The Influence Game

Companies often use Klout to prioritize their responses to customers. In theory, it’s an objective, quick and straightforward way of doing so. Afterall, when you’re doing business in social platforms, you need to take care of your biggest fans first right?

Wrong. It’s not that simple. Here’s some considerations.

Firstly, Klout uses a proprietary algorithm to determine influence. It changes all of the time and doesn’t reveal how it works. So while you may be tempted to use it, it may not necessarily apply to how your customers use it. And once people figure out the algorithm, it’s just a matter of time before they start gaming the system.

Next, a Klout score doesn’t really tell you what people are influential in without digging in deeper to understand. Justin Bieber has a perfect Klout score of 100 but do you really think he would be influential in the field of enterprise content management systems or Higgs boson? Didn’t think so.

There is also no way of knowing if your social followers are actual customers. Be careful not to ignore paying customers vs. ones who are just talking about you. There’s clearly a difference and I always believe in taking care of existing customers first.

Sentiment and attitude is another issue to consider. There is no way of knowing if someone with a high Klout score is actually friendly to your brand. It’s always good practice to dig into how a person actually feels about a topic and your brand before engaging them first. They could be simply abusing their score to get to the front of the line and not be predisposed to doing anything positive for you.

We are still in the early days of unpacking what social influence is and how it truly works. Klout has put a stake in the ground and is building up a business around its approach. But also consider alternative approaches like Kred and PeerIndex.

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