Archive for ‘Tools’

August 29, 2012

A look at the new Klout score and features [Screenshots]

New Klout scores and features have rolled out through the month of August, and I think its a step in the right direction. From the beginning of Klout, there have been people who have rightly questioned the importance, relevance, and accuracy of measuring social influence with an algorithm. Instead of getting defensive of their product, Klout focused on improvement. A few updates have been released over the years, but the one from August 2012 seems to be the most promising. Essentially, there are three elements to the latest update:

Discover – A rudimentary beginning to a Klout/social media dashboard. You get an idea of what per cent each social network contributes to your Klout score. For me, I’m about 80% Twitter dominant, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot of new stuff here. They continue to display your 7-day, 30-day, and 90-day Klout score movement, number of mentions, likes, followers, friends, +1’s, connections, etc. All this is interesting, but not overly helpful.

Moments – This is a list of all the interactions your accounts have had over the last 90 days. It includes likes, mentions, followers gained, RT, +1 in Klout, and so on. You can scroll back for three months to see what pieces of content were most engaging to your audience. On each “moment” there’s a curious little meter that consists of five green balls. The more engaging your content is, the more balls will be turned green. It’s a decent, chronological overview, but I’d like the ability to sort by highest and lowest ranked pieces of content, rather than having to scroll through and look at them all.

New Klout score – This is probably the most important part of the August 2012 update. Now, Klout uses significantly broader data sets and signals, from less than 100 to more than 400, to analyze  and calculate your online influence. They have also increased the number of data points analyzed on a daily basis from 1 billion to 12 billion in an attempt to deliver a more accurate and up-to-date score for Klout users. They now include many more actions from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, and for the first time they incorporate Wikipedia. Klout even published the key things they measure for each network. Here are the highlights (pulled verbatim from this post).

  • Facebook:
    • Mentions: A mention of your name in a post indicates an effort to engage with you directly.
    • Likes: The simplest action that shows engagement with the content you create.
    • Comments: As a reaction to content you share, comments also reflect direct engagement by your network.
    • Subscribers: Subscriber count is a more persistent measure of influence that grows over time.
    • Wall Posts: Posts to your wall indicate both influence and engagement.
    • Friends: Friend count measures the reach of your network, but it is less important than how your network engages with your content.
  • Twitter
    • Retweets: Retweets increase your influence by exposing your content to extended follower networks.
    • Mentions: People seeking your attention by mentioning you is a strong signal of influence. We also take into account the differences in types of mentions, including “via” and “cc”.
    • List Memberships: Being included on lists curated by other users demonstrates your areas of influence.
    • Followers: Follower count is one factor in your Score, but we heavily favor engagement over size of audience.
    • Replies: Replies show that you are consistently engaging your network with quality content.
  • Google+
    • Comments: As a reaction to content you share, comments also reflect direct engagement by your network.
    • +1’s: The simplest action that shows engagement with the content you create.
    • Reshares: Reshares increase your influence by exposing your content to extended networks on Google+.
  • LinkedIn
    • Title: Your reported title on LinkedIn is a signal of your real-world influence and is persistent.
    • Connections: Your connection graph helps validate your real-world influence.
    • Recommenders: The recommenders in your network add additional signals to the contribution LinkedIn makes to your Score.
    • Comments: As a reaction to content you share, comments also reflect direct engagement by your network.
  • foursquare
    • Tips Done: The number of suggestions you’ve left that have been completed indicate your ability to influence others on foursquare.
  • Klout
    • +K received: Receiving +K increases your Klout Score by an amount that is capped in every 90-day measurement cycle to protect the integrity of the Score.
  • Wikipedia
    • Page Importance: Measured by applying a PageRank algorithm against the Wikipedia page graph.
    • Inlinks to Outlinks Ratio: Compares the number of inbound links to a page to the number of outbound links.
    • Number of Inlinks: Measures the total number of inbound links to a page.

For more reading about this update, and other Klout projects, check out their blog :

What do you think of the new Klout score and feature roll-out? If your account hasn’t been upgraded, login to preview.klout.com and take a look around.

November 8, 2011

5 Tips for dealing with social media burnout

Social Media burnoutWe’ve heard it for years. “There are just too many social networks to keep up with them all.”  It seems like every six weeks there is a new network, or an update to an existing one, that takes time and effort to learn and get used to. Earlier this year, I felt this pain. With personal and professional community management responsibilities for Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Yammer, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, and my blog, I felt overwhelmed (unmotivated, at times) to give my accounts the attention they needed. I was able to work my way out of the rut by finding software that helped me aggregate and automate some of my interactions, taking breaks from social networks, and establishing some personal usage rules.  Here are a few things you can do when dealing with social media burnout.

1. Find a management tool

During the first onset of social media fatigue, I went out and found myself some third-party applications to help me monitor and interact with each of my accounts all in one spot. There are plenty of capable apps out there, ranging from TweetDeck, Seesmic, Co-Tweet, Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Ping.fm, etc. I now find myself using a freemium version of Hootsuite with some added help from Ping.fm. What I really love about these tools is the ability to shorten links, track links, schedule messages, and manage all your networks all from one interface. The strengths and weaknesses are unique to each tool. For example, if I need better push alerts for monitoring, then I open my TweetDeck.  Although I’m usually able to fulfil most of my social media needs using Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, Foursquare, and WordPress.

When choosing your management tool, it’s a good idea to find one that has a solid mobile version so you can take it with you. I like using the individual apps for each network on my smartphone, but the mobile versions of tools such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite definitely offer a more robust, and inclusive, environment.

2. Remember, it’s OK to take a break

The world won’t implode if you walk away from Twitter for a week; so why don’t you give it a try? Stepping away from one of your many social networks gives you time to evaluate what you are really gaining from participating in these communities. I stopped using Facebook for about half a month earlier this year, and noticed that I was getting most of my career-related and time-sensitive social media content from Twitter and Foursquare. With this insight, I decided that I didn’t need to monitor my Facebook profile as closely. Now I use Facebook less, but the content is more focused. Instead of contributing EVERYTHING to EVERY network, I now focus my Facebook content on sharing more personal posts with those closest to me. On Twitter, my posts are more business-focused, and they are less about what is going on in my life.

3. Get back to your original goals

Take a moment and think about why you originally started using each network. Yes, goals evolve over time, and that’s good. The important thing here is to understand what you want to get out of each network experience and be realistic with yourself about what you are actually getting. If you are participating because everybody else is, it may be time to use the network differently, or to stop using it all together if you can’t identify a benefit.  Re-evaluate the social networks you are active in. If you are not getting what you want out of them, take a break. If you see no downside to not using that social network, perhaps it’s time to move on.

4. Shut it down

If you are going to stop using an account, don’t just abandon it. Shut it down. It’s as easy as that. Few things are worse than a corporate, or even personal account, that hasn’t been updated in months.

5. Set some personal guidelines

After you’ve taken the time to review your social media goals and re-evaluate what you want to get out of your social experience, it’s time to make some changes and stick to them.  The nice thing about this step is that there are no right or wrong answers here. It’s largely a trial-and-error process to get your guidelines just right, but you have to start somewhere. For each network, consider setting:

  • Time spent on site limits
  • Number of posts per day/week  limits
  • Number of times a day you check your messages/replies/mentions limits
  • Content parameters/guidelines (Do you really need to share that video of your cat on ALL of your social networks?)

All these can be quite flexible and can change based on network. If you are feeling burnt-out and just go back to the same way you were doing things, you will just burn out again. If you are feeling overwhelmed by social media, try a few of these tips for a month and see how you feel after 31 days – You just may get a breath of fresh air.

August 10, 2011

8 tips on promoting your blog and building a loyal audience [Blogging 301]

So you’ve started a blog and now you’re wondering why nobody is visiting. You’ve done everything in Blogging 101 and Blogging 201, but you feel invisible.  Your next step is to start sharing and promoting your blog to drive readership.

Promotion of your blog should be a part of your overall blogging strategy. Remember, you won’t be an overnight success, as it may take months and months of consistent blogging and promotion to build a loyal following, but here are a few tips to get you on the right track.

1. Set goals. If you fail to set goals, you won’t have a target to aim for and you will have no way of knowing if your blog is a success. I can assume that if you are reading this post, you’ve already made the decision that you want more than just friends and family to be reading your posts and you want to reach as many people as possible, right? So set some goals, and be realistic. Would you be happy with 100 pageviews a week? 1,000? How about 20,000 page views a year? Really think hard about how successful you think you can be in your first year and shoot for that target. You don’t have to just set pageview goals: think number of comments, interactions, and shares too.

2. Leverage your social networks. Here’s an easy one – use your existing social networks to spread the word about your blog and each new blog post.

Twitter is by far my most useful referral tool. Be sure to use relevant hashtags to insert yourself into conversations, thank people for RTing and commenting on your work, and tweet at the best time of day (for most industries that’s between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.). This behaviour helps to encourage feedback, shares, and comments.

At the same time, as you are promoting your blog on social networks, you should also be actively trying to continue to build a following  of your target audience on these networks. For example, if you are writing about local food, seek out, follow, and interact with those who like to post about food in your city.

Facebook and Google+ are starting to provide some decent traffic for my blog, and don’t forget about social bookmarking: reddit, digg, stumbleupon, etc.

3. Think SEO when writing content and headlines. Admittedly, I’m not an SEO expert, but we can all use a few key principles to help make our content more attractive to search engines. First, be sure to use common search terms in your headline. You can check out Google Adwords or Google Insights for some help in determining what they should be. Second, in your body copy, be sure to use these same search terms and link them, where possible, to other posts on your blog, or major sites online (i.e. Wikipedia). Finally, if you have images on your blog (and you should), be sure to use these same keywords in the name and title of the image file.  There’s way more to SEO than this. For a more complete tip-sheet, check out this list by Reverse Delta.

4. Share the “link love”. Often ideas for your own blog posts will stem from what you’ve read on others. If I’ve pulled an idea, topic, or infographic from another blogger or website, I always reference where the material came from and reward them with a link-back to their site. The link is still the currency of blogging. Simply put, the more influential pages you link to, and who are linking to you, the higher your blog will return in search results.

5. Get other people talking about / sharing your content. Start by doing the simple stuff. Make sure your comments are open and include buttons to share, like, tweet, rank, email, stumble, digg, etc. The easier it is for your readers to share, the more referrals you can expect. Next,  Join the conversation with other bloggers by being active in the blogging community. You should be liking, commenting, reviewing, and critiquing (professionally) other blog posts. If the idea for your latest blog post was a reaction to something you read on another blog, be sure to return to that blog and post a link to your reaction in the comments section; remember, your are continuing the conversation, not attacking the other opinion.

6. Consider guest blogging.  If you are an established blogger, be open to the idea of contributing a guest post to another blog with a similar focus. You may also be approached to have your existing content syndicated on other blogs: this is a good step too.  Another way to expand your audience is to invite another thought leader in your field to contribute a post to your blog. This not only provides your readers with new content and a new perspective, but also it avails you to the loyal following of your guest blogger…who, I would assume, would help to promote his/her post on your blog to his/her readers.

7. Use offline promotion techniques.  So you want to turn pro? Well, I’m not there yet, but consider the use of traditional marketing materials to drive traffic to your website. This can take the form of almost anything: posters, flyers, stickers, post cards, club cards, t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, etc. If you choose to do this, be sure to include a unique, and trackable URL, so you can evaluate how many visitors your campaign has generated. At the very least, you should include a URL to your blog on your business card.

8. Don’t over promote. Sometimes you just need to give it a rest. All bloggers can admit to themselves that they may have crossed the line when promoting their blogs, but it’s good to not make a habit of it.  I try to promote my posts for about 24-36 hours, then let them flow down stream.

Is there anything else that should be on this list? Leave a comment and let me know.

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