Klout Perks – Does the bribery work?

Me, when I received Klout perks in the mail…

Ask most accomplished digital marketers about Klout and the vast majority of them will scoff. “Klout scores don’t mean anything.” “The scoring system is flawed and ridiculous.” These are the kind of responses you’ll likely hear. And they’re right. Once you’ve received your first “Klout thinks you’re influential in [something you’ve never, ever talked about],” you’ll know that there isn’t a whole lot of deep science behind the ranking system. So the question remains: Why is Klout still around? The answer is twofold.

My score on Klout as an Influencer
My Klout score…

One, we are a culture that loves an easily identifiable number, whether it actually holds any real validity or not. We love ratings, star systems, and any easy way to rank people, things, or anything we can assign a value. Especially in these times of overbearing multitasking in our business and personal lives, the easier we can dismiss that which isn’t important, the quicker we can get on to our next task at hand.

This is about how I look when I hear FREE

Two, we are a culture that loves free stuff, regardless of whether we need it or not. I’m most guilty of this myself. I’ll admit that the real and only reason I continue to monitor Klout is that I love to get free stuff and revel in the possibility of gaining early access to beta testing apps and networks. The only fuel behind why I’d ever fret over my score is the concern that I’d fall under some unknown threshold and miss out on some Perk not yet known to me.

I received my first physical perk in the mail a few weeks ago. It was some iced tea samples for a big brand. They gave me a pretty ridiculous amount of samples, which is kind of nice, but it’s going to take me so long to get through them I’m not sure if and when I’ll ever have to buy any of it. The tea was alright, a little too sweet for me, but I’ll drink it throughout the summer. I received my second physical perk this week. It was a sneak peek at the new season of a TV show. Here’s the thing. I don’t have cable, so I won’t be able to watch it once it airs anyway. I also misread the Perk, not realizing that it was season 2, so I’d be lost to start with. Did the fact that I received these two items turn me into a brand advocate? No. If the right thing came along, however, it just might, and I think that’s what brands are banking on. For example, in a post a couple weeks ago, I talked about a Klout Perk for Learni.st, a Pinterest style network that allows you the share and learn things within your community, which I received early access to. I dug the network and the idea behind it, and I actually have even invited a few people to sign up for it while they’re in live beta testing. The creators of Learni.st answered and acknowledged all of my questions, checked out my blog post when I wrote about it, and were excited to have me participating. In this instance, I became an advocate for their product because I liked it and actually felt like I was part of an exclusive group. I didn’t feel so exclusive drinking a glass of tea from a brand I was already well familiar with and I knew was quite established. That’s where I think the power in these Klout Perks really lies. Creating loyalties with brands you may have never heard of, or up-and-coming startups and apps where the feedback of a real and invested community can take a company and its designers to the next level of innovation and creativity.

So, what do you think? Does ‘rewarding’ those with Klout scores above a certain threshold really get a brand anywhere? Do you feel that being rewarded with a freebie would get you behind a brand, or does it take something a little more for you to become an advocate?

Let me know below with your comments. Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of June 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Image courtesy of PushingSocial.com
  • Stanford at Pushing Social offers up some Essential Tools for the Savvy Blogger in a recent post. He even breaks it into three sections: Research, Writing, and Promotion. I’m happy to see that Buffer made his list for the Research and Curation portion. I’m a huge fan of Buffer (if you haven’t been using this amazing curation tool – which integrates seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the web – then be sure to check it out here). I’m surprised to see that Evernote didn’t make his list for Planning, the tools that did are top notch.
Image clipped from Seaquence.org
  • You guys, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve found on Stumbleupon.com. Seaquence.org has put together this digital music maker of sorts and, as the site puts it, “Adopting a biological metaphor, you can create and combine musical lifeforms resulting in an organic, dynamic composition.” The interface is really easy to use and you can add multiple “organisms” to add depth and variation. You can also donate to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts from their homepage. If you search for Seaquence on YouTube, you’ll even find some video clips that people have put together showing off their run at making biological music. It’s cool. Check it out. If you make any videos yourself, let me know and I’ll share them with my readers!
Klout.com
  • I’ll be honest, I use Klout because I love free stuff. Whereas so far I’ve gained early access to a couple up and coming social networks like Learni.st and LoveIt, I actually received my first physical Klout perk in the mail last week. I mean, it wasn’t a new car or a digital device to test drive, but I was still excited about free goodies in the mail. I got my Lipton Tea & Honey samples (Pineapple Mango) in a huge envelope. They gave me quite a few. The stuff is pretty good, but a lot sweeter than I typically go for. Also, 8oz of water is not enough. I filled an entire drinking glass and it was still flavorful. Not bad. It’s good on a hot Austin day, but too sweet to drink tons of it. (Disclaimer: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to received the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.)
Photo by Marcus Kwan
(aperturismo on Flickr)
  • Facebook is throwing around the idea of dropping or removing the minimum age restriction for usage. Currently, the minimum age is 13, according to Facebook’s terms. Of course, some parents have helped their uber-social tween get Facebook accounts anyway, but there are some interesting ideas being tossed out there. One of the big concerns, according to the Washington Post, is the collection of data from and targeted advertising to children. Another idea being considered is having parents’ accounts have an administrator-like control over a child’s account. This, of course, could be a point of contention as a child turns into a teen, but could be a genius move for Facebook. Not only would it allow millions of kids to create accounts, but it would thereby force any parents of those kids to have an account, use it more often to monitor their child’s usage, and interact with Facebook more than they may have previously. We’ll see where the dart finally lands on this issue, but it will be interesting nonetheless.
Promote your blog with Social Media
Image from SocialMediaExaminer.com
  • Some of these tips from Social Media Examiner, if you’re even a slightly experienced blogger, may be common sense. However, this post offers up some really great tips and ideas for using the various outlets at your disposal for promoting your blog. In my case, I share a link to my blog posts on my Google+ profile all the time, but it never occurred to me to paste the entire text into the status update (since Google’s character limit is ridiculously huge0. Not only does this mean people can read your post without leaving Google+, it also is better for SEO!
  •  And finally, this music video by a band called Driver Friendly was shared with me by my friend and coworker Calli. She’s a great local music guru for me and she actually used to listen to these guys when they were first getting their start. I have to credit them for making a great music video, a tribute to Tom Hanks movies is a pretty unique theme. It was even Tweeted by Tom Hanks himself, which is amazing for a small band. Check out their nicely produced video and check them out on Spotify or iTunes if you like their music.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Can you name all the Tom Hanks movies in the music video? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

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