My friend Trey Pennington just wrote a post on how to increase your Klout score. It’s a great and timely post, as many people are now wondering how to do the same thing. Trey had four tips for increasing your Klout score, but this is the point I wanted to focus on:
Stay away from people who aren’t important. Be careful about who you follow on Twitter. People with low Klout scores and people who are inactive on Twitter can bring you down. Remember the old adage about associations. Klout knows the score of all of your followers. You’re ranked by the company you keep. If you’ll keep company mainly with important people, you can increase your Klout score.
I will play devil’s advocate to this point. When I first started blogging, I had zero visibility in this space, and couldn’t buy the attention of the ‘influencers’. But I had a nice little network of friends that, while they were unknown, helped me by promoting my blog to their small networks. They read and commented on my posts, and I did the same thing on their posts.
Over time, their networks grew a bit, and mine did as well. A few of these friends began to get a bit of notice, maybe even some of you have heard of them, people like Ann Handley, David Armano, and Beth Harte.My point is, if I had let who I interacted with be dictated by their level of visibility, I would have missed out on connecting with a TON of people that while they were ‘unknowns’ at the time, are now the ‘rockstars’ in this space.
This leads to one of the true secrets of connecting with influencers: Connect with them BEFORE they are influential. The first time I read Beth’s The Harte of Marketing blog, my thought was ‘She’s a better blogger than I am!’ So I immediately started telling everyone to check out her blog, because she was amazing. Beth was grateful that I was promoting her to my network, and my network was grateful because I had introduced them to a brilliant marketer. My thought was that eventually, Beth was going to be one of the thought leaders in this space, so why not accelerate that process?
The idea is, don’t connect with people based on their visibility, connect with people based on their smarts. If someone is smart, the visibility and influence will come, why not get there early and lead the parade?
BTW in keeping with this theme, here’s a few smart bloggers I read that you might not know about yet. All are brilliant, so go ahead and connect with them now, before the room gets too crowded:
David Griner: Great advice on how businesses can use social media, David is especially knowledgeable when it comes to business applications of Facebook. And a helluva nice guy, to boot.
Debra Ellis: Debra comes from a bit different background as many bloggers in this space, as Debra is a direct marketing expert. But she’s a wonderful networker on Twitter, and has a knack for finding the wonderful content and sharing it with others. In addition to the great content she creates on her blog.
So that’s my best advice on becoming influential: Surround yourself with people smarter than you are, and connect your network with those people when you find them. You’ll be smarter as a result, and your network will be grateful to you for introducing them to these smart people.
In that spirit, if you’ve ‘discovered’ a blogger that’s flying under the radar, please tell us about them in the comments.
UPDATE: Trey clarifies in the comments that his post was satirical and that he didn’t mean it to be taken literally. Sorry Trey, didn’t mean to misrepresent what you said! Please read the comments for Trey’s take on the issue.