Everyone has their own opinion of Klout, and even though they’ve taken some hard hits along the way their brand has proven to be relatively resilient. After all, you don’t have to like Klout for their service to be a worthwhile success; you have to like the brands they connect you with.
I personally love Klout as a service. I know many people that don’t, but in my mind that means they take the score too seriously. If you go to Klout and all you see is your score, you aren’t looking very hard. My favorite part of Klout (and arguably the most relevant feature for me, as an influencer) is the perks page. I never understood picking apart every detail of a platform or application. I am a drafter by profession, and was told in school that even the best AutoCAD technicians will only use 30 percent of its capabilities. I’ve always used the parts of a platform that I found value in and understood, and simply ignored the parts that didn’t offer me anything, or the parts I didn’t care to learn about.
Klout doesn’t require me to like their brand to be eligible for perks either. They match me with the perks that are related to the topics I influence, so I’m usually eligible for technology perks, design perks, etc. So which Perks were my favorites, and which ones got the businesses more bang for their buck?
Valuable Perks – Wow, what a gift!
So far the most relevant and probably the most valuable perk I’ve received is a free full copy of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X4. It’s a little underpowered for the kind of design and re-touching work I do, but it has proved to be a valuable time saver when I am looking for easier ways to do complex edits. Even though the Paint Shop program was the most valuable in dollars and cents, I have only tweeted about it once and the actual product I received was a product key (a digital item). I will likely try to support Paint Shop more in the future if they cross the news because I appreciate the swag. Like the Red Bull perk, I feel like I’m sponsored by Corel now. Like a Nascar driver or something, I wear the red bull hat when I’m doing interviews in the winner’s circle.
Useful Perks – Who wouldn’t want this?
My favorite Perk as far as social media goes was the 25$ gift card I received from Shop Small. The gift cards were pretty much American Express pre-loaded debit cards with 25$, but Shop Small asked that you spend them at local small businesses. I was ecstatic about getting a chance to support businesses here in Eastern KY, and started a small campaign to find a local small business owner to advertise during the holidays. Even though I have a decent level of regional influence, the small amount of small business in the area made it hard to find someone to work with. I ended up using my gift card at Readmore Bookstore on some magazines. I was disappointed that Eastern Kentucky businesses have so little Social Media in place that none of them took advantage of my campaign.
Cheap but cool, the sweet spot for advertisers
These perks were great for me, but I can imagine that the cost is prohibitive for lots of businesses. The latest two perks however are made for Klout in my opinion. The first was two pencils, the Blackwing Palomino and the Blackwing 602. They’re premium pencils, costing about 50 cents apiece when you buy them, but writers were paying $20 for the 602 a few years ago on eBay. I wasn’t terribly excited about the perk until I received it. The pencils were packaged in a nice packaging that included a wax stamp, a vintage tag, velour baggy, a gold stamp, and a fancy box. The merchandise included the two pencils, a pack of replacement erasers, and a special sharpener that sharpens the wood and the lead separately.
It is relatively cheap merchandise, but I truly got the feeling of receiving an upscale item of importance. It was all in the packaging, the legend of the Blackwing, and the limited 602 release. The pencils are pretty cool and designed well, but ultimately they are just pencils. 50 cents is within my price range for writing instruments though, so Blackwing has likely made a lifelong customer of me, a civil engineering technician who numbers among the small percentage of people still using pencils everyday on the job. I kept the 602 for myself, and gave the Palomino to the other project manager.
The last perk I received was the “Person of Interest Screen Wipe”. I expected a small rag like is included with iPhones and cameras, but instead this had a sticky surface on one side (it doesn’t leave any residue in case you’re wondering) so you could attach it to a device. The other side was micro fiber, and did an acceptable job of cleaning the prints off of my iPod screen. The screen wipe is designed to be used about 10 times, until the sticky surface doesn’t stick anymore, and then disposed of. This is a very cheap item, probably costing just a few cents when made in bulk.
Do you ever notice how your friends ask about your phone case or your phone when they see you take a call or pull it out to check the time? Well, this little thing arouses even more interest than your average accessory, and I’ve had to explain the story of how I got it in detail at least 10 times (my iPod rarely gets saw by anyone else, so it has been pretty much every time it has been pulled out of my pocket in the last 3 weeks). I may not ever watch the show on CBS, but I’d have never even heard of it if it hadn’t been for Klout. I can’t say if any of the people who were exposed to my screen wipe will watch, but it will no doubt cause some déjà vu when they see a commercial or are tuned it at the beginning of the show.
Future Perks – For Better or Worse?
As companies get data from their Klout campaigns, we will likely see more of these massive campaigns delivering smaller items. Hopefully there will still be some nicer, more expensive items for me to claim as well! Either way I have never been turned down by a girl or employer because of a low Klout score, and I don’t care too much about yours either. Since your tirade about how Klout invades people’s privacy didn’t create a mass exodus, you might as well reactivate your account and get some free pencils and screen wipes (and Moo business cards. That was another Perk that will likely lead to continued business on my part).
Keep in mind, Klout is still in Beta. Companies are still trying to figure out the best way to market through their list of influencers, and Klout is still trying to figure out how to best score users. Remember that the average user score is approximately 25 and your score of 50 says you’re pretty darn influential. If your score is lower than you think it should be, ask yourself why that is. A possible reason is because you aren’t as influential on Twitter as you are in your own mind. Another possible reason is because Klout is just a number that represents the data that is available.
We all know people who are much more influential than their Klout score would indicate. There are forums where the most popular users rival the influence of social media addicts I know with Klout scores of 80. There are even some tech pundits who are super influential, but somehow fall behind users who are extremely active (but exert little influence). When asked about what they think about that, most of those people will tell you “It’s just a number; I’m not going to lose sleep over something that has no bearing on anything besides my ego”. Maybe it’s that ecclesiastical wisdom that made them influential in the first place?