I more or less find Klout entertaining. It's a fun game. At Engauge, we have a fun internal game of who has the highest Klout score. We've even figured out how to game the system, with @JM_allgrownup working himself into being influential about burritos while I've managed to become the second most influential person on Klout about Sesame Street (second only to Sesame Street). Many people criticize Klout, saying it's not an accurate barometer of influence. That the algorithm is imperfect. That it can be gamed. I think that's what makes it work.
The Ultimate Influence Game
With the release of Klout topics, it's helped take some of the leg work out of identifying influencers and brand advocates in certain product categories. Sure, it's not a perfect system. It can be gamed. But that's the key right?
The new Topics list is something that can absolutely be gamed. However, to be influential in certain topics, you not only need to tailor your messaging towards a certain topic but also have those messages increase their reach through retweets and shares. It would take a lot of conscious tweets, content shares and conversations on my part to earn more Klout-based influence in a random topic, say, underwater basket weaving. I would not only need to be influential in a topic but also have enough of an audience in Klout's eyes to have a high overall numeric score to merit any sort of reward from a brand or promotion.
Marketers Should Embrace This
What a better way to incent people to be influential about your brand. Involver has already jumped into this by developing a Facebook app that Klout-gates certain promotions. I couldn't think of a better idea. Reward people who are already influential in your category to drive trial, awareness and increase brand messaging. Klout Perks have already started dipping their toe in this water with some mild success. Spotify drove membership to their site in the US through a Klout promotion. It's only a matter of time before more marketers take a Klout-like approach to promotions.
In the world of social, we've looked at ways to reward brand advocacy, use social games to engage consumers and even provide an auroa of exclusivity to fans (whether it be content or promotions to fans-only) for the last couple of years. Klout seems to be one step in combining a little bit of the three into one melting pot.
Don't look at Klout as a true measure of influence. Once you begin to view it as an elaborate online game, you'll start to enjoy it more and despise it less.
What do you think about the future of Klout?