How To Use Klout For Business, 7 Examples

by Jason Keath on May 13, 2011

Klout logoKlout measures influence. But why is this useful for a business?

For brands committed to spending a lot of resources and time in social media, intelligence becomes a big piece of the puzzle.

Knowing you are spending your time wisely and efficiently goes a long way. It helps you commit your resources the tools, tactics, and strategies that really produce results.

When we think about influence, many marketers think of it in one way: How can they find influential social networking users to help them promote links and brand messages to their networks?

Klout’s Expanding Social Integration

Integration of Klout data, at the time of this writing, is up to 2150 API developers/partners. That is over 2,000 services, tools, and companies pulling in Klout data to help add intelligence to their social interactions. These API users include companies like Radian6, Hootsuite, and Huffington Post.

The ways in which marketers and businesses use Klout’s data is getting increasingly creative. Let’s take a closer look at how this data is being used today.

1. Community Intelligence

Cotweet and Hootsuite Klout Use

Interacting with brand stakeholders through social networking dashboards is becoming a much more informed relationship. We are talking context. Social media dashboard powerhouses like Cotweet and Hootsuite both build in Klout scores into profile information. You can also now embed this same feature on Twitter.com through a Klout for Chrome browser app.

Social media monitoring services such as Radian6 and Tap11 also build in Klout scores throughout their listening software.

Community managers add another level of intelligence to their tool set with Klout integration. When deciding how to interact with stakeholders on Twitter, Facebook and throughout the social web, more information makes for better decisions and smarter relationship building.

2. Customer Upgrades

Las Vegas Palms Hotel and Casino

The Las Vegas Palms Hotel and Casino launched an influencer reward program in the Fall of 2010 called The Klout Klub. during registration The Palms might upgrade high Klout score patron to a suite like the one pictured above. The same way they might upgrade a high roller or a loyalty customer. For that reason above, I think we all need to be working on our retweetability.

3. Special Event Invites

Klout Event Invites

Getting the right invite list together for an exclusive event is always a challenge. PR disruptor Peter Shankman used Klout to help invite some people to his Christmas Party in 2010 (disclosure: Shankman is a friend and I was at the event).

At least one blogger gave Shankman a hard time at the event, calling it snobbish and exclusionary (my words, not his). As someone who has written positively about Klout I was happy to hear how Peter described this negative response at the event.

“You are not here because of your Klout score, you are here because you are passionate about something.”
- Peter Shankman

Virgin America has also used Klout scores to find and invite influencers to the Virgin America Toronto Launch Event last year. They flew qualifying influencers on their new San Francisco and LA roundtrip legs, to the Toronto event. With free flight wi-fi to boot. Even Klout itself uses their own algorithm to fill their party guest lists at industry events like Blogworld and SXSW.

4. Product Preview

Klout Perks

The Virgin America flight could easily be classified as a product preview considering flights are what Virgin wants to sell and they wanted to get awareness out for these new destinations. Other companies have tried to get a new product in front of influencers use Klout’s reward program, Klout Perks.

Popchips, who has made a lot of social media investments recently, sends out free “snackpack” samples of their chips to influencers as they expand to new cities. In addition they allow the influencers in these cities to pick up to 5 of their friends to send the same sample pack to.

Lonestar, a short-lived Fox TV series, sent out viewing party packages to various influencers leading up to the series launch. It included “cocktail napkins, 4 plastic wine glasses, 4 plastic beer mugs, plastic ice bucket, soft cooler, bottle opener, corkscrew, 2 posters, tub of popcorn, t-shirt, 2 show posters and a DVD of the pilot of the show. All branded with the Lone Star name.”

5. Customer Service processing/sorting

Klout Call Center

We know from Klout that some of the companies using the data in their API are call centers. Is it your cell phone company’s customer service call center? Maybe. So far, no brands have publicly announced that they use this sort of data, but I have it on good authority that some big brand names integrate this information.

Klout can be an extra data point for call centers to, again, add intelligence to the processing of the calls they receive. For example, customers calling it with high Klout scores might get a shorter wait time. Or maybe high Klout score customers get routed to a different set of customer service responders entirely, employees that are tech and social media savvy.

6. Email Insights

Klout Email, Edward Boches

Email is where a lot of community management, lead generation, business development, hiring and sales truly happen online. Where one on one longer from conversations can take place. Klout can add great intelligence to these conversations.

Email service providers such as Exact Target have integrated Klout data into their services. Another email provider, Mailchimp, has Klout scores listed in email user profiles. Services like Flowtown and Rapleaf also include Klout data in the insights they offer businesses based on their email databases.

Another interesting email use of Klout data is the Rapportive Kloutlet (see above). Rapportive builds in social and other data into the sidebar of your Gmail, including a person’s Klout score.

7. Blogger Outreach and Topic Influencers

Calvin Lee Klout Topic Influencer Huffington Post

Browsing influencers by topic is one of the real untapped opportunities of Klout. Saying someone has a high potential for influence is nice and as Shankman said tells us they are passionate about something. But if we know who is the most passionate about snow skiing or cooking or New York City, we have much more relevance.

Services like Blogdash, who connects companies with data on bloggers and blogger topics, integrate Klout scores as an important data point. Monitoring service Simply Measured includes Klout data so you can find influencer data on a certain hashtag or Facebook page fans.

Klout, especially when associated with a topic becomes a powerful research metric.

The Huffington Post integrates a “Top Influencers On This Topic” widget in the footer of every article now. It takes the topic from the article and lists a handful of influencers that you can get more information on.

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How are you using Klout?

Image sources: iStock Photo, Foodjunkiechronicles.com, BloggingPRweb.com, Rachel-Levy.comblog.joesterne.com

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Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • http://fbml-templates.net Tim Soulo

    Wooooow, Jason, that’s a really great post on Klout implementation. With the very recent update this nice tool got even more powerful and it’s no suprise that everyone tries to leverage it for their own business.

    Here is a quick tip from me on using Klout:

    Once you publish a post, or there’s some piece of content that needs to be shared, you might just tweet it asking your followers for a retweet. What I suggest is to run ALL your followers through Klout and determine the most powerful influencers among your followers.

    Now, you can send them a short DM asking to help you promote this piece of content. And there’s nothing spammy about this. By following you – they show that they care about you, and they automatically grant you a privilege of sending Direct Messages to them. So it’s totally natural to determine influencers among your followers and ask them for a tiny piece of help. (instead of sending DMs to all of your followers)

  • http://twitter.com/meganberry Megan Berry

     Hey Jason,

    This is awesome — you’ve done a great job at highlighting some of the top uses of Klout. We’ll definitely be sharing this :) 

    -Megan 
    Marketing Manager, Klout
    @meganberry:twitter 

  • http://www.dayngrzone.com/ Dayngr

    Jason, Really informative article about how businesses are leveraging Klout. I was especially intrigued by the thought of call centers using Klout to measure the influence of someone calling in. Can you imagine? I’m endlessly fascinated by the examples you’ve shared and the possibilities!

    Thanks for the mention too. :)

    Trish @Dayngr 
    Community Manager | Radian6

  • http://twitter.com/MargaretMolloy Margaret Molloy

      Jason: Great article. One to watch for sure.

  • Anonymous

     Thanks for the info. The Klout integration with email list services is especially interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/ItsKatherineC Katherine Chan

    Great article. I just added the Klout extension for Chrome so the scores are very in-your-face in the Twitter stream. It’s definitely changing how I respond to tweets. Very curious to see how influence measurement translating into offline changes progresses

    https://twitter.com/#!/ItsKatherineC

  • http://twitter.com/ItsKatherineC Katherine Chan

    Great article. I just added the Klout extension for Chrome so the scores are very in-your-face in the Twitter stream. It’s definitely changing how I respond to tweets. Very curious to see how influence measurement translating into offline changes progresses

    https://twitter.com/#!/ItsKatherineC

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    It is indeed in your face. How do you think it is changing how you respond? 

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    That has been one of my favorite things as well. We spend a lot of time in email. It is an important place to add context and intelligence.

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    Thanks Margaret. Let us know if you end up using Klout data in your day to day. 

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

     Yes, it is very fascinating. The call center example drawl my attention too. I really want to get someone on the record for that one. 

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    Thanks @twitter-15814841:disqus . Let me know where you share it. I hope it helps people realize the breadth of possibilities where Klout data can be useful.  . Let me know where you share it. I hope it helps people realize the breadth of possibilities where Klout data can be useful. 

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

     Klout can add intelligence in many places. It can be one of many ways to help you decide who to target to help promote brand messaging, but that is a very tough relationship equation. Very important to ensure they are getting plenty of value from you as well.

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  • http://flavors.me/40deuce 40deuce

     Do I think Klout is a be all and end all metric? No. Do I think that Klout can be super handy to some businesses and have awesome implications for social media users (like the ones you listed above)? Yes.
    I think that Klout is a good tool for helping some people find people of interest that may go with their brand. Do I think it’s super accurate in being able to say these people have actual influence? No, but if you get the right people talking about the right things, magic can always happen.
    I really like the Klout people and the work their doing and these are some great examples of how the service can be used.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos (http://sysomos.com)

  • http://investinsocial.com Jason Keath

    Agreed Sheldon. It is a complex problem. Klout is an imperfect solution. But I think it is a very powerful set of data that can be used well by smart marketers. Many will overcommit to it and treat it as an end all be all solution to some of their marketing and business solutions. That always happens in all marketing. 

    Thanks for reading as always.

  • http://twitter.com/bntsports Brian Towne

     Very cool stuff…and it poses viable authenticity questions.  My klout score tumbled from 40 to 31 in a matter of 2 days…what makes that happen?

  • http://www.twitter.com/jbledsoejr jbledsoejr

    Nice…thanks to your comment I just added the Chrome extension as well.  In response to Jason below I’m not sure how it will change how I respond…when viewing Klout scores in Hootsuite I like to look at the Klout scores that are 10-15 points higher than mine and see how I differ from what they are doing.  I imagine I’ll use it the same here.

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