Palm-to-face moment. For sure.

27 Oct

This is the ultimate in no-nos. Klout, itself a social media website, is getting some major backlash for its recent changes to the website.

Klout is a website designed to analyze a social media users influence within their own brand upon the social media realm as a whole. Recently, there has been a change in algorithm (or whatever the heck it is they use, because transparency issues are no new concept to Klout) and it has resulted in fairly significant declines in Klout scores. Many social media savvy people monitor Klout on a regular basis to keep in touch with their own personal brand and how effective they are being in their efforts.

Considering how seriously users of Klout’s website are about social media, it should come as no surprise to anyone that this backlash is WIDE spread. Taking to Twitter, Facebook, Digg and any other avenue you can possibly dream of to complete flip out on Klout has been commonplace in the past few days. Upon reading about the issue, there were some interesting comments made from influencers:

“I have all metrics going up: Blog traffic is up, retweets are up, Facebook engagement is up, Followers up — Yet my score dropped 19 points today.” — PamMktgNut.

“I can handle a score change, but you should then also update the history statistics as anyone viewing my graphs will see a massive plummet with no explanation why it’s gone down hill so fast. If I was searching for a job in Social Media right now I’d be concerned.” — Richard Mackney.

“Klout scores are now used for job searches, employment mandates and a number of similar functions. The change impacts the job viability and even the ability for people to apply for certain jobs which have minimum Klout scores based on the prior metrics. Similarly, you have retroactively altered the history of our Klout scores as if they had always been this way, which has created a number of financial and employment hardships already this morning.

“I have clients who used Klout as a metric of their social media advertising success, and you have now made all of those willing to try this look like fools in front of their Boards when they reported the Klout scores along with PeerIndex, Twitter Grader and other related metrics this morning.” — Kalani Kirk Hausman

I think the most shocking part about the changes and what I have learned researching this issue is how much stake your Klout score has in modern-day job hunting. Who knew? I certainly didn’t! I wasn’t even aware of this website until I took this class!

Considering this is a social media site, my best advice to them prior to making these changes would have simple: let it be well-known this is going to take effect soon. Or even better yet, when exactly the changes were happening, why the changes were happening and how they changes were going to affect the user. Using their own website and social media outlets to bring their constituents very up to speed should have been a no-brainer but… didn’t seem to be. People are shocked and outraged and have no qualms about letting the world know.

In the sense of damage control, attempting to have conversations with their biggest complainers is going to be key. They need to listen and they need to respond to individual claims. It doesn’t matter if it is time-consuming (though I am not saying each and every one needs to be addressed-get a trusted adviser to pick and choose the most important to answer), conversation needs to happen and it needs to happen now. Show Klout users you are listening and are adaptable.

Another step that needs to be taken is to straight up let users know how things work and why they work the way they do. As of yesterday, Klout was still mum, and it just made people even more red in the face.

After engaging with consumers and becoming more transparent, make a promise to remain transparent. Make the promise to do it consistently and with fair warning. Don’t do it via creepy video response. Use your social media.

The best advice I have? Stick with your promises after they are made. Easier said than done of course, but ideal.



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