What Your Klout Score Really Means

All-Star Klout-Off! Klout scores are compiled using proprietary algorithms that purport to quantify online influence. Size matters: Large followings on Twitter or Facebook can boost your rating. But it’s more important to have a high percentage of posts that are liked or retweeted. And just interacting with someone who has lots of Klout can jack up your score.—S.S.

Last spring Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency. With 15 years of experience consulting for major brands like AOL, Ford, and Kraft, Fiorella felt confident in his qualifications. But midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.

The interviewer pulled up the web page for Klout.com—a service that purports to measure users’ online influence on a scale from 1 to 100—and angled the monitor so that Fiorella could see the humbling result for himself: His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”

Partly intrigued, partly scared, Fiorella spent the next six months working feverishly to boost his Klout score, eventually hitting 72. As his score rose, so did the number of job offers and speaking invitations he received. “Fifteen years of accomplishments weren’t as important as that score,” he says.

Much as Google’s search engine attempts to rank the relevance of every web page, Klout—a three-year-old startup based in San Francisco—is on a mission to rank the influence of every person online. Its algorithms comb through social media data: If you have a public account with Twitter, which makes updates available for anyone to read, you have a Klout score, whether you know it or not (unless you actively opt out on Klout’s website). You can supplement that score by letting Klout link to harder-to-access accounts, like those on Google+, Facebook, or LinkedIn. The scores are calculated using variables that can include number of followers, frequency of updates, the Klout scores of your friends and followers, and the number of likes, retweets, and shares that your updates receive. High-scoring Klout users can qualify for Klout Perks, free goodies from companies hoping to garner some influential praise. —more

Content Curators Are The New Superheros Of The Web

Yesterday, the ever-churning machine that is the Internet pumped out more unfiltered digital data. Yesterday, 250 million photos were uploaded to Facebook, 864,000 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube, and 294 BILLION emails were sent.

And that’s not counting all the check-ins, friend requests, Yelp reviews and Amazon posts, and pins on Pintrest. The volume of information being created is growing faster than your software is able to sort it out. As a result, you’re often unable to determine the difference between a fake LinkedIn friend request, and a picture from your best friend in college of his new baby. Even with good metadata, it’s still all “data”–whether raw unfiltered, or tagged and sourced, it’s all treated like another input to your digital inbox.

What’s happened is the web has gotten better at making data. Way better, as it turns out. And while algorithms have gotten better at detecting spam, they aren’t keeping up with the massive tide of real-time data. While devices struggle to separate spam from friends, critical information from nonsense, and signal from noise, the amount of data coming at us is increasingly mind-boggling. …more

BY Expert Blogger Steven Rosenbaum | 04-16-2012 | 6:17 AM
This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

When is the Best Time To Tweet and Post on Facebook

There are few resources better than URL shortener bitly for monitoring click-through rates for content shared on Facebook and Twitter. So when bitly released a report last month telling us all the best time to tweet or post to Facebook for click-throughs, we listened. And then we created an infographic. – By Juanmarketing on julio 5, 2012

Best Time To Post on Facebook

Best Time To Post on Facebook

This handy infographic highlights bitly’s data on the best times to share content on Twitter or Facebook if you’re looking to drive traffic to your site (or any site). Bitly found the best times to tweet for click-throughs are early afternoon Monday – Thursday, while Facebook content posted Wednesday at 3 p.m. generates the highest click-through rates, according to bitly’s data.

But why read words when you can look at pictures? Here’s the best-time-to-tweet-or-post-to-Facebook infographic created by digital agency Raka with data provided by bitly:

Best Time To Tweet and Post on Facebook

Best Time To Tweet and Post on Facebook

Infographics and the Science of Visual Communication

Brain science offers some insight into why infographics are so effective. – by Mark Smiciklas · July 3, 2012
One of the primary reasons infographics work well as a communication tool can be linked to eyesight and the neurological connection of our eyes and brain.

The dynamics of sight and how we use our eyes to process information present some compelling reasons to consider using infographics to share information and ideas in order to connect with your internal and external audiences.
Hard wired for infographics

Vision directly or indirectly accounts for about 50% of our brain’s real estate.

An article about the relationship of the eyes and brain in Discover Magazine touches on the expansiveness of the cell highway that hosts all this activity. For example, the retina alone is made up of more than 150 million cells. In addition, vision neurons account for approximately 30% of our total grey matter compared to neurons for touch and hearing which make up only 8% and 3%, respectively.
Infographics are easy on the mind

Considering all this hard wiring is already in place, it makes sense that it might be easier for us to process infographics than pure text.

One of the reasons we can process images faster than text is because of how the brain handles information. It processes data from pictures all at once but processes text in a linear manner.

Robert Lane and Dr. Stephen Kosslyn offer an explanation for what the brain sees when it comes to pictures vs. words. Each letter in a word is essentially a symbol. To read text, the brain needs to act as a decoder first, matching those letters with shapes stored in memory. From there the brain must figure out how all the letters fit together to form words, how words form sentences, and how sentences form paragraphs. Although all this comprehension takes place in only a split second, relatively speaking, when compared to how the brain deals with images, the process requires considerably more mental effort.

So, in a way, by using infographics to communicate, you make it physically easier for your audience to relate and connect to your information.

In a TED talk about the beauty of data visualization, writer and designer David McCandless expands on the idea that infographics provide a sense of relief in a landscape filled with a mind-numbing amount of information:

There’s something almost quite magical about visual information. It’s effortless. It literally pours in. If you’re navigating a dense information jungle, coming across a beautiful graphic or lovely data visualization is a relief. It’s like coming across a clearing in the jungle…more

The Best Google Features You’re Probably Not Using

The Best Google Features You’re Probably Not Using
Thorin Klosowski

Google is a vast machine with all types of apps, programs, and tools. A lot of these—like Gmail and Google Docs—are clearly useful and beloved by many. But hidden inside Google’s network are some awesome, lesser-known gems that can make your life easier.

Over the last couple of years Google has experimented with a lot of products. Hidden beneath popular apps like Gmail, Google Search, and Chrome are a lot of cool features that most people don’t mess around with. Here are some of our favorite unsung Google features, from Google Drive apps to Google+ to everything in between.
Use Google Drive Apps for Added Functionality and Features

For most of us, Google Drive is just a fancy rebranding of Google Docs. However, the recent integration of web based apps into Google Drive is starting to get interesting. These apps utilize your Google Drive folder directly either by storing new files there, or integrating with the files you already have. Here are a few of the Drive apps we find useful. ….more

3 Must-Have Marketing Investments

3 Must-Have Marketing Investments

July 9, 2012 by Heidi Cohen for ClickZ


1. Social Media

Social media provides platforms, enabling marketers to interact with their target audience. Social media involves more than a Facebook page or Twitter account. It requires an integrated social media strategy including a social media persona to ensure it’s an integral part of your marketing.

Assess current social media presence. Is your brand present on appropriate social media networks? Are you actively managing your presence? Are there emerging social media platforms relevant to your firm, focus, or target market where you must establish your presence?
Evaluate your brand’s portrayal across social media platforms. Is your brand consistently presented? Do your branding guidelines need to be enhanced?
Determine the engagement level you need on social media platforms. Remember, you can’t rely on three tweets a day written by your agency. You need a human face behind your social media presence. Ensure you’ve got appropriate in-house resources to respond to social media requests.
Create relevant content to feed social media needs. Assess requirements across content formats and social media platforms. Include formal content marketing as well as social media interactions like Facebook comments and Twitter responses.
Support your social media presence with targeted advertising. Do you need to enhance your social media presence with related paid advertising? Consider the use of social media ads.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is promotion-free information that fuels social media and overcomes purchase decision hurdles. (Here’s an outline of content marketing’s basic steps.)

Analyze content marketing needs. Assess the existing content within your organization. Then determine where you have content marketing needs and where you have holes in your existing offering. Specifically examine the entire purchase process and social media interactions.
Integrate content marketing into an editorial calendar. Determine where content is needed, the format and topic required, and the timing of its creation based on your assessment. Incorporate this information into a plan across platforms to ensure it’s synched with your promotional calendar. Plan for content reuse to extend the life of each element.
Acquire appropriate resources for your content creation team. At a minimum, you need an editor and a copy editor. While you can encourage employees and customers to contribute content, determine where you need additional support. Don’t underestimate the need for designers, photographers, writers and technology support. These resources can be internal, freelance or agency-based.
Expand content marketing reach. Make it easy for readers to share your information with social sharing buttons. Where appropriate, use advertising to promote your content and build an audience.
Ensure content marketing closes sales. Content marketing by itself can’t drive sales. It needs calls-to-action and related dedicated promotional codes. Further, create tailored landing pages and streamline the sales process to efficiently convert prospects to sales.

3. Mobile

Mobile is a must-have for every business with a retail presence or that competes with a business that has a retail presence since mobiles and tablets go shopping.

Be present on mobile search. Mobile search is separate from web search. Local businesses that people seek on-the-go must be findable on mobile search.
Build a mobile website. Don’t just assume people can read your web-optimized site on a mobile device. Create a streamlined mobile website focused on the information customers want on-the-go.
Build a mobile phone number house file. If you don’t have a mobile phone list, start building one now.
Optimize your emailings for mobile devices. Email is the primary content consumed on mobile devices. Ensure readers can easily read and take action on your emailings via a connected device.
Assess need for a mobile app. In the past year, mobile app usage has surged ahead of mobile web, according to Flurry. Depending on your business, this shift may require investment in a mobile app.

According to IBM’s State of Marketing 2012, marketers face an array of challenges. Top on their lists are channel and device choice expansion and customer collaboration and influence. This is no surprise given social media’s exponential growth, increased smartphone usage, and the quick adoption of tablets. These elements require new ways of engaging and selling prospects and customers through content marketing and social media delivered via various mobile devices.

At a time when marketers need additional funds to test these emerging channels and platforms, more than a quarter of those surveyed believe their biggest challenge is financial constraints and ROI accountability. This is to be expected in light of weak economic growth. Many businesses using social media, content marketing and/or mobile are still testing these strategies and haven’t developed effective tracking yet.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, logorilla

How to Get More Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook

One area I focused on recently was Facebook. I collected data on more than 1.3 million posts published on the top 10,000 pages to put together this infographic to help you get more likes, comments and shares on your Facebook posts.

Like, Comments and Shares

Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter

The Google Search of the future is here. Now. Today. The long-talked-about semantic web — Google prefers “Knowledge Graph” — is rolling out across all Google Search tools, and our most fundamental online task may never be the same again.

Starting today, a vast portion of Google Search results will work with you to intuit what you really meant by that search entry. Type in an ambiguous query like “Kings” (which could mean royalty, a sports team or a now-cancelled TV show), and a new window will appear on the right side of your result literally asking you which entity you meant. Click on one of those options and your results will be filtered for that search entity.

To understand the gravity of this change, you need to know about the fundamental changes going on behind the scenes at Google Search. As we outlined in our report earlier this year, Google is switching from simple keyword recognition to the identification of entities, nodes and relationships. In this world, “New York” is not simply the combination of two keywords that can be recognized. It’s understood by Google as a state in the U.S. surrounded by other states, the Atlantic Ocean and with a whole bunch of other, relevant attributes. —more

As Ben Gomes, Google Fellow, put it, Google is essentially switching “from strings to things.”

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