While it is not the end-all be-all of influence metrics, I do monitor my Klout score for changes. Yesterday I saw my True Reach score jump from 53 to 61 literally overnight. This was not an accident, and I was not surprised. This article will tell you how I did it.
First of all, let’s be clear about what “True Reach” means. According to Klout, “True Reach is the size of your engaged audience. We eliminate inactive and spam accounts, and only include accounts that you influence. To do this we calculate influence for each individual relationship taking into account factors such as whether an individual has shared or acted upon your content and the likelihood that they saw it.”
My secret was simple. I used social media for what it is designed for: I engaged. I began by publishing a new article on Social Media Today: The Web’s Best Thinkers on Social Media, called 8 Secrets of a Successful Facebook Page. Then I fired up Tweetdeck and tweeted it. I set up a search for the article title, and then went to work on other projects. Every time the article was retweeted, I fired off a quick thank you for retweeting it, and invited the RT’er to follow my twitter account. I did not automate this process; I sent no form-tweets. Every RT’er got a genuine tweet from me. Of the first 80 retweets, a full 25% of those people followed my twitter account, @_TonyAhn_ (21 people). Compare this to the last article I wrote for Social Media Today, where I did not respond to retweets: in the first 160 retweets, about 10% of those people followed my twitter account (16 people, although there were double the retweets).
If you’re a social media consultant, expert, or guru, practicing what you preach and engaging will benefit you as much as your clients. Lead by example, and show them the numbers. There’s nothing more authoritative then sharing a successful case study that you authored yourself.
And if you retweet this article, expect to get a personal thank-you from me. ^_^
UPDATE: I've had a couple cogent responses, both on Twitter and in the comments on this post at Social Media Today. First @twieberneit tweeted that this technique as a good start, but it wouldn't scale. That's very insightful, and there is some truth to it for most people. If you get 100 retweets, you can respond, but if you get a thousand, it would take a very long time to thank everyone individually. For me, I work in an economy where I could pay someone $20 to respond to 1000 tweets. However, rather than that, I'd probably assign the work to an intern or someone else at my company, or ask everyone to take 100 tweets each. And that's similar to how Avaya, Inc. handles its social media workload. They have over 125 employees that also monitor social media for mentions of the company, as an asjunct to their regualr jobs. The 125 people monitor between 1,000 and 3,000 conversations per week. If I asked 10 employees to each respond to 100 tweets, that wouldn't be too time intensive. So with some creativity, this technique can scale.
Someone else said that I probably would have gotten all those follows even without the thank you tweets. I'll post another article soon that compares the article in question with other articles I've published that have had similar retweets and total views, but markedly different numbers of followers resulting.
Lastly, another benefit to the "manual thanking" approach is that I'm noticing that several people are doing multiple retweets, and I'm seeing which people are referring retweets (i.e. several people have generated additional retweets). One in particular has generated a dozen. Good to know who your biggest fans are, and good to know who key influencers are!