Klout, the app that attempts to measure your social media influence, just launched a new version.
The new Klout goes beyond just giving you a score and rewarding with “perks” (i.e, discounts and small freebies) for activity. The new focus is on content — and sharing it.
In an announcement on the official Klout blog, Sanjay Desai, Chief Product Officer, wrote:
“People always ask us, ‘How can I raise my Klout Score?’ While the math is complicated, the answer is simple: create great content. That said, we all know how hard it can be to consistently share stuff that your friends and followers react to (trust me, it gets even harder with a couple of kids in tow.)”
To address that point, Klout now offers a content stream. It displays articles that are trending in popularity or are interest-based. Snippets appear right in the Klout dashboard:
You can share the content without leaving Klout (of course, you have to leave to read the full article you’re sharing first!). You scroll through the content stream and click the share button next to an item.
If you are not ready to share immediately, you can schedule a tweet to go out later. A little calendar pops up to schedule it:
Nice But ….
The new Klout (or #newKlout as it is being called on Twitter) is a mixed bag.
It is definitely nice looking. The design is updated, fresh and clean.
And it’s got more to offer users. The new Klout’s focus on content sharing delivers more of the “what’s in it for me.”
Klout needed to become more than an ego-scoring service measuring social media clout. It was fun to see your Klout score at first – but only for a short while. Soon the novelty wore off. And it’s frankly demotivating for people who are new to social media. Seeing a low score may motivate some, but for others it puts them off using Klout, especially if they don’t have much time to spend online. They figure their scores will never get higher.
However, I can’t shake the feeling that Klout’s new content-sharing comes too late to the market. Other sharing apps, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, have already become entrenched – certainly among business users. Hootsuite, for example, has 8+ million users. Other sharing apps offer more features and functionality.
Klout “Perks,” where users with high Klout scores earn discounts and freebies, are still around. There’s a certain novelty to earning a $5 McDonald’s coupon. But is that kind of reward worth spending a lot of time at Klout to earn? I see plenty of tweets about Perks, but it’s hard to imagine any long-term appeal to small business owners. Most of us have limited free time, and what little we have could be better used in other ways.
Another issue is that all the content feeds are big media publications. That means the big keep getting bigger. It doesn’t leave much room for independent bloggers or smaller news sites to get their content shared. Klout needs to diversify and expand its content sources.
Some established Klout features seem to be missing in the new version. Users are complaining on the Klout blog about not being able to find the friends list and the questions section, among other things. Klout says they were “temporarily shelved” and will be back eventually.
The company’s announcement also says more content sharing tools will be coming later.
I thought the new layout was too sparse (many of the links are grey text on a white background and feel washed out). As for the premise, I think they’ll face a tough battle to change people’s perception about what they do. I loved the perks and would check my score occasionally, but going there for content? I use Twitter as my main content source and Google+ as a secondary. This is a tough sell for me.
Hi Robert, yes, that’s another good point. People just aren’t going to think of Klout as a place to find and share content.
It just doesn’t add enough to make it worth going back to again and again.
Excellent post, Anita, as always. I appreciate your insights on this because I’ve pondered how to make it a more meaningful service, WIIFM-wise, and there’s definitely something to Robert’s comment, too. I guess they could eventually integrate those streams in a way that HootSuite does not — but I can’t think of any.
I can imagine internal meetings at Klout where they are brainstorming and trying to come up with a stronger value proposition.
I hope they tinker around and get it right. I’m just not sure they can.
It strikes me that Klout might be a perfect candidate to be acquired by some other social app. You know, combine existing customer bases, and have more to offer when combined with another app.
Klout puts heavy weight on Facebook interactions, cares little about your Google+ activity. Alas, the only person in my family who still has a Facebook account is my dog. Social networking prowess has surprisingly little correlation with real world influence. Some of the world’s most powerful catalysts don’t have any social media accounts.
I totally agree with this statement:
“Some of the world’s most powerful catalysts don’t have any social media accounts.”
Stephen G. Barr, Group Publisher
Thanks Anita….to be honest with you I had forgotten all about Klout. I was on it daily when it first came out but have been using Kred to measure my scores and neither seems to be all that accurate but I will take a second look but agree with you that Buffer is entrenched in the delayed sharing market.
Buffer has done an outstanding job, and a lot of it seems to be through grassroots outreach. It’s impressive.
And of course, Hootsuite seems to have a first mover type of advantage. They were in very early, and kept investing in their product.
Maybe an app or widget that shows your Klout score or social media influence is enough to feed people’s egos.
It does have a bit of novelty to have a score. And I’m sure some will find that enough.
But I would say that within the small business market that kind of interest will be short-lived most of the time.
I agree Anita, that late to the party when people are already entrenched is a liability, as well as I just don’t need a clout score to give me a reading on my engagement. I can see that for myself. At this point there are so many apps and social media sites that being more focused on a few and not too many is better. There’s duplication and overlap on many.
Yes! That’s part of my thinking that Klout might be a good acquisition candidate.
We will see consolidation in this space. I think we’re already seeing it.
For example, about a year ago there was a big trend in email marketing companies buying up social media apps. And there’s a lot of overlap with CRM apps, too, and we’ve seen some consolidation there as well.
Interesting comments here, Anita. Who would want to acquire Klout? Microsoft already invested in Klout in 2012, and Klout is tightly aligned with Microsoft’s Yammer.
Hi Kirsten, I’m not sure offhand. Maybe Microsoft? Perhaps it would be a good complement to Yammer. 🙂
BTW, Anita — would love to hear your take on our team’s analysis of Apple’s iBeacon. Who do you think will win the beacon wars? See: http://www.reinventioninc.com/will-apple-ibeacon-win-the-beacon-wars.
Anita I’d love to get your thoughts on our service at ZootRock – we provide content curation but offer more options and sophistication than Klout. I’d be happy to talk with you further and detail our differences.
As for seeing Buffer and Hootsuite as a substitute for content curation tools, while Buffer now provides very limited suggestions for content to share, like Klout it doesn’t really put the power in the hands of the user as to the type of content they would like to share and the amount o items they would like each day. I’ve also heard through the grapevine Buffer isn’t really interested in developing this feature further.
ZootRock has been delighting its customers by giving them the control over the type of content to share specific to their brand, either in self service mode or via our Concierge service where we learn about your business and set you up to source the best content that is appropriate for your brand.
Thanks, Audrey, I hadn’t heard of ZootRock before, but now that you’ve brought it to my attention I will take a look. 🙂
Hi Anita – looks like you may have started the interest for acquiring Klout!
Hi Ray, well, I’m not sure I started it – LOL!
But it seems obvious to me that Klout would have more value if attached to some other app. Thanks for letting me know.
Ivana S Taylor
I’m a little late to this comment stream, but that’s because I really was trying to “get” it myself. I am one of those people who “was so over” Klout and then when this new format came out I was very frustrated about having to share content that THEY PUT UP THERE.
I’m with you Anita – I wanted to share content from my small business expert community. Quite frankly, I find big media articles entirely too general.
HIP HIP HOORAY for small business content — like on SmallBizTrends – better than big media on small business.