Instagram Added to Klout Scoring

Instagram Klout

Klout has a way of making their users angry with every algorithm or TOS change. Since the social influence grading platform started getting big in 2010, it has been the center of more than one controversial move. This time, the move seems to be a good one as they just added Instagram to the scoring system.

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Empire Avenue is the Most Important Social Media “Game” that You’re Not Playing

EmpireAvenue

I always get a little blown away any time I meet a social media “guru” or “specialist” who isn’t using Empire Avenue. Granted, I wasn’t impressed the first time I gave it a shot in 2011, but since rejoining the site in May of 2012 I’ve learned that it may be the most invaluable tool in the world of social media promotions.

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Empire Avenue Goes Beyond Social Influence Measurement into the Realm of Influence Building

Empire Avenue

The world of social media influence has been a growing industry for years. Klout and Kred have emerged as two of the leaders in the segment with Trust Cloud and others making statements about their own growing relevance, but there’s a network (a game, really) that surpasses all of them in usefulness and has carved a unique niche for itself in the social networking universe. If you haven’t been paying attention to Empire Avenue, you probably don’t realize what you’re missing.

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Businesses Need to Act like Everyone has a High Klout Score

Businesses Everyone High Klout Score

The efforts of those who use Social Media and its various platforms certainly love to be able to see how it places them in amongst their peers which the social influence web-based tool, Klout has most certainly provided. Basically ranking us on how active we are on an array of social networks and how interactive our content shared becomes in the reactions and actions received from those that friend or follow us.

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Growing Klout the Right Way

Klout Engagement

My days start the same way. Every morning at around 2:15am, I wake up and hit the feeds. I have over 20 SEO blogs, 40 social media blogs, and a dozen automotive blogs that I start with at the beginning of my day and that I check regularly throughout. I read more about these two important topics, search and social, on any given day than most read in a month.

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The Social Spectrum. FTFY.

Social Spectrum Full

Before going into why it needs fixed (FTFY=”Fixed That For You”), it’s important to note that Buddy Media, the company that produced this graphic, is definitely my favorite of the enterprise level social solutions. If I ran a corporate social media presence rather than a social media agency, I would be all over Buddy Media as my social partner.

With that said, this graphic is a scare tactic. It’s intended to demonstrate that, as Business Insider put it, social media is “insane” and “ludicrously complicated”. For 99%+ of the business world who needs social media, the vast majority of services on the list are completely unnecessary and in many cases irrelevant.

For example, most businesses do not need to keep up with what’s going on at Disney’s Club Penguin. Anyone outside of Hollywood can avoid Miso. Marketing on RenRen is tough even if you can read the language:

RenRen

For the businesses outside of the 1%, the social media marketing world gets a whole lot less complicated. There are plenty of tools out there, but Seesmic or Hootsuite work just fine and have the functionality and analytics that most everyone needs. For brand monitoring, Trackur is good for small businesses and Radian6 is good for larger businesses.

Bit.ly is the only URL shortener you need to know.

Watch your Klout score and build a presence (for missions, not for social scoring) on Empire Avenue.

Blog on WordPress if you have time and want it to look amazing. Blog on Tumblr if you don’t have time and want it to look good.

Instagram is mobile photo-sharing whether the Facebook deal goes through or not (and it will). If you don’t like Instragram, Twitpic works just fine.

There are tons of website plugins available, but Gigya and Badgeville do whatever you could possibly want.

Here’s the complete, trimmed-down version of the graphic. It’s just not as complicated as those of us in social media would have you believe.

Social Spectrum

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Why Empire Avenue Matters

Empire Avenue

Some would argue that the biggest problem with social media and the internet in general is that there are too many ways to waste time on it. Even before the rise of social games like Farmville and Draw Something, “surfing the net” was akin to a more interactive version of being a couch potato. The productivity potential has never been met. Not by a longshot.

Empire Avenue offers something a little different. There is actual value that can be found in playing the game that can help individuals and business achieve their social media goals. Before getting into how that works, it’s important to understand the game itself.

How Empire Avenue Works

In essence, it’s a social game where users buy and sell “stocks” of each other that are influenced by a wide variety of factors including social profile relevance, activity on and off the site, and the standard stock play of buying high and selling low. Users are given currency (EAves) and told to spend them on buying others.

A user’s stock price goes up based upon how many shares are being bought and sold. If, as it is pictured in the image above, a user were to buy a couple hundred shares of my stock, it would get a bump and be worth more. If someone else sells, it’s worth less. Simple, right?

The complication comes with the interactions on social networks. Empire Avenue uses various formulas similar to the ones used by Klout and other social influence measures and rates a user’s account based upon how well they’re doing. Being new to the game (I joined with the Soshable account on May 22), my influence score on Twitter is rising but my others are low. As a result, my dividends are lower. This is important.

Dividends are the monetary rewards offered daily for owning shares. If a player has a high dividend relative to their share price, they are more attractive to other buyers. The closer a person is to having dividends at 1% of their share price, the better of an investment they’ll be.

Empire Avenue Zaibatsu

In the example above, Reg Saddler’s Zaibatsu account is expensive, but it also has a relatively-high yield on his dividends. If I were to buy shares of his stock, I would receive around 3.39 EAves per share per day. This number goes up and down based upon social activity, but as you can see his ratings on Facebook and Google+ are extremely high and many of his other accounts such as Instagram and Twitter are also doing well.

At 3.39 EAves dividend against 445.11 EAves per share, it would take a little over 4 months to earn the money back from the initial investment and I would still own all of the shares to sell at some point or to continue earning dividend revenue.

How It’s Useful

Those who play the game regularly are able to accumulate “wealth” in the form of EAves. They get this currency when people buy their stock and when their dividends are paid out. They also get a little money from their own activities on social networks, but this is small. The benefit of activity on social networks is to make their dividends offered on their own stocks higher, thus making them more attractive for purchase.

The other way they can make earn revenue is through missions. This is also the key to why Empire Avenue is useful for business and personal use.

Missions are commissioned by users and usually require an action on or off of Empire Avenue. Here’s an example with the details blotted out:

Empire Avenue Mission

In this case, you can see that the user is requesting social media interaction and is offering 1500 EAves for up to 35 people to complete. It’s a very simple and straight-forward way to encourage engagement and improve the social media presence for a business, organization, or individual.

The quality level we’ve found from this sort of action is much higher than other services. Because users are invested (pun intended) in the game and it takes time (as you can see from my account) to get going, the spam level is much lower than on Facebook share groups or LinkedIn groups where people can join and start asking for comments on their teeth whitening blog. As we all know, not all social media accounts are created equal, so getting a retweet from @zaibatsu on Empire Avenue is better than getting a retweet from @hotrussiamchix4919.

Empire Avenue is a game of interaction and intelligence. It requires involvement, but once a user gets the hang of it they are able to do what they normally do on social networks and reap the rewards with minimal effort on the site itself. Sure, there are those who spend all day on the site buying and selling, doing missions, chatting and forming strategies; in other words, it can definitely be addicting and suddenly no longer be a productive endeavor.

Those who play the game right can help their company or themselves be more effective on social media.

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Some Wins, Some Losses in My Feb 2011 Social Media Predictions

JD Rucker Eyes Only

It’s been over a year since I delivered a keynote at the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa Valley. We drank a lot of wine and talked a lot of social, but the speech I gave was the first one where I really “put it on the line” and made predictions about the way that social media was heading.

There were some wins. It wasn’t terribly prophetic to announce that Google would be getting hardcore into social media as it had already been mentioned as an important concept for the company by then-incoming CEO Larry Page, but it was before Google+ at the time and I think it made some sense. Other things were losers – Klout wasn’t bought by Google (or hasn’t been yet) as I predicted.

Here’s the long video. Let me know if you think I was a fool. If anything, it’s probably the first (and last) time you’ll ever see someone delivering a speech and taking a call in the middle of it.

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