In an official blog post, Klout has announced that it is open for business(es). According to the announcement, “Businesses will be able to look at an easy-to-read dashboard that tells you, at-a-glance, whether you are engaging your influencers on the networks where they are most actively exerting their influence and on which Klout Score ranges you could stand to amp up your efforts. Most importantly, Klout can tell you which topics your audience influences others on, helping you maximize your content efforts to drive consideration for your brand.”
The new dashboard is not yet available. Businesses interested in participating will need to go to Klout for Business and sign up and then wait for more information. The announcement refers to an initial complimentary set of analytics, which implies that Klout is taking a page from Appinions and will be offering businesses with a permium set of analytics and information.
This screenshot from Klout indicates that businesses will be able to view metrics on their social network audience, information on the effectiveness of their online activity, top topics and moments.
As a personal influence measurement, Klout has improved by leaps and bounds. As Mark Schaefer, one of the experts on social influence, points out, it’s time that we move beyond the debate over the merits of social influence measureing. Individuals, and now businesses, need to “take a clear-headed look at the real dynamics of online influence and the implications for you, your brand, and your business, and make an informed decision.”
Therefore, this new product from Klout should be looked on with excitement and interest. If Klout is able to provide a barometer for your business influence online, and provide meaningful metrics for how that influence is or isn’t working, that should be viewed as a benefit.
If you haven’t used Klout at all before, the service aims to analyze someone’s online activity and connections and produce a real-time score and metrics. Klout can look at your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social network accounts, as well as key indicators like a Wikipedia entry, and see not only how many “followers” you have, but how those followers are engaging with you. Are your tweets retweeted or your Google+ posts shared and commented on? The theory is that the more interaction and engagement your activity generates, the more influential you must be.
There will surely be Klout and influence measurement-haters who think this is yet another scheme to change our perceptions of brands, or whatever other inane argument they want to make. They’re welcome to their opinions. My clients and I, in the meantime, will be looking for any advantage we can gain from the information Klout has to offer.