This is a guest post by Jessica Edmondson.
Global brands have long clamored for the attention and approval of the most-influential celebrities, bloggers and journalists. In the past, you may have known these folks as “movers and shakers.” Now, they’re just as likely to be called “influencers,” their relative level of importance determined by score-keeping sites such as Klout, Kred and PeerIndex.
If you participate in social media, chances are you have a score, too—and it can affect your life in ways you didn’t even realize.
When you create content or engage in social media, these sites are analyzing your activity, gauging who interacts with you and measuring your influence:
So, what does all this mean? Companies recognize the importance of engaging with customers through social media. Now they have a way of measuring social influence.
Marketers can cater to influencers by giving them more attention and rewarding them for their loyalty. Just as famous actors and athletes get paid to endorse products or receive free clothing, social influencing sites give companies a way to grant perks to everyday folks—as long as they have high scores.
For example, if you have a high Klout score, you might enjoy:
What’s in it for businesses? Buzz: that valuable word-of-mouth advertising from people others listen to. Offering special treatment to social influencers means creating powerful brand advocates. For many companies, free products, all-expense-paid trips and invitations to exclusive events are small prices to pay.
Social influence measuring tools have limitations:
Social influence measurement feeds users’ egos and is a goldmine for marketers. As a result, it’s becoming a bigger part of the social media scene. More sites are jumping in, trying to improve upon Klout’s algorithm. And as long as there is a return in it, businesses will continue to woo influencers who have created a niche in which their content—and clout—spreads quickly.
Editor’s note: At Lightspan, we see influence scores as social indicators, but we are convinced they are more social games than true measures of influence. Do we pay attention to influence scores? Yes. Do we make big efforts to increase these scores? No. The scores are too easy to game through repeated mechanical actions, and as a result we discount them as true measures of influence. On the other hand we want all voices, opinions and ideas on our blog. So we welcome this post and any others on the topic. Just email Kate [at] lightspandigital.com with your guest post idea.
Jessica, thanks for the great post on influence, and for highlighting two of the key Kred differences - being our 2 part score, and our focus on communities and not topics.
Influence metrics like Kred of course tell only part of the story - and this is where agencies such as Lightspan come in - you make sense of it all.
One key difference with Kred is that we are totally transparent - not just in explaining exactly how we score at http://lc.tl/kr but also showing every transaction we process, and the score attributed in real time on everyone's profile (all 120 million of them on Kred).
We are the ONLY platform to provide this - and it means that while any online or offline network can be gamed by humans, with Kred you can see it being gamed and decide if the person gaming the system should be considered a true influencer.
Brand are telling me that they are becoming tired of paying celebrities to endorse products, and they dont ant to keep paying professional bloggers. What they do want to do is find the real and authentic influencers (such as you and I) and engage with them around their passions.
Thanks again for a great post.
AndrewGrill Thanks Andrew for taking the time to read the article and reply! At Lightspan, we definitely subscribe to having a more strategic, expert look at creating targets and going after the right audience, not just people with high "scores." As you're hearing from other brands, "influential" celebrities may not benefit the brand or company at all if there's no connection to the audience. We also focus on fostering community which really helps to create brand ambassadors.
AndrewGrill thanks for your comment! Would you be interested in doing a video Q&A on this? I'm particularly interested in "influence scores" as facilitars for brand-to-consumer relationships... relationships that wouldn't evolve otherwise. I think it would be a very appealing topic to many.