The verdict on my inaugural Klout perk experience is: “still a few bugs in the system.” For those of you blessedly ignorant of social media, and by extension social media rankings, let me explain Klout before moving on to perks. By mapping your participation in social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), Klout seeks to tease out what kind of impact you have.
It’s obviously more interesting for social media professionals (which strange construction we’ll rush hurriedly past) than for people who use social media to be, you know, social: “What kind of impact are my cat pictures having?!” is not something that no one has said, ever, but let’s hope it’s rare. Now, depending on your Klout ranking, you can get perks: freebies, meet-up invitations, and so forth, based on the fond hope that if you like it, you’ll take to the social medias to say so.
Perhaps because this kind of thing is still in its infancy, the perks are a bit chancy. I don’t know what would make, for instance, a nail polish company think I am interested in trying out their “mirror metallics,” but I was offered a free sample. That flies in the face of the relevancy that social media is supposed to provide. However, Klout does say, without explanation, that I am an expert on “Giants,” besides the more on-target “Seattle,” “Parks,” and “Cougar Town.” Is it because I loved this? I couldn’t tell you.
Much more up my alley was the perk about a Chevrolet Volt making a guest appearance at Sole Repair on Capitol Hill. There, the targeting is laser-like: A quick search of The SunBreak reveals my interest in electric cars, and I live on Capitol Hill. BLAMMO!
I RSVP’d (thereby earning a Perk Achievement–time to clock out for the day), and was emailed two handy reminders, one the day of the event.
At Sole Repair, though, the person at the door couldn’t find me on her list. It didn’t seem to be a problem–she simply filled in my name tag for me, handed me an invitation to visit Burien for a test drive (people with higher Klout scores were offered the chance to schedule a test-drive in Seattle), and let me go mingle. On the wall, a flatscreen was tuned to Twitter and the #VoltKloutSEA hashtag. People were standing around enjoying the open bar (beer and wine) and hors d’oeuvres, which made sense since quite a few were foodies.
There was a Volt parked outside not being test-driven, though that may have been wise given the open bar. At about 7:15 p.m. (the event started at 6 p.m.), a raffle began, which led to my discovering that I hadn’t been given a raffle ticket. (NB: Raffles are less interesting when you don’t stand a chance of winning.) I had a chicken croquette and a chocolate and chatted with friends back from a month in Vancouver, B.C. At 7:30 p.m., I left for another event, nonplussed.
What was I supposed to say about the Volt? I had learned next to nothing, and taking a trip to Burien (an hour’s drive, roundtrip) felt excessive given that one was parked outside. Scanning Twitter I saw someone had already taken “I like the color!” Back to the tweeting board.
One of the stranger things about the social media space is the question of whether to introduce yourself or not. After all, your profile usually gives the game away (on Twitter I’m “Editor of The SunBreak, an online magazine in Seattle”). When people invite you to an event, you assume they know that. So I was surprised that not a single Klout or Chevy Volt representative said hello. Much as I love free beer, I was really there in the hope of getting a story out of it. If you knew a magazine editor was attending your social media event, wouldn’t you pitch them a little?
Or is that hopelessly old-school? Is the main thing simply to have an influencer tweet: “I like the Volt”? (Just yesterday I was reading that 71 percent of tweets are ignored, which is not say that 29 percent are influential.)