As part of The Drum’s second social media supplement, Ishbel Macleod caught up with a cross-section of the sector to discuss their views on key issues. Here, we asked what role tools such as Klout and PeerIndex should play in a social strategy.
Steve Cater, head of digital, whynot!
No role. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great tools and it’s fun to check in from time to time to see what my personal Klout score is. There’s more important things to consider when creating a social strategy. Of utmost importance is simplicity. At whynot! we believe that the best strategies are built on a clear insight and are focused. That ensures that everyone is working together and progress against key objectives is tracked. Klout and Peer Index provide the tactical tools that might be needed to activate a social strategy that includes an influencer programme. At a tactical level they’re both best in class.
Xavi Izaguirre, social media director, Total Media
Social influencer sites like Klout and Peerindex should not be used as a cornerstone of your social strategy. As much as I appreciate the smart use of big data – and there is, without a shadow of a doubt, a lot of smart data behind Klout and Peerindex – influencer relations is the one thing we cannot leave in hands of algorithms.
Klout and Peerindex are interesting tools to measure the reach (but not necessary the influence) of different social media personalities and it’s always useful to benchmark a human-curated list. However relevance and brand affinity are essential in influencer relations, and to date, no algorithm has been produced that can factor in these important elements.
Kristin Brewe, director of marketing and communications, IAB
If you’re trying to find key influencers, Klout and PeerIndex are absolutely essential in identifying those who may help transmit your message. This is particularly important if you’re doing public relations activities or social seeding. That being said, brands shouldn’t forget the value of the silent viewer-- the person who looks at content and occasionally shares things that delight them, but wouldn’t necessarily appear on Klout or PeerIndex. That’s the vast majority of consumers as well. Our recent research underscored the tremendous importance of viewing behaviour in social media activity. Influencers can help you get more views, but creating content that appeals only to influencers could alienate that silent viewer if these two groups are not attitudinally aligned, so as is always the case with communications, I’d be mindful of who your ultimate audience is when creating content and planning its distribution.
Pete Durant, social media director, Manning Gottlieb OMD
Although we never solely use these tools in any influencer outreach, they can usefully assess potential bloggers, writers or sites that you may want to use. We look at other signs such as page rank, size of communities, interactions on site and in social networks and volume, among other things. The most important thing - that tools like Klout do not provide - is a level of qualitative research that should always be done to assess the appropriateness of any influential partner; do they fit brand? Are their posts of high quality? Do they work with your competitors? Essentially, no one tool in all of social alone is enough to create an in-depth picture.
Iona St Joseph, social media account manager, A social media agency
Sites such as Klout and Peer Index can be very useful for determining influencers, which is obviously handy for those looking to use influencers in targeted campaigns. However, as with many other social media management tools, it's important to use these as a guide and not take their information and results and gospel. If you are creating a social media strategy, sites such as Klout and Peer Index are handy for being able to determine relevant influencers within your sector, however I think they'll be used more as sites you'll check now and again, as opposed to something that you'll need to be using every day.
Wayne St Amand, executive VP of global marketing, Crimson Hexagon
Influence scoring systems like Klout help companies target the individuals who will have the highest return on your engagement efforts, and by adopting an influence system, brands can know from the get-go which social media users are most important to a given campaign – therefore ensuring financial commitments and employees efforts are focused. At Crimson Hexagon, we understand the importance influence scores hold, and have developed a partnership to integrate Klout into our ForSight platform. Companies are beginning to realise that influence scoring play a unique role when looking at social strategy, and by directly connecting brands with influencers, they hold the capacity to accurately identify a person’s ability to drive action.
This Q&A is part of our social media supplement, out on 2 August.