Companies have long recognized that bloggers and other influencers in social media can be a highly effective target for marketing efforts. It’s finding the right social influencers that’s always been the trick, and that’s where Klout comes in. The San Francisco company has devised a metric that captures in a single number an individual’s influence on Twitter.
Ranging from 0 to 100, the Klout Score represents any individual’s overall Twitter clout, with higher scores indicating a wider and stronger sphere of influence. More than 25 variables go into that score, inlcuding the number of engaged followers as opposed to spam bots and dead accounts, the likelihood that the person’s messages will generate retweets or spark a conversation, and how influential the person’s followers are. Scores on those variables are then run through Klout’s analytics engine, which creates a composite score representing how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big an impact their messages have on others. Soon to come from Klout is the inclusion of Facebook data as well as, potentially, information from LinkedIn, MySpace, Digg and even YouTube, AdAge reported.
For brands, the Klout score can be used to find influencers by topic or hashtag and connect with them directly through the Klout Perks program; in a current example, Klout is giving away free tickets to select influencers to try a new Virgin America Toronto route. For applications, meanwhile, the Klout API provides the ability to sort incoming messages based on the sender’s Klout score, for instance, as well as to use it for social search, CRM and lead generation. Starbucks, Cover Girl and Dannon Yogurt have already put Klout to work, as have Fox and the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, according to AdAge. “Throwing free samples to a whole bunch of poorly targeted bloggers has serious limits,” Klout global sales head Garth Holsinger told the publication. “The individuals we engage are identified because they’ve worked hard to establish a credible voice on subjects that matter to them.” Time to put Klout to work for your application or brand…? (Related: Viral tourism site recruits expats to help promote New Zealand — Free products for bloggers at invitation-only events — Travel company gives bloggers free trips — Connecting restaurants and bloggers for ‘tastecasting’ via Twitter.)