Focus on people, not social platforms: Klout CEO

Social influencers will know where to tell a brand's message, says Klout co-founder Joe Fernandez.

Klout CEO Joe Fernandez
Klout CEO Joe Fernandez

Brands should seek out influential people on social media rather than try to determine the right social channel, according to the co-founder of Klout.

Klout is a Web platform that analyses a person's social media activity to measure their influence. Klout assigns a score between one and 100 and provides detail on the subjects the person is most influential in.

New social networks are constantly popping up, so it’s difficult for marketers to keep track of which channel they need to focus their energies on, Klout CEO, Joe Fernandez, said today at the Telstra Australian Digital Summit in Sydney.

In addition, people trust their friends much more than they trust a brand doing mass marketing, he said.

Rather than focus on the social platform, it is better to engage influencers and let them choose the appropriate channel for spreading word about the brand, he said. A brand message told by these influencers will carry more authenticity and reach more people, he said.

"Let them tell the story, because they'll know where to tell it," Fernandez said.

He cautioned this method requires a brand to give up control of their brand message and trust consumers to tell it effectively.

"They're going to tell it in ways that you may not always be comfortable with, but it's going to have the impact you just can't have," he claimed.

While Klout has made its name on the influence score assigned to each person online, Fernandez said he's annoyed by people who rely on the score alone and don't bring in any context.

"The crowd score has been our best asset and our worst enemy," he said.

"It betrays the value of everything we're doing below the surface -- understanding the topics, understanding where somebody's influential, understanding who they engage with [and] the methods they communicate through."

"When I see people try to oversimplify in terms of making decisions without pulling as much context together as possible, I think it leads to bad outcomes."

Pictured: Klout CEO, Joe Fernandez

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and emerging technology for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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