To Greater Personalization
The last few months have been particularly fertile in social media industry. Mergers and acquisitions have increased which provides greater depth to the major players in social media influence marketing. The self-proclaimed “standard measurement of influence,” Klout was acquired by Lithium Technologies, which will certainly have a very big impact on marketing in social media.
With this acquisition, Lithium Technologies will converge monthly information of over 100 million consumers with the database of more than 500 million users affected by Klout. Indeed, the list of personal data available via social platforms identified by Klout’s algorithm is impressive. On Facebook and LinkedIn alone, Klout extracted from fifteen data points provided by the user to calculate their “social score.”
The tool also accesses our data on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, FourSquare, YouTube, WordPress, Flickr, Yammer, Bing and Last.fm. With input data from Klout, Lithium is able to establish a very precise consumer interest center and thus better guide brands in their campaigns. If you’re wondering how the acquisition affects the consumer, What Does Klout Know About You by Jim Dougherty on LeadersWest addresses this side of the equation.
Should We Fear Commercial Profiling?
With such targeted personal consumer information access, should we fear commercial profiling? The issue was recently raised by Bazzo, Télé-Québec, with Jacques Nantel, professor at HEC Montreal, and Jean -Hugues Roy, professor at the School of Media at UQAM. The two conducted a relevant and justified debate. While the situation presents a certain threat to consumer privacy, it also allows brands to better target the interests of potential clients, and to provide them with content and advertising that may be of interest to them.
Before Lithium, Apple had also adopted this tangent with the acquisition of Topsy in 2013. And other startups like Traackr, Appinions and Augure chose to focus on the contextual analysis of influence in social media before social scoring, which is ultimately only the tip of the iceberg, a glimpse of the real capital of an influencer in social media.
With the acquisition of Klout, Lithium confirms this trend, according to Azeem Azhar, founder and CEO of PeerIndex in his recent interview with Joe Fernandez, founder of Klout. It finally appears that it is the consumer who will benefit the most. (Read also: Social Media Influence: For the Prosumers, the Context Will Always Be the Queen!)
Highlight Potential Ambassadors
For brands, this shift has several advantages. By focusing more on the interests of customers, this new approach to social media influence marketing not only provide them with appropriate content, but also more easily identifies potential ambassadors among all users.
Being able to identify the precise interests of users, brands can more easily determine what type of promotion will be of interest to their customers. More and more companies and organizations also choose to offer rewards and exclusive experiences to loyal customers as opposed to investing in advertising. By focusing on the quality of the user experience, brands can meet the new expectations of connected consumers.
By involving them early in the process, such as having them be beta testers for new products or services, or offering periods of trial and promotional products (perks), companies can more easily unearth potential ambassadors. Somehow, this new approach demonstrates a willingness for brands get closer to their customers and give them greater purchasing power. Brands learn more about their customers, and these are the two parties who benefit ultimately.
Obviously, businesses must remain vigilant about protecting the confidentiality and security of personal information. Users, especially among new generations who are hyper-informed, will now reveal their power; it is they who have become the real influencers in social media. All recent studies confirm that users rely more on content and recommendations from their peers over all other forms of advertising or commercial solicitation.
What do you think of the acquisition of Klout by Lithium? Do you think influence marketing will continue to advance in this way? Does it benefit consumers? Share your thoughts and comments.