dark web. But for personal branding you need to do most of your work publicly, not in some corner of the web Google and Klout can not index such as some forums.

The next social network I use most frequently may be Pinterest, which Klout assigns limited value to, I know I have more followers on Pinterest than on Twitter, but Twitter is definitely the social network I’ve posted to the most overall. Google Analytics always insists the social network I’m most popular on is Stack Overflow, I think now that this blog is connected to Klout my recognized expertise may change even more. I am still active on a couple of niche online social networks. These communities exist but to gain Klout from your participation in them, you might want to crosspost more than I do. Below is my score breakdown from a couple days ago:

Breakdown of my Klout score

According to Klout I am a recognized expert online, i.e. in the top 2% of all social media users on the following topics:

None of my activity on Instagram has anything to do with any of these topics with the possible exception of Vancouver, I may have used that hashtag years ago on Instagram. On Twitter I’ve gotten smarter about actually using hashtags and sharing stories related to topics I’m both interested in and want people to associate with me. The tags on this blog likely include all the topics Klout says I have expertise in, in fact I should link to my tag archives, alas I don’t have a single post tagged: Financial Analysis, Project Management, or Game Development, can you tell I do little keyword research for my personal blog? I actually use both Microsoft and Excel as separate tags. I do think Klout is able to associate tags and content with a larger topic, as I have blogged about making games for iOS.

I’ve also previously written about the most frequently used tags on my blog, but it isn’t just how often you use a tag but how often someone interacts with content associated with that tag. Instagram is the most hashtag obsessed social network which is why I think Klout weighs it so heavily but hashtags were invented on Twitter and I definitely tweet about all the topics on which Klout says I have expertise.

You can definitely lose Klout and worse expertise. I’m pretty sure I used to have more beer Klout, I even had coffee and web development Klout at one point, but I must have forgotten everything I know about web development since this Tweet on May 10th 2016 and obviously I should take another picture of a cup of coffee and post it to Instagram to let advertisers know I still drink coffee. Starbucks knows I still drink mochas, I use their app all the time in China. But this just shows you can definitely game the system up until a point, faking web development expertise is probably harder than tagging a picture #coffee, luckily for me I’ve been building websites since 1995, maybe someday someone will recognize just how much effort that took…

I remember an old article where a writer discovered the cheapest way to increase his Klout score was to buy fake Instagram followers and I remember Instagram purged a lot of fake accounts upsetting some vanity metric obsessed celebrities. Twitter also has fake accounts and bots. The last US Election demonstrated the value of Twitter and having a large active Twitter following, it also showed how hashtags can be used creatively if not necessarily to improve your personal branding and Klout score. I wonder if Trump will overtake Obama in Klout score?

This is probably my last blog post for a while. I’ve already updated it but if you really want to increase your Klout, vanity metrics, and search engine performance, I recommend following these 10 tips. I’m still trying to find a better job, I’m also 3-4 weeks behind my study schedule and even further behind my peers… If you have advice on how to leverage your blog or social media accounts to improve your personal branding, your career, if not your Klout score, leave a comment below. You can also check out my resume, you’ll notice none of my expertise is being leveraged currently.

Update November 22nd 2016

Well I’m not sure if it was because of JetPack, Twitter,, or some combination of all three, but this post is the first content I’ve ever written to show up in Klout. This combined with my mastery of the hashtag leads me to believe I could become more popular both in raw Klout score and in terms of targeted expertise recognition if I chose to be and given how my career is going, I think a little more #instafame or whatever the kids are calling it these days is unlikely to hurt me. I of course would prefer to use Twitter on my iPhone but it might be worth blogging a little more professionally in 2017 rather than just the odd travelog. Unfortunately I really need to study and get a better job, I’m tired of the run around.

My latest post is now in Klout itself

I tweeted this post twice which is a lot for me, but it is not a lot for most social media wannabe expert types. I’ve never used but apparently people find stuff on Twitter and then take it (but not scrape it) and put it on and possibly right even into their blog. I’m not sure if any of this helps my Klout or my career but I’m pretty sure with a certain amount of focus and repetition I could increase my Klout score more, what say you digerati, is this all a waste and four years after peak-Klout?

Update December 4th 2016

My Klout score continues to increase, a fact I notice now more since I added the low-tech Klout widget to my “about” page which along with my home page, my blog’s front page, and my resume and I guess my LinkedIn profile is one of my top 5 most important pages on the Internet, and thus one I should put more thought into optimizing and making it convert.  I’m not sure anyone gets hired because of their Klout in 2016 but having a social media strategy, even a general idea on how to use social media effectively to promote yourself and the company or product you work on is a valuable skill. I need to do more to demonstrate I still have valuable skills, hopefully 2017 will be a better year for me, maybe my Klout will even hit 60.

Update April 19th 2017

United Airlines did a bad bad thing, I was one of the first people to reply to a tweet about it and as a result a million more people than usual saw my tweet. This increased my Klout score. It also perversely caused Klout to give me recognized expert status in Objective-C perhaps as much as 16 years too late. I tweeted about all this but never got around to updating this blog post because I’m trying to study as much as I can but I still surf the web way too much and for this I obviously blame Donald Trump, his presidency has made the news cycle noticeably shorter now and more sensational and salacious.

Klout seems to focus on the last 90 days, but I took a look at my Twitter analytics and it was interesting to scroll back through.  Although I still have not managed to hit 600 followers, but given how many fake followers aka bots are online nowadays, bragging about your follower count is spurious at best. Some people brag about their engagement, but what you should really worry about is ROI. I just don’t think the ROI is as high for social media as some people suggest, certainly not for dubious tweets, selfies, and hashtag hijacking. What say you denizens of the Twitterverse and Blogosphere?


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