Social Media has proven itself to be a great business tool over the past year. The emergence of new tools allows businesses to monitor and track interactions between them and their customers. However, some businesses are still quite skeptical and wonder “what exactly is social media and how the hell can it help me grow my business?” To put it simply: “Social Media is what happens when an idea and its audience collaborate on a shared experience in real-time;” a great definition eloquently tweeted by @TheOnenOnlySAH. These collaborations are real-time interactions that are happening right now as you are reading this. The question has always been, well, how does one go about measuring social media interactions? After it is collected, what do we do with the data?
Klout has found a way to answer this question by measuring an individuals social interactions and influence online. They have created a great platform not only for measuring the data and interactions that are happening in real time but have also found a way to help brands utilize the data to increase their awareness. The way we interact socially has changed substantially over the last decade. Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others, and Klout assigns you a score to measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100. The key component here is influence. Klout has taken data gathering to the next level by identifying influential individuals and rewarding them with “Perks”. Perks are gifts and giveaways from various brands in hopes that it will spark conversation and increase their visibility. Are influencers, those with higher Klout scores, only in it for the Perks? Or is Klout really turning tweeters and other social gurus into brand ambassadors?
For the most part when I polled friends, colleagues, business owners and other avid users of social networks about Klout most were not sure or confident about its rankings or exclaimed they did not pay much attention to it. However, a few weeks ago when Klout made changes to their algorithm and individuals scores dropped downwards of 20 points there was a big uproar on twitter. Business owners, professionals and experts who have been working hard to build rapport with consumers, colleagues and followers were at a loss and infuriated at the change because they thought they were finally making some headway with understanding how to increase their score even if many were never quite sure about the algorithm. According to Klout they have made the Klout score more transparent giving users more insight into how they effect/affect their audience. These recent changes made me wonder was Klout really turning users into brand ambassadors or were they just reaping the benefits of the perks but not returning the favor.
Whether the perk of utilizing Klout is building credibility, being labeled an influencer or simply a tool to see what your followers feel are the topics you are the expert on I think Klout has to do more than just provide a more transparent scoring system which is still very ambiguous. In order for Klout to ensure that a brands perk reaches it’s target audience, Klout needs to take into account social factors that may not occur online such as their expertise, fame and the amount of targeted individuals they can reach via other followers in order to increase awareness for a perspective brand. Other then Television I have not seen individuals collaborate on their shared experiences on a social network and increase awareness of a particular brand. User’s on both Twitter and Facebook seem to watch their favorite television shows as a collective online and have collaborated on a large scale about their experiences, enjoyment or distaste in regards to a specific show, many share similar view points but they have not all shared them with each other.
One way to focus a conversation online is the use of Hashtags. Hashtags serve as a marker used to highlight keywords or topics in a Tweet so tweeters can follow a conversation on a specific topic. Conversations about brands we love happen organically, we update our status with information about our favorite brands daily such as tweeting about what we had breakfast meals, check-ins to Starbucks, pastimes, etc. The same needs to happen for the brands participating in Klout Perks. Klout needs to connect all redeemer’s of perks and facilitate the conversation around the brands in order to influence their following. Since a tangible product cannot be shared socially, Klout needs to ensure that experience is felt and shared among all Perk recipients as well as the people they influence. There is a certain level of abandonment once the perks are received where individuals use them and they are never spoken of again. Once Klout implements a system to keep the brand conversation going it will be a perfect tool for measuring social media influece.
Would you be more inclined to discuss brands if you were aware of the conversations surrounding Klout perks that you have received or are you just in it for the perks?