Mike Isaac

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Klout Launches a Business Product — And It’s About Time

klout-flag-square-2Klout is doing something it should have done a long time ago.

The company on Wednesday launched Klout for Business, the company’s first foray into offering a complimentary tool set to brands in order for them to better understand the most influential people talking about specific brands across social networks.

Specifically, Klout will give businesses an analytics dashboard, detailing just how well a company is interacting with the most “influential people” — in other words, the folks who have the greatest reach on social networks — and which specific subject areas these people are most influential on, with respect to winning the chatter of others.

Sounds gorpy, yes. But I’d argue that it’s important. Right now, the Twitters and Facebooks of the world continue to argue how crucial it is for brands to spend their ad dollars on social, not just on traditional media outlets. But advertisers aren’t fully convinced, and the ad budgets haven’t shifted as much as the social giants would like.

So the value proposition of something like a Klout for Business, then, is to help a brand better understand how to expand their reach by targeting the most important, “influential” people on said networks. Theory is, if you do a better job recognizing and reaching the people who actually matter, that’ll go a heck of a lot further than blasting out an ad to the social masses (even if those ads are getting targeted better by the day, as Facebook and Twitter would say).

And, as I’ve argued in the past, this is an area that Klout — and competitor Kred, for that matter — should be focusing on. It’s much easier to convince a brand to care about who is most influential in the Twittersphere than, say, a regular dude like me.

Klout has long made its consumer pitch, hoping to convince people to care about their social influence scores with things like Klout Perks, or offers you win by reaching a certain influence threshold. But truly, I don’t see the masses really caring about that number, no matter how many freebies you offer them.

Thus, Klout for Business seems like a smart — and obvious — play. I’m just surprised it took so long.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik