Klout kills Perks, influencer engagement 1.0

TechCrunch reports that Klout has killed its Perks program and will replace it with a more sophisticated platform called Klout perquisites. Just kidding about the perquisites part.

There was a time when influencer marketing was presumed to start and finish with nothing more than finding popular people, giving them free stuff and hoping they’ll say your brand’s name to a lot of people on the Internet.

Above: Two Days in Seattle seemed like the coolest Klout perk, I almost participated but decided against it.

Klout blazed a trail but now there’s a fork in the road. One path leads to paid endorsements and the other path leads to a world of other approaches to influencer marketing, like:

  1. Developing authentic relationships with relevant thought leaders and earning their public endorsement by keeping in touch and doing good work.
  2. Observing independent influencers for early detection of trends and opportunities. Then making strategic or editorial decisions based on what you learn from them.
  3. Analyzing communities of influencers, including how they are segmented, and advertising to them and their audiences in a way that combines relevance and scale.

Personally, I find all of those to be a lot more interesting.  All of those are things our customers are doing.

What’s most exciting to me is working to build a future where the social web is taken so seriously by businesses that they seek competitive advantage in finding and efficiently engaging with the very best minds in their market online.

Sometimes sending people stuff, but a lot of times not.

Rest in Peace Klout Perks, you were an important first step in making influencer data actionable.