If you have ever wanted to be considered an influencer (or if you just want get first dibs on some cool new products)—and in the process get a better understanding of what your audiences on social media are interested in—a good way of doing so would be to create and grow your Klout profile.

This article will help you to get a general level of understanding of what Klout is, and it will walk you through some of the easy ways to increase your Klout score.

What is Klout?

Klout measures a person's online influence. It uses a numerical score between 0 and 100 to quantify the extent of influence a user has. "Influence" is defined as the ability to drive action. Klout generates a person's score by examining that person's interactions on various social networks.

What does the Klout score measure?

The Klout score measures your ability to create action/dialog between you and your audience on social media.

How does Klout measure influence?

A Klout score takes into account your activity over the previous 90 days over several social platforms. Klout does not directly take into account the size of your network; it pays more attention to the activity/engagement between you and others.

What are the benefits of a high Klout score?

Klout is not perfect, and it can be gamed just as any other algorithm can be. However, Klout does serve a purpose.

Businesses/brands use Klout to reach out and offer "Perks" to users who have a high Klout score and who also share the same interests/values that are reflected in a brand. If you are an individual user, you may be approached by brands who wish to offer you a special, also known as a "Perk" in Klout-speak.

More important than scoring swag, however, is Klout's recently released content marketing features. Per Klout: "Klout helps you create and share content that your audience will love. It suggests relevant articles your network hasn’t seen yet, and offers scheduling tools that help you start the right conversation at the right time. You can then use your Klout Score to track the impact of this content: it goes up whenever you share content that resonates with your audience."

If you are looking to promote your content across social media and increase your influence, Klout may be for you.

I used the following tactics to increase my influence

Here are some of the ways I increased my Klout score over time. Any individual or corporate account can apply the same tactics and achieve similar if not better results.

1. I began with just a single social media profile

I started by linking my Twitter account with Klout. I was not active on Twitter and hence my low Klout score. The big advantage of starting with a single social media account is that you get a feel for what is working and what is not. You also stay motivated, as it is easier to move the needle when you have a low Klout score to start with.

2. I started by engaging with corporate accounts; they're easier to get a response from

You are probably following many industry superstars (people and corporations) on Twitter. Generally, corporations have a reasonable number of social media reps that are empowered to speak on behalf of the corporation. That makes it easier for you as a user to get a response when you interact with corporate accounts versus a person's account. And every interaction/engagement (response, retweet, being favorited, etc.) means an uptick in your Klout score.

3. I provide feedback (including complaints) to brands

In some cases, you as a consumer might have a legitimate customer complaint or feedback to share. Aside from getting your problem resolved, your dialog with a brand on Twitter will also assist your Klout score.

4. I engaged with corporate posts in which an author/contributor is mentioned

Every now and then brand accounts/corporate accounts will acknowledge a contributor by including the author in their tweet. When you respond to such a post, you end up responding to both the corporate account and the individual contributor; that's a good transition point after you have been engaging with corporate accounts for a while.

5. I moved on to interacting with influential individuals

This tactic cannot and should not be faked. Just as in real life, relationships on social media are best meant for the long term. Engage with people you respect—when you have something real to say or share.

6. I used humor to interact with brands and individuals

7. I linked my LinkedIn profile to my Klout profile

On May 16, 2014 my LinkedIn profile was added to my Klout profile. When you add in a profile from a social media platform, it helps to stagger the addition so that you can see the extent of the effect each of your social media profiles has on your score.

The large spike in my score (see first image, above) is explained by the linking of my LinkedIn account.

8. I added my dormant Facebook account

If you are running multiple social media accounts, I have found Klout to be a useful way to get some semblance of knowing which social media accounts may be working for you.

On May 19 I added my dormant Facebook account. Interestingly, it had a larger "Network Contribution" than my LinkedIn account but did not produce the sharp spike in my Klout score that I got with my LinkedIn account.

It's not easy to decipher an algorithm, and you will see such anomalies that cause you to dig deeper and learn more.

9. It's not all about a number

Klout will also suggest content for you based on what it thinks you and your audience are interested in. This is a good way to view how your profile is viewed by others, as well as what your audiences are interested in. That's where the list of Topics that Klout scours based on your social activity can come in handy:

Finally, here is an old but good post from Klout on what signals Klout pays attention to.

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image of Harmit Kamboe

Harmit Kamboe has been involved in online marketing and e-commerce since 1997 in Greater Toronto, Canada. He has worked both on the agency side and the client side, and in a startup (as founding employee) and in large corporations.

Twitter: @harmitk

LinkedIn: Harmit Kamboe