As a budding integrated marketer, I often hear and read about the importance of attracting and winning over influencers. For the mock strategy I conducted for the Cisco Cius in an NYU MSIM class, that was a focal point of our strategy, and rightfully so. Companies launching a new service or product need to get their message across to the right people, and what better way to cut across the customer spectrum than identifying and channeling your message to the influencers among your target audience.
But who exactly are influencers? There are a number of definitions out there. But for me these are individuals who have the network strength, following and ability to amplify your message and affect the behavior of others. In short they have the ability to influence others. While, a number of tools can help you identify influencers on blogs, twitter (such as http://twittercounter.com/) etc, one tool has blown away the competition – Klout.
Klout has been around since 2009, but it is only until recently that companies have begun leveraging and integrating its capabilities to launch and promote its services. Klout essentially measures a users influence across the social web and assigns a score from 1 to 100 based on the users ability to drive action. It also identifies the users influence topics, who the user influencers and who influences them, as well as other stats surrounding your influence. Users can track their progress by logging onto the site or building an account. The site calculates a users score via an algorithm that involves the users True Reach, Amplification Probability, Network score and assigns weight to each factor, also taking into account the Standard score. Brian Solis has captured the process in an article.
This begs the question how marketers can leverage this tool. For starters, if you are introducing a new service and want to spread the word far and wide in a short amount of time i.e. make news go viral, there is no better way to light the social media world abuzz than by integrating Klout.
Spotify, an award-winning music service from Europe, launched its service in the US by partnering with Klout. In order to get a premium account, users needed to measure their Klout and if they were influencers in the entertainment topics they got a free account. The offer was so popular that Spotify had to pull the service from Klout. Klout in the past has run deals with sites such as Virgin America and Audi, and currently offers “Perks” in partnership with Secret and MetroMint among others.
Opportunities for brands are abound and partnering with Klout offers a solid means to identify influencers. The algorithm not only ensures that your message is in the hand of socially active individuals with a high probability to spread your message far and wide, but also places emphasis on it being clicked and viewed.
What do you think of Klout and what brands have you seen using this? Chime in through the comments button.