Twitter Fraud Advice for the Novice

As with most social media platforms, if you use it long enough, you’ll eventually come across all sorts of hackers, spammers and scammers.  On Twitter, I sometimes wonder if there’s more fraudulent users than legitimate ones – and that doesn’t even take into account inactive members.

The fraudulent Twitter accounts I laugh at the most are the ones that promise thousands of followers a day if I simply follow them, follow their system, purchase their material outlining the secret to Twitter success, etc.  Have you seen these members or even had some follow you?  Here’s a recent example of one to follow me:

Twitter Bogus Member

An account like the one above raises so many red flags for an experienced Twitter user.  First and foremost, if your system truly can deliver 1,000 followers per day, why does your account only have 104 followers?!?  Other red flags include a lopsided following-to-followers ratio, an abysmally low Klout Score, no bio (just a sales pitch – and a bad one at that), and a plea for followers.

For those who are new to Twitter, you’ll want to watch for some of these red flags mentioned above.  I also strongly suggest you value quality over quantity when it comes to building your Twitter presence.  I’ve spent nearly four years building my Twitter account.  Followers come and go, but if you place quality over quantity with how you use and manage Twitter, you’ll trend upwards organically.

What other advice would you give to the novice Twitter user?

Authenticity in Social Media

I intentionally try to avoid traditionally controversial subjects in my blog such as politics and religion to name a few.  I have other things I’d rather write about and want to keep my blog on more of a professional level than personal level.  I’d also rather not add fuel to the fire of a rumor.  So, it’s with some hesitation that I write this post.

I read an article on The Hill about Mitt Romney’s Twitter account that I thought was rather interesting.  Presidential candidates seemingly have everything scrutinized with a magnifying glass these days.  Someone noticed that Romney’s account, which had been averaging 3,000-4,000 new followers daily had suddenly picked up almost 100,000 followers in a two-day period.  And, this increase occurred without any significant change in his engagement with followers.  Immediately the speculation was that his campaign was buying Twitter followers.

This certainly is not very newsworthy, especially since it’s speculation at this point.  But fact or fiction, it is a great example of the importance that authenticity plays in social media.  In a previous post that still generates weekly views, I offered 3 reasons why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to social media.

The number one reason I listed in that post is that when fans/followers can be bought, your authenticity comes into question.  Whether it’s a politician or a consumer brand, most people won’t tolerate a fake.  Engagement cannot happen with fans/followers who do not have a true interest, let alone may not exist in the first place.

Don’t just take my word for it.  A recent research study from demonstrated that activity (i.e., engagement) on a Facebook page was a better indicator of trust than the number of “likes” a page had.  In fact, 84% said that being trustworthy is a requirement before interacting with a page or info source.

Again, fact or fiction, here’s a current reminder why quality is more important than quantity when it comes to social media.  What are your thoughts when it comes to authenticity in social media?

Klout Responds

In a previous post, I called-out Klout for having a lack of transparency with their formula for measuring digital influence.  I had several questions for Klout, which were asked in another blog’s comment section (that blog featured a Q&A with a Klout executive) as well as two emails sent through their website.  Frustrated by a lack of response, I took my concerns public by posting my own blog post on the subject.  In that post, I did promise that I’d share their response if there was one . . .

On October 22, 2010, I had sent them a message asking 9 specific questions about how Klout accesses your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, how it accounts for your privacy settings, your connections’ privacy settings, and some of the additional features on those sites (groups, Q&A, likes, etc., some of which might also be private).

A response arrived a mere 75 days later (that’s only 10 weeks and 5 days) with an apology for the delay and this simplified answer: 

LinkedIn: Klout recognizes the total absolute number of LinkedIn connections that you have and the likes and comments on status updates. We do not recognized LinkedIn events or groups at this time but we will continue to build out our algorithms to encompass all the interactions on a network.

Facebook: Yes, if your Facebook is private and you have authorized Klout, then we will take into account the interactions you have with your friends even if you change your privacy settings to make certain content available to only certain users.

While I didn’t expect them to answer with great detail, I was pleasantly surprised the response went further than a simple “check our FAQ page” (although they did suggest that).  I was certainly disappointed it took so long for Klout to respond. 

Has it changed my opinion of Klout?  Not really.  I still believe it’s a good, initial “line in the sand” for measuring social media influence; it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.  I still feel Klout projects some level of arrogance when it comes to interacting with users.  Would you find a 75 day delay acceptable when interacting with a company, especially one involved with digital and social media?

What’s been your experience to date with Klout?  Has your opinion changed positively or negatively the more you’ve used it?

Hey Klout! I’m Kalling You Out!

If you’re into social media, you’re likely familiar with Klout.  Klout attempts to measure social influence online by analyzing True Reach (number of people you influence), Amplification (how much you influence these people), and Network Impact (the influence of your network).  Using an algorithm, their analysis assigns a score of 1 to 100, giving you the ability to compare your social influence to others.  You can also see topical areas of influence.

Having worked in market research for many years, I find their behind-the-scenes metrics and analysis fascinating.  In a way, it’s a great combination of what I enjoy professionally:  marketing + market research + data analysis + social media.  That’s why I love Klout (the occasional perks don’t hurt either!).

Recently, Klout changed their algorithm in an effort to more accurately reflect true reach.  Most people saw their Klout score drop (some significantly so).  Mine dropped, but that’s not my problem with Klout.  If you’re doing social media correctly, a Klout score shouldn’t be of much importance to most people.

While I’m not privy to their algorithm, I believe there may be a big flaw in their analysis.  LinkedIn is a major component of most people’s social media usage.  Yet, to what extent does it analyze your LinkedIn profile?  Specifically:

  1. Does Klout recognize the actual number of connections that I have, or does it just see “500+”?  There’s a big difference between having a network of 500 and having a network of 1,200!
  2. Does Klout recognize the groups I belong to and/or manage, and the frequency with which I interact in those groups?  Is it all groups (and subgroups), or just open/public groups?  Is it only groups that are displayed on my profile or all groups?
  3. Does Klout recognize Q&A interaction?
  4. Does Klout recognize interactions with comments and “likes” on updates with connections?
  5. Does Klout consider events I’ve created and the interest/attendance level indicated as well as comments and views?
I have similar questions with how Klout interacts with Facebook, given your privacy settings and those of your connections too.  Twitter is pretty open, so that seems more straight-forward.  I’m not so much concerned with what my score is, or how it’s trending.  But as someone with a 20-year career in market research, I am concerned with the accuracy of what they’re measuring.
While I don’t expect Klout to fully disclose their secret formula, depending on how they analyze LinkedIn and Facebook, all 3 components that comprise their Klout Score would be impacted.  I’ve asked them, both through a public blog comment and more than one email.  I’ll share their response if I hear from them.  Sadly, I must not have enough Klout because I’ve been waiting for nearly a month to receive an answer.  Perhaps that will be a future Perk they’ll offer.  😉 
Besides a lack of transparency, that’s not the best customer service experience.  So what are your thoughts on Klout?  Do you find their lack of transparency frustrating?