Is Klout-Score Marketing the Path of Least Resistance?*

Written by: Scott Bauman on Friday, March 23, 2012 | 2 Comments 

Courtesy likeablerodent

Just read through “The Rise of Digital Influence” by Brian Solis, and we all owe him thanks for his thoughtful review of digital influence, especially his inventory of vendors in the ecosystem today. But, Brian, I remain skeptical and I’m wondering whether that’s intentional. Let me explain.

To be frank, I’m coming at this with bias. I’m not convinced that Klout, Kred and others mentioned in the guide have a sound methodology (they might, but I just haven’t seen it firsthand). But that’s only part of my issue. I’m also troubled by something that Brian captures quite well in a quote from Danah Boyd: “When sociologists measure social capital, they do so from a distance precisely because people will try to game the system.” I believe that gaming is taking place in several ways, both intentionally (I want to be a guru and recognition/things) and unintentionally (I just want to get things) – and neither is really good for brands in the long run. Scores, badges and the like don’t necessarily equate to influence or, most important, loyalty.

This is why I believe that digital influence measurement is harder – and more time-consuming – than many realize. And I’m concerned that oversimplifying it into a simple score will undermine efforts to do the hard work that will always be necessary. The not-so-old-fashioned way of following the paths of influence, what David Armano calls “influence ripples” (referred to as “ripples of reverberation” in the piece), is hard, but at our agency we believe strongly that brands can be so distracted by what they “think” is the head that they miss the long tail that is curling around them (yes, I went there). Read more…