For at least the past few years, people have become fascinated with the measurement of influence. Just how can you easily determine whether someone is influential about a particular topic? Is it quantitative? If so, just how can someone make money trying to figure it out? If someone could help companies determine someone’s influence, then that might stand to make a few bucks as a result.
Enter Klout, the market leader in influence measurement. This startup has helped pave the way into creating a business out of a vague concept most people probably had and found an appeal to both businesses and individuals. Of course, determining one’s Klout score doesn’t come without any criticism. But even when faced with public backlash about how vague it seemed, Klout still manage to persevere and grow into a sound business–they ran their race without compromising their integrity or standards–they knew what they wanted to accomplish and set forth to make it happen. Led by founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran, Klout has made some major strides in growing the business and developing new ways for the company to build. From introducing perks to their +K program, Klout has found ways to get people involved in helping to determine just who is influential.
One of the thoughts I had when thinking about Klout is that it’s not about the score that really determines whether someone is influential about something or not. It’s actually what they have done to merit them being considered an influencer. So if Klout tells me that I’m influential about photography, just what have I done to make that justified? Are people constantly talking about me and associating me with photography? Am I posting photos on Flickr and other photo-sharing services? Am I actively talking about photography and promoting the topic in my social graph? These actions play an active part in the grand scheme of what influence really is. I suppose that’s why Klout introduced their +K program as a means to help people share their thoughts about what topics an individual is more credible about. For businesses, this helps give them an answer to one of the missing pieces of the puzzle in understanding just what a score of 64 means in Klout. Now, those eager to reaching out to unofficial evangelists will be able to understand that while I may have a 64 Klout score, they know what topics I’m influential about and can work that into their program. This helps them justify their outreach.
Klout’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, that’s for sure. Over 5,000 companies are interested in leveraging their influence metric and have tapped into the service’s API feed, which has received over 12 billion calls in just over two years! So what’s next for this company? Just how can Klout further their service to offer a useful measurement tool for brands and companies? It’s quite simple…set up brand pages. And that’s exactly what Klout has done.
Announced today, Klout has rolled out their brand pages as a new way to empower all influencers. Currently in beta, these brand pages are meant to be the display case where influencers can be recognized and have “a direct impact on the brands they care about most.” As TechCrunch noted, prior to today, the brands had only simple pages that could often be mistaken for being normal profile pages. But now, these new pages will give both parties the ability to see the potential partnerships formed thanks to their Klout. According to Klout’s product manager, David Temple, with these brand pages, “you will see a dynamic list of top influencers for each brand, watch conversations flow across social media, monitor information about a brand’s recent developments, and earn access to special Perks.”
The first participant in the Klout brand pages is drink manufacturer Red Bull. To help illustrate the purpose of this feature, Mr. Temple said that Red Bull would be offering perks to those who are on their brand page “leaderboard” as being influencers.
If you’re one of Red Bull’s top advocates, they’ll keep you informed with a subscription to The Red Bulletin and make sure that you’ve had a chance to try their new Red Bull Total Zero by sending you a 4-Pack. The very top influencers will get some sweet merchandise or even a VIP Red Bull experience, like a behind-the-scenes look at the X-Games.
Besides being a real-time leaderboard for influencers about your brands, these brand pages could be really great for companies interested in reaching out to people. Mashable reports that Klout is looking forward to building and/or finessing scoring models for services like YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, and several others. What this could potentially do is give Klout enough content to display on these brand pages and have them operate as an influencer dashboard. If you’re deemed an influencer of Red Bull, for example, the brand page would also show what topics you’re heavily influential about with respect to Red Bull. In addition, the page would feature photos and other media that have been highly talked about with regards to the brand (e.g. the Red Bull air show, etc.) and also other useful content. And for all this content, what users could do is offer +K to the most influential piece of content featured on these brand pages as a means of giving a bit of validation, akin to Facebook “likes”.
Currently, tweets are being displayed on the Red Bull brand page, but perhaps other media should be displayed more prominently to give brands a better understanding of just what type of content is being created about it. However, one thing that is enjoyable is the fact that Klout lists the individuals that the specific tweet is influencing.
And what about topics? There’s no mention about topics being listed on brand pages either? Perhaps this might be a great thing to include in future iterations? They could basically be a great table of contents for brands and users who stop by these brand pages. Acting as “trending topics”, users could see what most people are talking about with respect to the brand. In addition, if brands wanted to know who is influential about a particular topic, they need only click on that topic and the influencers would be highlighted. Makes it easier to find out who to reach out to.
Klout brand pages probably is one of the things that will help answer critics who say that influence cannot be simply measured and labeled using a score. Now, Klout has a useful tool that, when used correctly, can positively help brands and companies leverage the social media universe and determine who is truly influential about what matters the most…the brand.