Working at a global agency and for big ‘ol brands, I can tell you this: in the real world, your online influencer rating will probably get you some sort of special treatment or a one-off sursey (that’s Southern for “free, unexpected gift”) every now-and-again. Apart from that, as you might have guessed, your Klout or Kred score isn’t worth much – if anything. And, as you also know, when it comes right down to it, brands engage in social because they wanna sell more stuff. That’s where all marketing and communications paths lead.
So when it comes to influence, I want to know how one person influenced another person to actually make a purchase. That’s the influence that I care about. Crack that nut and you’re on to something.
Using things that exist on the World Wide Web today, here’s a thought: The Klouts and Kreds need to hook up with the places where people leave recommendations or are actively making a purchase. Think Amazon or even something like OpenTable. Because these people are already raising their hand and actively participating to let others know their actions and opinions. So when they leave a rating or review – or make a purchase or a reservation – why not give them a field to “give credit” to the person that influenced them to make that purchase? This could be done by simply entering that person’s twitter account.
Yes, I realize that this is flawed idea. Because people aren’t going to volunteer their buddy’s twitter handle for fear a brand will spam them. That’s valid. But maybe by signing up for Klout you give permission – or even opt-in to a program- to contact that individual. Then people could really be rated on their true influence as it correlates to purchases. Because, while it’s nice for someone with 10,000 followers to tweet about my brand, I’d rather know about the guy who has 75 followers but his recommendation (online or off) led to people buying my stuff. That’s a person I’d want to engage.
It could work with anyone from Yelp to Amazon to TripAdvisor to Target’s website…and maybe has the potential to open up a whole new world.
Again, I know it’s flawed. But it might be a place to start. And if you do build on it and make millions, I have some requests.