Klout for Business beta helps CIRA track social media success

As a communications manager for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Mark Buell has been spending a lot of time on Twitter – but now he’s second-guessing if that’s really been as worthwhile as he expected.

He’s been doing what you might expect the Twitter account of Canada’s dot-ca domain name authority might do. He shares relevant industry news, promotes the brand’s activities, and otherwise engages its more than 3,200 followers. It made sense to spend time talking to that audience as opposed to the 1,250  following CIRA’s Facebook page – or so Buell thought until he started using the Klout for Business beta.

“It will tell me where my influencers are spending most of their time,” he says. “Is it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever? Then it will tell me where I’m spending my time.”

It turns out that the big influencers CIRA wants to connect with are spending more time on Facebook. Now Buell is pivoting his social media strategy to spend less time on Twitter, and be more active on Facebook – posting to the walls of other related groups in addition to CIRA’s own page. It’s a lesson he’s learned after using Klout’s new business-oriented service for 10 days.

The Klout for Business beta launched March 19, entering the big data market of services looking to deliver answers to businesses based on the wealth of unstructured data now available in the public cloud. For its first five years of operations, Klout focused on helping individuals rate their personal influence based on social media posts across myriad networks including Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Its business model was to sell businesses advertising to highly influential users in the form of Perks – a free giveaway that would incent the user to engage with a brand and share their experience. The whole concept was around scoring consumer influence.

“In the past what we’ve done for businesses is frankly very little,” says Matthew Thomson, vice-president of business development & platform for Klout. “We’ve had no separate kind of offering.”

Klout for Business is that separate offering. It will do for businesses what it did for consumers, scoring social media impact, and also go beyond that to help businesses identify key influencers, understand what they’re interested in talking about, and how to best connect with them.

Currently in the hands of about 25,000 brands, according to Thomson, Klout’s first business-centric service is an insights dashboard. It segments out information into four different windows: Your Audience, Network Optimization, Top Topics, and Moments.

The Network Optimization dashboard on Klout for Business. (Image: Klout)

The insights delivered by CIRA’s dashboard are fascinating, Buell says.

“Klout is moving beyond that single indicator of influence,” he says. “They’re giving us data we can use to be more proactive in our social media efforts.”

Like many Web-based businesses, CIRA uses an assortment of analytics services to measure its success with online communications. It relies on an analytics service for its Web site, listening services like Google Alerts and Radian6 (now part of Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud) and other monitoring services. But while those services answer questions about how CIRA’s content is spreading, Klout differs by revealing the people behind the sharing and delivering statistics about their influence.

One of CIRA's "moments" on Klout shows engagement around a tweet.
One of CIRA’s “moments” on Klout shows engagement around a tweet.

More features are expected to be rolled out to Klout’s beta soon. Around 30 users will see the new features in early July. Klout Experts will be one forthcoming service that will allow brands to ask questions of the most influential people on specific topics. A company may be interested to see how a key influencer reacts to an important product launch, for example.

“Getting that sort of insight back from leading people can be a market indicator for them,” Thomson says. Some features in the beta will eventually be partitioned off into a premium, paid-for product that will require a subscription. But Klout is still working on how to price that service.

Also coming down the pipe are more filtering options for audience management. In addition to topical expertise and Klout score filters, geography and other demographic information could soon become available, he says. “We do have that data, it’s just something we haven’t added yet.”

Those features sound good to Buell.

“It’d be helpful for us to not just have an influencer breakdown, but a geographic breakdown,” he says. CIRA wants to target Canadian influencers, as having a big impact in Brazil or Germany isn’t going to help the organization reach its goals.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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