Klout was a social media tool that helped online influencers measure their influence in the virtual world. It was bought for $200 million by a company called Lithium in 2014. It targeted the most popular social media platforms such as twitter, instagram, linkedin and youtube and provided you with an influencer score. The higher the score, the more influential you were likely to be.
As of the 25th of May, Klout was retired. This co-incided with the timing of the new European Union, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. These came into force on the same date. So why did Lithium retire Klout?
It really boils down to return on investment. Lithium bought the people, intellectual property and the technology, to help them inprove their products. They specialise in creating products that improve your business customer service, via social media channels. Understanding the influence and pervasiveness of a brand, was crucial to their strategy, and Klout provided this service. This allowed Lithium to acquire talent and knowledge.
In addition, Klout does not provide an obvious or known revenue stream for Lithium, as it's a free tool. It's a similar problem that Facebook and Twitter had faced in the past, until they utilised advertising and promotion as a means of making revenues.
Finally GDPR is complex legislation with a heap of complexities associated with it. Let's provide some real examples using Klout:
Klout is used by millions of social media users around the world. A proportion of them live in the EU, which consists of 28 separate countries. That means Lithium would need to comply with the GDPR legisation. This would include some key investments in the Lithum business to comply with GDPR. Here are some examples:
The great news for social media influencers, like myself, is that there are 2 viable alternatives to Klout:
Kred appears to be better known and scores both influence and outreach using a publicly available algorithm. "Influence" measures the likelihood that someone will act upon the user's posts, and "Outreach" measures the user's tendency to share other people's content. Independent information around Kred is available here:
The way in which Kred scores a user can be seen the following screenshot which shows how it allocates the metrics for influence and outreach. This information is available when the user logs in and provides an audit trail of how the scores have been calculated:
Unfortunately I've not been able to log in to my Kred account. I wanted to check that these audit records are being created and validate that it provides transparency. I'm simply greeted with an OAUTH error every time I attempt to use my Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.
No response to emails but a very positive response via Twitter outlining to me and my fellow influencers, that they'll fix it in their new Kred 2.0 version to be released on 11 June 2018. Many of the influencers in the chat had similar error to myself. You can get check out the live chat here:
Another upside to Kred, is that there is open API integration into the platform. Which means third pary companies that wish to use the data, can do so. Here is a great example of how Kred is being used by Rise.Global to create social influencer charts. Unfortunately for me, my ranking was better with Klout than Kred:
Skorr although not as well known, really impressed me with the downloable Android app, that is a work of art in itself. Very easy to use. No problems with OAUTH or login and a few really awesome features in the app. My favourite is the chart which shows where you are in terms of score in relation to your fellow influencers. As you can see I have some catching up to do....
It also includes a really great FAQ that answers many of my questions, around how the app scores you. You can see the FAQ here:
I also really like the friendly introductory video on their site:
The only downside, seems to be from a developer perspective, as the APIs are not available for general use. This means it can't be used by 3rd parties. You could argue that is a good thing, if you don't want your score to be used autonomously in an app. Or a bad thing, if you want to see how you rate against other influencers in a 3rd party charting system. Overall I believe in open APIs, so I see this as a downside for the world of influencing.
Interesting in learning more about social media scoring, GDPR or cloud security, please feel free to check out my portfolio of cloud training courses at ALC Training:
And don't forget to follow my social media adventures on twitter:
1 - Find some talented Social Media performers by using Google or Twitter that are relevant to your areas of interest, e.g. #Cloud and follow them. Learn how they use social media.
2 - When starting out...keep all posts optimistic, open, engaging and fun. Negativity will scare off followers. Especially when you are starting out, as it's difficult to establish a following initially.
3 - Be patient. Growing followers takes a lot of time of energy. Articles and marketeers that brag about how they have tips to allow you to gain 10,000 followers are month are b*ll**it. Humans take time to trust others in face to face relationships involving hours of interactions. Social media provides at most a few minutes of interaction per day or even per week.
4 - Focus on gaining engaged followers. You want people to follow you who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer the word...otherwise it's false and all meaningless. You wouldn't blindly make friends with just anyone in a party...so why would social media be any different.
5 - Be yourself...or at least there is no need to be completely false. Sure we all have different personas for different things, I,e. Work, family, friends, music, etc... but stay true to who you are, what you believe in and what you stand for. Be yourself, be original and create your own unique voice in the world.
I've been drawn to becoming more skillful with social media platforms over the past 2 years. Mainly because I enjoy my social interactions online, but also because it gives me a unique window into the world we live in.
So what do I mean when I say 'unique window'.....well...we are living in an age that has been coined as 'disruptive'. A world where harnessing digital technologies is now giving smaller companies the leverage they need, to be able to compete with much larger companies. This phenomenon is best known as Digital Disruption. Smaller companies that displace larger and older companies is nothing new. We can see evidence of this throughout the history of time. But what is new, is that our technology is very adaptable, very agile, changes frequently but more importantly provides scale over people. The most potent example of this is social media. Below is a simple article showing the rise of social media:
In the old days ,I would startup a small business, let's say it is a martial arts school, and place a series of small adverts in the local paper. This would generate some initial interest and possibly generate 5 new members. I would augment this with a targeted flyer drop, let all my friends in the area know about the club and invite them to spread the word. If I'm lucky, after a few months of hard work I may have a class of 10 people. I then need to find a way of continually growing my members to boost my scale. This used to be achieved mainly through local paper placements and by ensuring I listed my business under 'Martial Arts' in the Yellow Pages. I found these to be most effective in helping growing numbers, coupled with word of mouth. The picture below, shows the Yellow Pages in action, prior to going online:
Today, things have changed dramatically. Yellow Pages as a big, thick directory, has been replaced with Google search engines, which in turn needs to link to a website and content showing my martial arts prowess. I would also use Facebook to target my local people, as a replacement for the local newspaper and ensure my profile is updated in LinkedIn. Twitter is a great platform for spreading my name across a global landscape, where I would also target locals. And then finally, I would need to target my established client base, through a series of newsletters sent via email, outlining the various activities they can do in the club. Things like competition days, gradings and special events or seminars.
But where is the next phase of social media marketing going.....well I believe that social media platforms are already disrupting our traditional broadcasting channels. First it was print, illustrated by the Yellow Pages directory and the local newspapers, now it's television, illustrated by the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Tomorrow, social media platforms are becoming channelised and highly interactive, offering a replacement for traditional television stations. We see this with YouTube channels, Twitter Lists / Periscope Video broadcasts and of course Facebook Live. Just look at the growth of Amazon Prime in the US over the past few years:
"The 2017 Academy Aware ratings were the lowest in nine years at 32.9 million viewers, down 4.4 percent from last year. Even the Super Bowl didn’t break any records despite the fact that it had all of the makings of a ratings blockbuster."
The business counter-action to this growing threat or disruption has been very slow...in fact it appears to have gone unnoticed by all the major television stations. Government channels such as SBS and ABC are ahead, in that they don't have adverts placements, they continually invest in securing great content, particularly in the areas of current affairs, technology, news and documentaries. Freeview is one of the most visual examples of how the Australian market has reacted to this disruption:
Whereas the commercial channels such as ten, seven and nine seem to be putting on more adverts, which last longer and help turn off their customers, who in turn switch to channels, such as Netflix with zero adverts for a small fee. I know...because I am one of them. Here is a great diagram that illustrates the comparative reach costs between traditional and social media channels. Remember this is reach, not actual engagement or lead generation, that's a different story:
So what is the moral of this story.....well I'm seeing all these trends because of my use and consumption of social media. The mainstream television stations say little about the latest disruptive technologies, such as distributed ledgers (#Blockchain), Artificial Intelligence (#AI) and social media advertising. Instead I'm seeing this awareness and coverage expand across many social media players. Mainly because I can choose how I interact with the services, but also because I can filter the services in any way I wish.
It will be interesting see the first casualty in this disruptive war...any bets on which channel may go out of business first?
Australia's TV 'Channel 10' share price over the past 5 years....
Paul Colmer is a digital coach for ALC training and consulting, with a real passion for learning and applying disruptive technologies. Paul has responsibility for building and delivering ALC's digital architecture strategy and the development and execution of a number of cloud courses, including Cloud Security (CCSP), Amazon AWS, DevOps, Microsoft Azure and Office 365.