Kloutism — the systemized use of social media influence scoring to discriminate.
This week Involver released a Facebook application that enables dynamic offers based on your Klout score. Klout offers Klout Perks, coupons and benefits based on your Klout score. The Palms hotel in Las Vegas is using your Klout score to offer up special amenities, and may even be a factor in whether or not you can get a reservation. There are also rumors of organizations using social media indexes to determine what level of service or support you receive.
Getting special treatment is nothing new, many companies have maintained customer value scores for years, but these scores were always heavily waited against actual sales. PR departments have also given special access to journalists, VIPs, celebrities and other influencers. The difference here is systems like Klout, Empire Avenue and more traditional social media measurement tools with APIs allow you to scale influence scoring to your entire customer base.
As a marketer, I love this. It is the missing piece in target marketing. I could always target by demographic, now I can target by influence. As a social media practitioner, with a moderate amount of influence, I love getting invited to Yelp VIP parties and sneak previews of new restaurants and the latest web startup.
But as a consumer, it deepens the divide of the have and have-nots. Social influence scores are not perfect. They are built on very limited data sets. Klout states that I am an expert on cookies. I like cookies, if someone offers me a free cookie, I won’t turn it away. But I wouldn’t consider myself anymore of an expert than any other slightly overweight geek.
Using social ranking also incents people to participate in gratuitous social media chatter. Will people start tweeting more about Las Vegas and hotels, just to raise the likelihood of getting an upgrade next time they visit the Palms? I’d love to see more social media participation, but I’m not sure we need more social media noise.
Now please excuse me while I go post about cookies.