Klout Stars: Dan Schawbel

Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.

About Dan: Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and the author of the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan, October 2010). Dan is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, the publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, the youngest columnist at BusinessWeek, and has been featured in over 400 media outlets, such as The Details Magazine and ELLE Magazine. He’s spoken at Google, Harvard Business School, MIT, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Dan was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, and BusinessWeek cites him as someone entrepreneurs should follow on Twitter.

We asked…

1. How did you get started on social media?

“I started my first blog called “Driven to Succeed” back in October 2006 because I wanted to help college students get internships, jobs and establish their careers. Then, I created the Personal Branding Blog, which helps individuals understand how to use social media for career success. I was posting ten to twelve times per week on my blog, while writing articles about personal branding for About.com, The American Marketing Association, and BrandWeek Magazine, commenting on every blog that mentioned the topic, and then I launched Personal Branding Magazine. Fast Company profiled me after six months and I was recruited internally at my company to be their first social media specialist, which inspired me to write Me 2.0. Two years later I launched my company and have been enjoying the ride ever since.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“My strategy has changed drastically since I first started in social media because the competitive landscape has evolved. I used to be the only contributor to my blog and now I don’t contribute at all! We have several contributors to write for the site, which allows it to scale. My new job is to attract new visitors to the site who will read my teams posts, using social networking sites, my columns, and publicity.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“Every year you ask this question, it will become more challenging to stand out online because new influence has already been created and influencers are established. Your job is to narrow down your focus and blend your passion and expertise together so that you can be committed to your social media use over the long haul. You have to really care about your topic because social media forces you to update your status daily and pay attention to trends. Be consistent, network as much as you can, and never give up! ”

Want to hear more from Dan? Follow him on Twitter as @DanSchawbel.

Let us know what you think of Klout Stars! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.

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Klout Stars: Timothy Welsh

Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today. I’m excited to interview Timothy Welsh today since he is known as one the strongest advocates for Autism on social media.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/TannersDad

About Timothy: Timothy Welsh has established himself as a leading Autism advocate on Twitter and other social media platforms. Otherwise known as @TannersDad, Tim uses blogging, Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook to advocate for greater resources for families who have loved ones dealing with Autism. His mission will continue until services are given freely and discrimination based on Geographic home, Socioeconomic status, and Ethnicity is ended. Also, every parent gets a hug and hears or reads “I Love You”.

We asked…

1. How did you get started on social media?

“After having two heart attacks at 38 and dealing with my Son Tanner’s profound regression due to Autism, I began to write. Two years ago I was introduced at the AutismOne conference in Chicago. Everyone stood up and clapped. I covered my face. Then the National Speaker took the stage and stopped in the middle of her speech, She said something I wrote caused her not to commit suicide. I realized the Impact of Social Media and spurred on my Advocacy for Autism Support services and reform.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“I have many avenues in which I reach out. First personal contact and interaction. Second I consider myself a news aggregator. I gather relevant news for stakeholders dealing with Autism. Third I blog on various sites. Fourth My team has an Infotainment strategy including book promotion, standard old school media, and a movie coming out next year. http://www.USofAutism.com And Finally daily content for all. Daily Prayer, Twitter Tips, #FAY Feel Autism Yet? quotes from stakeholders dealing with Autism.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“Interact interact interact. So many confuse Social Media with Broadcast media. People are very lonely, scared, and need support right now. Inspire, dream, share, be Honest, and complement others. I love the new addition of Adding K to others now through Klout. I have used Klout Metrics from day one. Learn about those you influence. Ask those who you influence why. I would be happy to mentor and help all navigate there way through the social, new, and Cause Media Maze. TannersDad Tim Autism Advocate. ”

Want to hear more from Timothy? Follow him on Twitter as @TannersDad or check out Generation Rescue to help out.

Let us know what you think of Klout Stars! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.


Klout Stars: Calvin Lee

Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/mayhemstudios

About Calvin: Calvin Lee is an award-winning designer located in Los Angeles. His focus is developing identity and brand recognition for both small and large businesses. Calvin has been featured on Forbes and BNet for his strong social media presence as @MayhemStudios.

We asked…

1. How did you get started on social media?

“In the early days, my first experience with anything social was AOL. I used to spend hours chatting online with lots of people. It sucked up lots of my time just like something else we all know called Twitter.

I’ve gone through life wondering what is my thing. I believe, I’ve found it, more like it found me. Twitter is really what started it all for me. I’ve never thought of myself as being in social media. It kind of just happened and I love it.

Twitter has really helped me become a social butterfly, once shy and still am at times. I really enjoy hanging out and meeting new people, especially my followers at conferences, events and out on the street. Yes, it does happen once in awhile.

It’s funny, I’m known better as a social media guy than a designer, which that is what I do for a living. My goal was never to become this social media person. I joined Twitter to make new friends, connections, help others and push out great info.

As an extra bonus of all this sharing and helping, it somehow created influence and trust for me. Brands have been reaching out to me; sending me on trips and asking me to try their goods, services and review their products.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“My motto is always to give value; be helpful and be nice. I’ve become almost like a news media outlet. I see myself as filter or editor of great information, a curator according to Klout.

Know your audience. Many of my followers are small biz to medium size. Many can’t afford a designer like me. I try to tweet articles on web design, color, inspiration and basics of design to help them. Novice articles are the best — sometimes intermediate or advanced design topics may go over their heads but I still throw those out there.

Recently, I have expanded my tweets to anything I enjoying in life; like food, movies and traveling. I take my followers on my journeys wherever I go.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“You have to really engage with your community and build those relationships. Be a resource for them. I’m a designer, so I tweet lots of design articles for beginners, intermediate and advanced. I also answer questions. If it’s not in my area of expertise, I try to find an answer for them.

Retweeting is a great way to build your network and say “Thanks, I like what you tweet. I want to spread the word.” Make sure the context offers value that is helpful to your followers, no selling.

The real big one for me is attending events, tweetups and conferences. You build a stronger bond after an In Real Life (#IRL) meeting. When you meet finally, It’s just like hanging out with an old friend.”

Want to hear more from Calvin? Follow him on Twitter as @MayhemStudios.

Let us know what you think of Klout Stars! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.


Klout Stars: Liz Strauss

Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/lizstrauss

About Liz: Liz Strauss has worked over 20 years in print, software, and online publishing. As VP and Publisher for an American textbook company, Liz developed products and strategic plans with publishers in Europe, Australia, the UK, and Ireland. She has worked small companies making acquisitions, companies in crisis, and corporate giants such as Pearson, Reed Elsevier, and Wolters Kluwer. Her expertise extends from product development and marketing into business-startups and long-term strategic planning. Today, at Liz Strauss .com, Liz is a writer, career coach, and strategic planner with a focus on business writing, marketing, and educational publishing.

We asked…

1. How did you get started on social media?

“I’ve always loved connecting with people. When I was in college I wrote letters to 63 different people and used to get 7 – 8 letters a day. It drove my roommate crazy in the most fun way.

As far as online social goes, in 2005, a company I was working with asked me what I would charge if I wrote a blog for them. I decided I’d better start a blog to figure out how much time it would take. I thought it would be a good way to keep up my discipline as a writer — to write daily. I did. Then an audience came, responded, and we connected.

One day, May 9, 2006, I was bored. I put up a picture on Successful-Blog with a message that said tonight we’re going to talk in the comment box. We called it Open Comment Night.http://www.successful-blog.com/open-comments-at-tuesdays-at-7pm/ Every Tuesday night we talked in the comment box for about 4 hours. That eventually turned into our event SOBCon http://www.sobevent.com/ Then I joined Twitter March 16, 2007 and I suppose that’s when social media became integrated into my life.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“My strategy is to know my own values, know how to recognize the people who share them, and focus on those two things. I believe if you want someone to listen to your message, the message has to be about them — the people you want to reach. The more focused the message is the louder the people who share your values will hear you. We don’t need to reach everyone. Some folks go chasing the people who ignore them and ignore the people who already love them. I try to serve the people who love what I do. When I do that, they tell their friends.

If your content makes someone’s life easier, makes more time for them, makes more meaning in their life, it will be irresistible.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“Advice? We’re all beginners. Keep that beginner’s mind. Learn from every person you meet. Share what you learn generously. Make a plan to reach out to someone new every day with something useful to that person. Take time to see the hero in the people around you and introduce your heroes to each other so that you all can grow. Invite them to help you build something that you can’t build alone. Make that something a wildly terrifying good thing. Believe you can do it. Then act on your beliefs one step at a time bringing along every great person you know.”

Want to hear more from Liz? Follow her on Twitter as @LizStrauss.

Let us know what you think of Klout Stars! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.


Klout Stars: Spotlight on Rick Bakas

This is the third of a new series on Klout influencers (“Klout Stars”) and how they got to where they are today. The first was with Brian Solis, the second with Dave Larson of @TweetSmarter, and today we’re excited to interview Rick Bakas.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/rickbakas

About Rick: Author, Certified Sommelier and Brand Strategist, Rick Bakas is globally recognized as a thought leader in the world of wine and social media. As the first Director of Social Media in the wine industry, he influenced new ideas and new concepts that connect wineries to new consumers through tweetup tours and global online wine tastings. Rick specializes in translating personal and corporate brands to new media. He is an adviser at Bakas Media, a new media branding agency in San Francisco.

We asked…

1. How’d you get started on social media?

“In the 1980’s my best friend’s dad had the first home computer I ever saw. He showed me how to log into usenet groups and chat with other people. When America Online came out I was one of the first 500 people signed up for the service. That’s about the time I was bit by the wine bug and spent hours chatting with people about wine. When new sites go live I tend to gravitate to them and quickly discover the conversations about wine or bacon.

In 2007, I launched a mobile wine+food app called Culination that failed miserably, but it led to working for a startup in Boulder called Iggli. During that time is when I really got serious about building a personal brand online.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“Consistency is king in my book. Pick 3-5 subjects to be an authority on and consistently be a conduit of information on those subjects. Being a conduit of useful information means I share content about wine, food, bacon and branding that originates from me or comes from another source. I’m always sharing consistently on those subjects. Usually it’s a 50-50 mix of content. Half is content I create, and half is content I find elsewhere.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“I’d advise against taking shortcuts or trying to game the system in all things online. Numbers like Klout scores or SEO rankings on Google have algorithms that are constantly changing, and when they do the true organic results will speak for themselves. Short cuts or manipulations will be corrected, which will result in dramatic score adjustments that expose the people who fluff their numbers.

Consistent engagement on Twitter and Facebook will provide the fastest true organic increase in someone’s online influence. @ reply all day everyday on Twitter and interact often with many people on Facebook in their posts via “likes” and shares. I’d also organize some online events (like #Chardonnay day) where you bring people together online around one idea or hash tag. Your name and handle will be mentioned a lot as the organizer or point person and all those mentions or interactions impact online influence.”

Want to hear more from Rick? Follow him on Twitter as @RickBakas.

Let us know what you think of Klout Stars! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.


Klout Stars: Spotlight on @TweetSmarter

This is the second of a new series on Klout influencers (“Klout Stars”) and how they got to where they are today. The first was with Brian Solis and we’re excited to be able to interview Dave Larson, behind @TweetSmarter for today’s post.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/TweetSmarter

About TweetSmarter: The @TweetSmarter account has won a Knight Foundation and Shorty award, been pictured on the front cover of CNN’s technology section, profiled by the Huffington Post, and has answered thousands of questions for Twitter users around the world over the past three-and-a-half years.

Run by Dave Larson with the help of his wife Sarah, @TweetSmarter has been ranked as high as one of the three most influential accounts in the world in years past by various influence measurement services. Oprah even once displayed Sarah’s personal account—with the message “follow @SarahJL“—during their first big segment on Twitter.

Outside of Twitter, they are both public speakers, Dave being an internet entrepreneur and investor who likes to bring people together on various projects, and Sarah teaching and performing as a professional dancer and voice actor.

We asked…

1. How’d you get started as @TweetSmarter?

“I started on Twitter as @QuantumGood in September 2007 and then created the @TweetSmarter account the following August. It was originally called @Twitter_Tips, but that contributed to a misperception that we work for Twitter (we don’t), so we changed it to @TweetSmarter in mid-2010 with Twitter’s help and blessing.

The idea was to learn how to help as many people as we could use Twitter well. As part of that learning process, I learned that the more transparent I am, the faster I learn. This can admittedly be tough. It will mean changing how you do things sometimes. But my advice is to accept all feedback, and take a shot a staying in harmony with absolutely EVERYONE who ever contacts you, by listening. While you don’t always have to respond, you should always be listening.”

2. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“I try to find or create content that will be the most helpful for our friends and followers. I started by guessing at what would be most helpful to people, but by engaging constantly I now get hourly feedback on what people like and need. I then seek it out, or produce it if I can’t find it. A lot of what is missing at most blogs is the nitty-gritty of how things work, so we produce a fair amount of long, detailed content at our blog, and update it regularly.”

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“Find and engage with those you can help, or can help you. Focus on one at a time. Once you’ve built a relationship, maintain it. Stay in touch. As @TweetSmarter, we are constantly helping and conversing, and as a result I see dozens of messages every week where people are saying “Hey, you should follow @TweetSmarter.” We probably have a thousand people who have offered to do something for us that we have never taken them up on. That’s a very large “gratitude bank” and I think that’s a key foundation of social media influence and presence.

People have always come together to help and learn. Social media expands the potential to learn and help exponentially—but you have to connect with the right people. Whether you’re building a brand or trying to connect with experts for professional development, concentrate both on learning and helping. Find both those that need you, and those that can help you.”

Follow @TweetSmarter on Twitter to hear more from Dave and Sarah.

If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.


Klout Stars: Spotlight on Brian Solis

We often get asked, “What can I do to get a higher Klout Score?”. We can provide some guidance, but the real experts on the subject are the influencers themselves. Today, we’re starting the first of a new series of posts at Klout spotlighting Klout Stars and asking them their secrets to success.

http://widgets.klout.com/badge/BrianSolis

About Brian: Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

We asked…

1. What’s your strategy for the content you produce and share on social media?

“I’m not sure that my engagement in social media was driven by strategy. In all honesty, my view of engagement was and still is about intention and goodwill. While many believe that the pillars of social media are solidified through authenticity and transparency, the true promise and purpose of living in public is the ability to learn in real-time, the impact we can have on anything we set out to accomplish.

Causes
Social good
Communities
Personal brands
Revolutions
Change

Social media is our chance to do something that’s bigger than us and that’s what motivates me.

I believe if Social Media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, ‘Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back…it’s how you got here and it defines where you’re going.’

It’s about the investment you make in the creation or curation of relevant and useful content. It’s about the power and unsaid significance behind a retweet on Twitter, a ‘like’ on Facebook, the friending or following of someone to extend a social graph. It’s also expressed through the explicit act of commenting on posts and updates, engaging in online conversation, sharing the contributions of others as well as linking. These acts serve as the currency of social media and the exchange of this currency is indexed today by services such as Klout. The net result is the reflection of your social capital as cast by your digital persona.”

2. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their social media influence and presence to the next level?

“There is a balance required to engage, contributing as much or more value than you withdraw from each interaction.The Social Web is powered not by self-promotion, but by the value of the community and the selfless act of recognizing, showcasing, and connecting the great people, content, and causes around us. And with it comes great purpose. If the currency of social media is action, then the value of social capital is measured in influence. Influence is not measured by a score, but instead by the culmination of resulting actions. Focusing efforts on solely driving actions is counter productive. As such, focusing efforts to boost scores is as shallow as it is restricted. If you invest in the value of the community and seek to improve the experiences of those to whom you’re connected, your influence and presence is in turn symbolic of something that escapes a number. Your investment then pays off in the form of self actualization, reaching higher potential without any attachment to success or reward.

This is your time to define the ‘me’ in social media and invest in the people who define the networks to learn, grow, and teach to increase the value of the community overall and your place within it.”

Want to hear more from Brian? Check out this video of him speaking about social currencies. Follow him on Twitter as @BrianSolis.

Let us know what you think of this new segment! If you’d like to be considered for a future Klout Stars post about your social media success please email contact@klout.com.