How to Buy a Higher Klout Score and Increase Your Social Media Influence

How-to-Buy-a-Higher-Klout-Score-and-Increase-Your-Social-Media-Influence-V1 copy

Disclaimer: This blog post is in no way condoning the gaming of, or attempts to “buy,” a higher Klout score.  This post is also in no way stating or inferring that any given user of the platforms mentioned below, regardless of their metrics or “prices” on the respective platforms, has ever utilized the method I am about to explain.  The purpose of this post is only to suggest the potential for activity which might increase your Klout score in order to expose potential shortcomings of a human algorithm attempting to calculate online influence in order to suggest ways to improve upon it.
If you’ve been exposed to social media marketing, you probably already know that you can buy Facebook Fans & Twitter Followers, but can a higher Klout Score of Social Media Influence be bought as well?

It’s an interesting topic, because everyone knows that any algorithm, whether it be the Google search ranking algorithm being duped through Black Hat SEO techniques or Facebook EdgeRank  being “duped” through the purchase of Facebook Ads, can be gamed.  And, without doubt, whenever there is a change in the algorithm, as Klout had last year, there are always cries that it’s unfair.  I’ll let you decide whether you think any of these platforms changing their algorithms is fair or unfair.  I just go with the flow, because these algorithms are clearly here to stay and must be dealt with by marketers.

Klout seems to be on the mind of everyone these days, including recent coverage by Wired and Forbes, on how Klout may help you get more job opportunities, a free hotel upgrade, and even preferred customer service.  I already gave my own perspective on Klout a few months ago shortly after their algorithm change which caused an uproar among some:

For social media marketers, having a selection of various metrics to choose from in measuring social media influence can only be a welcome addition to our toolbox. Just as brands will have to determine if they feel the new Klout algorithm is a step forward or not, we social media marketers will also need to determine which metrics we feel best justify “influence” or at least help us in our analysis of social media users.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what we feel about Klout on a personal level.  If more companies and brands are using it as a metric that will influence their actions towards people, having a higher Klout score is in everyone’s best interests.  That’s why there are so many interested in trying to “game” the metric.  Even the subject of that Wired article “spent the next six months working feverishly to boost his Klout score.”

I look at it this way:

Gaming your Klout Score is now the equivalent of SEO for Social Influence

So, in hopes of helping all of my readers try to “game” the system better – and with the end goal of hoping that developers maker their metrics for social media influence less “gameable” and that marketers (and hiring managers) not take the metric as seriously as they might be – I am going to suggest a little known way of how you can actually pay money to increase your Klout score.  Note: You won’t find this method on Klout.com!

Now, while there is no guarantee that this will work for you, if you are one of those that is serious about your Klout score, give it a try, and let me know how things go in the comments section.  Thanks!

Step 1: Register on Klout.com

Klout requires you to register by connecting either your Twitter or Facebook page.  You could do either one, but since many like to keep their Facebook page private, feel free to register by just synching your Twitter account.

Step 2: Join Empire Avenue

I introduced Empire Avenue to you all sometime ago as a niche social networking site that mattered to social media marketers.  Little did I know that shortly after publishing that post, Google Plus would emerge and  influence some social media influencers (pun intended) to spend more time on G+ and a lot less on Empire Avenue.  That being said, there are still a large number of very active participants in social media that are also active on Empire Avenue, including myself.  In fact, one of the things I started noticing was that those who were active on Empire Avenue seemed to have higher Klout scores.  Empire Avenue is a game, a virtual stock market to be specific, so I don’t (and still don’t) see any correlation between the two scores, especially because the Klout algorithm doesn’t look at Empire Avenue activity.

So where is the correlation?  After looking at the Klout profiles of the top ten of the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer list and comparing it to a sampling of Empire Avenue users with high Klout scores, a pattern emerged:

Top Ten Social Media Influencers According to Forbes (Klout Scores / Number of +Ks Received in Last 90 Days)

  1. Chris Brogan          75 / 1,516
  2. Ann Handley          69 / 259
  3. Guy Kawasaki        86 / 1,796
  4. Gary Vaynerchuk   70 / 689
  5. Scott Stratten           74 / 732
  6. Robert Scoble          82 / 1,532
  7. Glen Gilmore           58 / 48
  8. Liz Strauss               (not registered on Klout)
  9. Jason Falls             69 / 614
  10. Mari Smith              79 / 1,899

While there isn’t a one-to-one correlation, clearly we can see that people who have received a lot of +Ks from others have a higher Klout score; in fact, everyone who has a score over 75 also has more than 1,500 +Ks in the last 90 days.

What about those that are active and “influential” within Empire Avenue who also have high Klout scores?  I checked out a few active Empire Avenue users with Klout scores above 75 but not considered influencers in the eyes of Forbes, and they all had +Ks in the last 90 days of at least 500, with a majority over a thousand and some having more than 2,000 +Ks, which would be more than any of the Forbes top influencers.

Now, we all know that there is no single “correct” metric for measuring influence, so for some people these Empire Avenue users might be far more influential to them than those on the Forbes list.  These Empire Avenue users could have received +Ks organically from being active in social media and adding value and touching the lives of many people.  This post is not concerned with how people with high Klout scores received their +Ks.  But, so far, we can come to an early conclusion that there seems to be some relationship between being active on Empire Avenue, receiving a lot of +Ks, and having a higher Klout score.  While Klout unquestionably measures a great number of things about your social media presence in calculating your score, a +K is a defined instance that is sent from one Klout user to another, and because it is user-generated, it can easily be duped.

But how?

Step 3: Launch an Empire Avenue Mission

Missions were introduced by Empire Avenue late last year as a way to “drive engagement and traffic.”  The concept is pretty simple: You first need the Empire Avenue virtual currency, which is called “eaves,” in order to purchase “stock” in another social media user.  The only way to get eaves is to 1) have someone by your stock, or 2) receive daily “dividends” from your stock portfolio which is calculated on their social media activity.  Missions now offer you a new and easy way to earn eaves by heeding the call to action that the mission creator is paying you for.

As an Empire Avenue user, you can also create a Mission.  By creating a Mission, which is offering other Empire Avenue users free virtual currency in exchange for performing a real life online call to action such as viewing a YouTube video or becoming a Facebook Fan, you can “buy” engagement and traffic to a limited extent.

You could also create a Mission, with a link to your Klout profile, asking others to give you a +K.

Now, here’s where the virtual world of Empire Avenue and real world of Klout merge.  I noted that Forbes social media influencers with a Klout score over 75 had 1,500 +K in the last 90 days.  Assuming that 50% of the people who accept our missions actually give us a +K, we’d have to have a mission that gave 3,000 people some virtual currency to accept the challenge.  Although missions start at 500 eaves, to incentivize others to act upon your mission, you’d probably need a 1,000 eave bonus, meaning that you’d need to spend 3,000,000 eaves in total to achieve this.  The whole purpose of Empire Avenue is to make money by wanting you to buy Eaves, so you could spend $600 to buy 3,000,000 eaves, use that to start a +K mission, and hope that enough +Ks roll in to help skyrocket your Klout score.

If it sounds easy to do it’s because it is easy.  Your primary challenge will be in attracting other Empire Avenue users to take your mission, which could be done by further incentivizing them by offering them more virtual currency for their actions.  Of course, there’s also the matter of the 50% conversion rate, which can probably be increased if you know enough users on Empire Avenue (or have enough shareholders) and can effectively spread the word to them (or send them a shareholder mail).

The ability to “buy” a higher Klout score really forces all of us to answer this question: How much is perceived social influence worth to you?

Post-Publishing Note (May 3): As you can see from the comments, well-respected social media expert Scott Allen pointed out that Klout had mentioned that +Ks do not influence Klout scores, and I was able to confirm this through a #KloutChat blog post written by my Twitter friend Christel Quek.  That being said, as Stacy Kinney pointed out in her blog post Tips for Increasing Your Klout Score:

People can manually give you Klout points. Although the site claims these points don’t factor into the Klout algorithm, I happen to think they just say that to prevent people from abusing +K to artificially increase their Klout score.

Whether you believe the authorities or not is up to you, but hopefully this blog post gave you some good for thought.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
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Comments

  1. dwaynekilbourne says

    Great points… I love to use Missions to highlight my blog posts that I tweet or to send some Facebook Page love to a great company or organization. Heck, I have used it to add foursquare list followers for my local foursquare community. To me, Empire Avenue is a hugely underrated and underutilized resource that more people should look at. I have gotten 50+ retweets on many posts, and many of those started from some initial mission assistance… sometimes, it is all about getting the ball rolling. On Twitter, we sometimes do not get to see all of the good stuff because tweets are constantly coming in and going out. Empire Avenue’s missions allows us to highlight the special tweets and help spread the word. Similarly, Triberr can help get you a slightly higher Klout score!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment – and for the buy! Yes, outside of +Ks, Empire Avenue can help with a lot of different call to actions as you mentioned. Didn’t want to give all of our Empire Avenue secrets away in one blog post ;-)

  2. Heather Reid says

    Just joined Empire Avenue and the concept is very elaborate, it looks like a lot of work to leverage relationships instead of engaging! but kind of intriguing, thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    Great post Neal!

    I have 7200 +Ks in the last 90 days and a score of 81. How come Forbes did not add me to their list?Empire Avenue eaves come from influence.People participating there are managing social media relationships and building niche communities. Klout score is a natural and deserved flow on from that?

    • says

      Thanks Michael – like I said, I don’t think about how people measure their algorithms or make their lists – I just go with the flow…I know a lot that I would have put on the list, and others that I might not have, but then again it is THEIR list and not ours…

  4. Scott Allen says

    Sorry, but you’re committing a logic fallacy — Klout has stated repeatedly that receiving +K does NOT affect your overall Klout score — only your score in those individual topics.

    The people on Empire Avenue who are receiving all those +K’s are ALSO:
    a) very active on social media to begin with
    b) prompted by EAv’s scoring system, working to balance their activities in at least 5 social networks, not just one
    c) running missions for retweets, Like-bombs, Facebook comments, and so on

    All that’s what’s driving up their Klout score, not the +K. The +K missions are run either:
    a) to participate in a contest, e.g., like Red Bull is currently running
    b) for personal branding purposes, either to make sure the top 3 topics are what they want them to be, or to be at the top of the influencers list in a given topic, or
    c) just for fun

    So, I agree with you that you can drive your Klout score up with Empire Avenue, but NOT by running +K missions. Instead, run a mix of retweets, Facebook Like-bombs, Google +1, etc. Drive a good mix of social actions.

    • says

      Thanks for chiming in Scott. As I said in my disclaimer, I was not guaranteeing results but looking at the data and what the trends show as one potential explanation.

      As to your comment about what Klout says about their algorithm, obviously it would backfire if they told people how they measure scores, so you have to take what they say with a grain of salt in my opinion.

      Of course, as you say, those that are “influential” in Empire Avenue are also very active in social media, which explains their high Klout score. And, as you point out, those ReTweets, Likes, et. al. also add up. But until I see someone with very few +Ks having a high Klout score, I’m going to stick to my data ;-) Of course, the +K is not the ONLY factor, but I feel, based on the data, that the verdict is still out. I suppose time will tell.

      Really appreciate your input into the conversation and it will be interesting to see how things progress…

  5. Terri Nakamura says

    Neal, great post, and actually covers a lot of ground I’d been researching for a post of my own.

    Supposedly Klout says +Ks don’t affect one’s Klout score, but it’s anyone’s guess whether or not they themselves are influenced by the demonstration external validation.

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but glanced at Scott Allen’s, below, and must agree that most successful players on Empire Avenue are VERY active in general. Empire Avenue missions accomplish what many people used to do before the advent of Triberr, EAV, Favo.rs, and other networks that facilitate the coordination of actions amongst members.

    Several people I know have just a few thousand followers are insanely successful on Facebook, for example, and have much higher Klout score than people on Twitter who have 1, 2 or even 300,000 followers. Receiving a lot of “likes,” comments and shares on Facebook can radically improve one’s stats, and the simple sharing of eye (or brain) candy can have a major impact.

    Much is accomplished by bypassing missions altogether by simply engaging in reciprocal “like-bombing.” A coordinated effort can be as successful or more successful than a mission. I think for some people, there is no sense in funneling “eaves” to get others to take actions they will willingly do for free.

    Next, I would like you to write about people who buy followers and where do the fake followers come from! I’ve been puzzling over this recently, but think you would do a better job sleuthing the answers! Or maybe we could write it together!

    Thanks, Neal!

    • says

      Thanks Terri – and, it is true that those that are active on Empire Avenue have high Klout scores – I was trying to create a link between that and something which could be indirectly bought through Empire Avenue: The +K.

      As for Facebook, you are absolutely right that the Klout algorithm recently seems to be placing importance on this – and thus more people now try to game Facebook ;-)

      As for fake Twitter followers, well, all it takes is an email address to create a Twitter account, right? So anyone could create 1,000 fake accounts and then sell them to others if others want to appear as if they have a lot of followers. You would be surprised as to how many out there have spiked increases in their Twitter followers of 500 to a few thousand in a day, a sure sign that they *probably* bought fake followers. Go to TwitterCounter.com and look at 6-month follower trends and look for inconsistent data ;-)

      • Terri Nakamura says

        Thanks, Neal!

        I am wondering if there is actually a proven correlation between receiving +K and one’s Klout number? If you find it to be true, SHAME ON KLOUT! There will always be people who can find the loopholes to game Klout or other analytic assessment entities. 

        I’ve been using TwitterCounter for several years but haven’t used it as a forensics tool. :-) From a numeric standpoint, I can see why people buy followers. it’s very impressive to people who don’t know any better. But having lots of “dead wood,” or inactive/artificial followers can actually have an adverse affect since engagement seems to be an important factor.Thanks again, Terri
        PS How did you know how many +Ks people received?

        • says

          Thanks for the comment Terri! It’s hard to say what +K’s mean … if they have no effect on your Klout score, why have them? We’ll obviously never know, but based on my data analysis, I definitely see a correlation…

          As for having fake followers, yes! That can affect engagement – and can be a real negative influence on your EdgeRank in Facebook!

          You can see how many +Ks someone received when you are logged into Klout and go to someone else’s profile. It will show you a comparison of your Klout scores – including the number of +Ks.

          Looking forward to the results of your forensic research ;-)

  6. says

    Hi Neal, I was wondering where you were going to go with this post!  I think that the value of K+’s is when people tweet them.  That is activity that counts on the Klout and Twitter sites.  You have a lot of comments that I didn’t read, so someone else probably said that as well.  I feel that the Klout score is not that representative of my social media influence, but oh well.  I am not working anymore, I just love social media and always have.  I think that Empire Avenue is much more reflective of my online presence.  Xeeme scoring was good for a while, but I don’t get that either anymore.  I went from being in the top 10 for the US and top 20 globally to barely showing up.  ?????

    • says

      Thanks for the comment and all of your support Sally! Only Klout knows how they score things – and I agree that it doesn’t necessarily measure “influence.” It’s interesting that those with high Klout scores tend to be those that are active in Empire Avenue or Triberr members – which indicated that Klout seems to be a measure more of social media activity than of influence as you suggest. I haven’t been an active xee.me member so can’t comment on that ;-)

  7. says

    Interesting points, Neal. I avoided Empire Av. after signing up because I found it not very intuitive and badly documented. Maybe I should check again.

    About +K – as I understand it, +K is primarily a feature to:

    1. Increase user interaction with Klout, tweeting about Klout, and thus making Klout more popular.

    2. Crowd-source information about the topics that should be assigned to people. Social media activity is often unfocused. Even when used by ‘experts.’ Detecting people’s topics merely via keyword analysis from social media posts and comments quickly makes us all experts on cats, bacon, and Star Wars. 

    By adding user generated information (+K), Klout can adjust the topics they assign to people, and also add a score on how likely the topic is a indeed good match.

    As to whether +K moves your ranking, I like to give Klout the benefit of the doubt and accept that they are not using it as ranking signal. 

    If you manage to drive 1500 people to give you +K, it is quite likely that a lot of people check you out and create a natural buzz about you. That’s probably what drives the Klout score up. 

    Or, in other words: people who give +K are more likely to show the kind of social media behavior that drives Klout’s score. Social media power users. By targeting them, you target people who are likely to increase your Klout.

    • says

      Ralf – Thanks for your comment and an excellent explanation. You could then argue that those on Empire Avenue with high share prices represent the most active in social media – and thus they naturally receive a lot of +Ks as a result of that. That could definitely be the case – but the ability to “buy” a +K is something that is limited to Empire Avenue users, which makes it potential that there is gaming that can be done to help your Klout score.

      Klout is always optimizing their algorithm, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

      Thanks again for the comment, and should you need any help on Empire Avenue, please let me know!

  8. Tfrager says

    While receiving +K doesn’t increase your Klout score, every time someone gives you +K they’re given the chance to tweet about it and post about it on facebook. Each tweet or post is someone else mentioning you on social media, which does drive up your score.

  9. says

    Thanks for the comment. Well, when someone gets a +K it isn’t always tweeted – and I would tend to believe that a +K has more value than a mere mention, no?

  10. says

    Awesome! You seem to know alot about Social Media!! I’m your new number one fan :)

    I still don’t know what I should think about Klout. I mean I really do want to extend my (social) networks. And if that happens to increase my Klout score this is great. If not I did not waste any time, since extending my networks is my goal anyway. Plattforms such as Klout can only help us to progress in Social Media I guess…

    • says

      Klout in itself has no value unless you want to be seen by brands as being “influential” and getting access to Klout Perks. Otherwise, don’t worry about it, and stay focused!

  11. says

    It is more interesting and helpful to chart Klout score trends versus correlating activity and look for patterns.  The trend is more important than a single point in time.  As marketers, we should be trending-up our client’s scores.  I say this as my own score trends down…

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