Which Way Will They Go? Klout’s Future Depends on . . . Klout

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Klout is rolling along in its quest to become the official social network influence-measurement service. It just added five social networks to its arsenal; Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram and Last.fm. Add this to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare and LinkedIn, and you have well rounded gauge of influence. Or do you?

I’m not here to question the success of Klout’s algorithms, or say that its scores are slightly irrelevant, and they suggest that some people can carry the “Social Media Expert” title. The scores do take in account how good your social voice is, or how much your network following RT’s, Replies, Comments or “Likes” the content you put out there. But, with this influx of new social networks, the big “what if” becomes “What if I’m not on all of these networks?”

Per the Klout Blog  “Connecting an account wil never lower your Score, but it may increase it as we can give you credit for your influence in that network.” – Sidenote: Yes, Klout has a typo – “wil” – on their corporate blog. UH OH

This is where the confusion begins to grow. Is Klout an honest tell-all of your entire social influence across all social channels, or is it an “Are you good at Twitter. . . and maybe decent at a few other social networks, too?”

So, you’re a self-proclaimed guru. And your Klout Score is inching closer to Oprah’s 65 Score. You magically pass her in a rat race, for you have a strong following on 8 out of the 10 networks that Klout currently supports.

That’s not a bad pick up line: “Hey, do you know me? You should. My Klout score is one notch higher than Oprah’s”

But what does your Klout score mean? Is it more of a score of your social influence or your social presence? Is there a difference?

To marketers, this can be all the difference. If you have a client, say Dr. Pepper, and they want to market content to the most influential people to help spread the word of a new flavor, Dr. Pepper X, how can you, as a marketer, differentiate which users to target? Is there a special Klout score that is the cross-over from social media serf to social media prince? And once you’ve located those users, do you target content on the basis of their following on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare or the amount of “Likes” on Facebook?

Are there layers of “engaged’ users? Is a user who participates in a social survey or sweepstakes on Facebook more important than a user who comments and shares the content? Is an Instagram brand tag as important as a Tumblr blog post mention? This is what, at the moment, Klout cannot take into effect.

I don’t doubt Klout’s ability to be a helpful tool for marketers to figure out who to target, and how to get them to help spread the word. But, just because they keep adding – and will keep adding – a plethora of social networks, it does not give any better indication of how successful every user of a social network can be. To be the true social network influence tool, Klout must adapt and grow to meet marketer’s expectations and solve problems that currently can’t be solved.

For now, it seems your Klout Score is better suited as a pick up line than a marketers dream.

Direct Message Lab provides a central platform , REACH v4,  for brands to effectively build, manage, and analyze their social, mobile and app-based marketing. For more information, check out www.directmessagelab.com, and follow us on Twitter, @dmlinfo.

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