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Web Sites Analyze Your Social Media Influence, Reward Top Scorers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Imagine if your online activity could determine whether you got a job, a mortgage, a date or even just free stuff.

As CBS 2's Susan Carlson reports, it's already happening with social media scores. New Web sites are analyzing your online activity and offering some people free rewards.

One top trender, mommy blogger Leah Segedie, have gotten the keys to luxury automobiles for the weekend with no strings attached, or won offers from resorts for a room absolutely free.

"They came to me, which is really cool, because, you know, I wasn't looking for it," said Segedie, who is behind the blog "They just found me."

Whether you know it or not, your online popularity is being ranked by Web sites such as Klout and Kred, and everyone is assigned as a number. The higher the number, the more influence you have, and the more appealing you are to marketers.

"They believe these real-world people can get their message out to their community and help amplify the message," said Kred chief executive officer Andrew Grill.

Over the last two years, more than 300 brands have offered perks to Klout influencers, including Disney, Microsoft, and American Express.

"Free upgrades on flights to movie tickets, product trials. The perks run the gamut, and the higher your score, probably, the better the perk is going to be," said Zena Weist, vice president of strategy at Expion and a social media expert.

Businesses are looking beyond perks too, from dating services using scores to match potential partners to a startup bank making plans to consider scores for a loan approval.

Some recruiters are even checking out the scores for job applicants.

"The score can be a benchmark if the job has something to do with social media; if you're connecting with people on the Web; if you need to be influential," Weist said.

So how can you raise your current score? Experts suggest you start by sharing stories about topics you're interested in on Facebook and Twitter, and the more retweets and shares you get, the higher your score will rise.

"Be more useful, be more relevant. Talk to your community," Grill said.

After that, seek out and follow like-minded people online.

"That way, they're going to share the information you put out, and you can share the information they put out, and all boats rise," Weist said.

And it's important always to be genuine with what you share.

"If you are the person who's all about the score, I mean, good luck. Good luck to you. It's never going to happen," Segedie said. "So, it's like, what needs to happen first, is you need to be that real person first, and the score will come. It will follow you."

As for Segedie and her family, they love the perks they have already been given, and are always on the lookout for more.

"If a contractor would call me and say, 'Hey I'd love to remodel your house for free,' you know, that would be fantastic too," she said.

Experts say it is important not to get too obsessed with your score, which could go up and down daily. Instead, aim for long-term growth.

The average person's Klout score is 20 out of a possible 100.

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