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Julie Shaffer

Crossed My Mind

By Julie Shaffer

About Julie

Julie Shaffer is Vice President, Digital Technologies at Printing Industries of America. She heads up the Digital Printing Council (DPC), as well as the Center for Digital Printing Excellence at Printing Industries headquarters in Sewickley, PA. In her position, Julie plays a lead role in developing programs and tools to help members grow their businesses with digital technologies.

Known for her graphic production expertise, Julie has a 20-plus year background in pre-media and print. She is often called upon for training, presentations and to provide on-site consulting throughout the industry on diverse range of topics, including PDF, color management, digital printing, social media and Web-to-print implementation. Julie is co-author of several books, including "The PDF Print Production Guide" (1st, 2nd and 3rd edition), the "Web-to-Print Primer" and the forthcoming "Field Guide to Social Media."


Do You Have Social Media Kred?

So you have a LinkedIN account, a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Maybe you check in to your gym or the place you have lunch on Foursquare, post videos on YouTube and try your best to figure out how to fit Google Plus into the mix. In short, you’re doing what people like me have been urging you to do—you’re engaged in social media conversation. Congratulations.

Now, do you know what your social standing is? Do you have Kred? Do you have Klout?

Just as a bank uses your credit score to measure your financial soundness, and Google Analytics measures your website’s reach, services and measure your social media influence. If you haven’t used either of these services, it’s worth the time to head over to each site and check it out. But be warned, once you sign up and see your scores, odds are human nature will kick in and you will become obsessed with improving them.

Klout measures, as the language distorting name implies, your social “clout.” When you sign up, you authorize the service to connect to at least one of your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus) and allowing access to more will yield a more accurate measure of your influence across the entire social Web. Klout can also connect to LinkedIN, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Flicker—with half a dozen more on the way.

Klout uses these connections to come up with your Klout Score, reported as a number on a scale of one to 100. The average score is in the 20s, and as one’s score moves up the scale, it’s much more difficult to increase one’s Klout Score. Klout defines influenced as “the ability to drive action” and looks at interaction through social networks over a rolling 90-day period.

Engagement is key, and Klout will rank a person with fewer connections, but more engagement (via Retweets, Mentions, new Follows, Likes, Wall Posts) higher than one with many connections but little interaction. The service also lets you compare your score, side by side, with anyone else using the service. Depending upon who you choose, this can be an uplifting or depressing activity.

How does Klout make money? By hitting up vendors, of course. Brands pay Klout to offer Klout Perks to users in an effort to get these “influencers” to talk nicely about specific products. As a Klout user, I’m told there are no strings attached to this swag and, just like in the material world, the people with the most Klout get the biggest perks — we’re told this can include a great gift like airline tickets or computer gear.

Personally, all I’ve gotten so far are some free business cards from Moo, a book and early access to Bottlenose. If I want to start talking about beauty products, I can get some swag in that category, too. Both Klout and Kred designation a person’s influence within certain categories. Mine include printing (surprise), advertising, technology and smartphones. I’ve no idea why I’m considered a smartphone influencer—must be all that talk about QR codes and apps.

Kred measures an individual’s influence in two parts—Influence, on a scale of one to 1,000; and Outreach Level, on a scale of one to 12. With Kred, you get points based on your level of engagement, so retweets, replies and mentions add up, and, unlike the more elusive Klout Score, Kred shows how each and every point is earned through the Activity Statement.

Did you get a mention from another Twitter account? You’ve earned 10 points. Someone reTweeted one of your Tweets? That will earn you another 10 points. Reviewing your Kred activity can be a real motivator to interact more with others, and on the face of it, that would be the goal of the service.

Of course, Kred exists to make money too. The service was launched in September 2011 by social analytics company PeopleBrowsr, and is integrated into that company’s social-analytics platform—Playground.  Because of this analytics backbone, Kred is poised to offer business clients a whole lot of data based on Kred user data. 

Kred Playground offers insights to business users—such as influencer discovery, custom filtering, community search and post effect. Kred primarily measures Twitter engagement, so looks at a less broad spectrum of user engagement, but is staged to offer brands more well-developed analytics of the engagement it does measure.

As of this writing, my Kred score is 597 out of 1,000 (respectable) and 4 out of 12. (a bit less so.) The 12 measures Outreach and it’s only four because I’m apparently not engaged in enough direct interaction with others on Twitter.

My Klout score is 46, also respectable, but here’s the problem—last month it was 49. Yikes, what happened? There’s nothing worse than a chart showing a downhill slant. I’m determined to get these score up, up, up. So don’t be surprised if you see my Twitter stream full of @mentions, retweets and hashtags. Gotta keep up with the social Joneses!

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