Klout, PeerIndex, Kred and a few other social influence measurement platforms came on the marketing roughly 36 months ago. The goal of these platforms was lofty: measure the influence — and by that assumption, the value — of the web’s digerati. All of this drive to measure came to be on the wave influencer marketing that is still looking for a place to wash ashore.
But guess what, your Klout score doesn’t really matter.
Over the past couple of weeks, Martin Waxman has had a couple of features on SpinSucks, one of my daily blog reads. In those posts he’s explored how is Klout score is effected by simply upping or stopping his social posts. While this experiment is far from scientific, it proves a truth that I’ve long believed and seen on my own Klout and PeerIndex profiles: You can game your score simply by upping your activity.
So, if you can artificially inflate or crash your score by simply adjusting your activity is the platform really a measure of influence? Nope. It’s simply a measure of your activity levels.
All of these measurement platforms were born of an idea that there is some quick fix to measuring someone’s realm of influence. Marketing has made great strides in being able to quantify numerous elements of social media and web data in the past few years, so why not influence as well? The main problem with that assumption is that true influence is subjective, not objective.
There are any number of blogs and forums on the web where brilliant people are discussing trending topics that get no love from these platforms, but that are thriving nonetheless. To get a true sense of a person’s or content outlet’s authority on a subject you have to actually invest time and energy. Klout and other platforms can give you a good baseline to determine someone’s activity, but quantity ≠ quality. A case of Bud Light is OK, but a six pack of New Belgium’s 1554 is much better.
The real purpose behind this post is really to drive home the fact that there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to finding influencers. If you’re looking to launch a marketing campaign with an influencer network at its core, you’re going to have to put in the required leg work to really get to know the players in that network.
What do you think? Would you use Klout/PeerIndex/Kred as your Bible when it comes to selecting individuals for an influencer campaign?