With Red Bull as a launch partner, Klout has unveiled its latest feature, “Brand Squads.” Like most top social networks today, brand pages have become a must-implement feature, and Klout — a network that aggregates your presence across other networks — has joined its ranks. While the release of its own brand page is rather late in the game, it offers some interesting features, like incentives for the biggest fans, that we wouldn’t be surprised to see Facebook duplicate.
Klout tracks your social influence based on your social media profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ and YouTube. The platform tracks who you’re influencing, what topics you’re influential in, and gives you an overall score that identifies how much of an influencer you are in the social media space. A high Klout score is not an easy achievement, and the only user with a perfect Klout score of 100 is Justin Bieber.
Klout’s Brand Squads, on the other hand, are absent of Klout scores, instead focusing on the influcer’s engagement with the brand. When browsing through Red Bull’s Klout brand page, a list of the Top 10 and Top 100 Red Bull influencers feature the influencer’s profile pictures prominently on Red Bull’s overview page. The page can be drilled down to reveal the brand’s Top 1,000 influencers. What Klout has done cleverly is to incentive users in becoming individual brand ambassadors vying for a slot on the brand’s top influencer list.
In contrast, Facebook’s brand page experience is limited and leaves it up to brands to create their own campaigns. While the flexibility is essential, Klout sports a few features in its Brand Squads that we feel Facebook should take note of.
Yet there are some unresolved issues, too. While Klout has not officially revealed what data that goes into its ranking algorithm, it’s evident that Klout points weigh more heavily than Klout scores. That means users could potentially game the rankings.
We compared two users.
Both user garnered the same number of Klout points on Red Bull’s influencer list, but the user with a higher Klout score ranked lower than the user with the lower Klout score.
From this we can make an educated guess what the ranking algorithm looks like:
1. Number of Klout points
2. Number of times a user talks about Red Bull via their social media profiles
3. Klout score
Why game it at all? Brands can offer their top influencers “Perks.” After all, if the incentives are desirable enough, you can bet that there will be users looking to undermine the system.
According to Klout’s blog post, Red Bull’s perks just might be worth fighting for.
As part of this beta launch, Red Bull has offered Perks that will roll out to their top influencers over the next few weeks. If you’re one of Red Bull’s top advocates, they’ll keep you informed with a subscription to The Red Bulletin and make sure that you’ve had a chance to try their new Red Bull Total Zero by sending you a 4-Pack. The very top influencers will get some sweet merchandise or even a VIP Red Bull experience, like a behind-the-scenes look at the X-Games.
Accompanying the page to the right is the Red Bull’s latest Klout activity. While at the moment the “Latest Activity” feed (a nod to Facebook’s real-time feed), exclusively lists Klout-only activity, we’re hoping that Klout will realize the value of listing Red Bull’s own updates or its influencer’s mentions about Red Bull.
At the very bottom of the page lists the top Red Bull content, which in itself should be acknowledged as a crowd-sourced status update.
Klout ended its post revealing that further updates are in the works, and we’re excited to see how this will affect consumers and brands alike.
Let us know your thoughts about Klout’s Brand Squads in the comments below.