“Klout is sort of a pass/fail. It’s almost not relevant whether someone’s a 70, 90, or 40, because it’s different than a 10.” says brand presence management platform Vitrue’s Director of Product John Nolt. Despite these suspicions about the exact accuracy of the influence scoring system, Vitrue today launches a Twitter moderation tool with a deep Klout integration. The tool allows brands to see the Klout scores of people replying to and mentioning them so they can prioritize response to high scoring influencers.
So while our writer Alexia Tsotsis claims that “nobody gives a damn about your Klout score“, Vitrue thinks its brand clients will. “As long as it has some basis in reality, then it’s useful”, Nolt told me.
When I asked Klout’s biz dev director Don Hoang why its system was unable to identify Alexia as having less real world influence than TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington, he gave me the cop out answer “We believe the philosophy that everyone has clout.” The company will need a better response than that if it wants its APIs picked up by more brand presence management and customer rewards systems.
Vitrue was previously focused on Facebook Page management. It has provided publishing and wall moderation software as well as application suites to clients such as American Express, McDonalds, AT&T, Disney, and YouTube. Vitrue has also offered Twitter publishing for a few years, but will now help brands keep track of responses to their updates. On its expansion to providing more Twitter services, Nolt explained with a mixed zoological metaphor that “Facebook is the 800 million user gorilla, but they’re not the only fish in the sea.”
Considering that brands often cross-publish their content to both Facebook and Twitter, providing moderation services for both will help Vitrue prevent its clients straying to other platforms. For busy brands strapped for community management resources, the Vitrue/Klout tool’s ability to distinguish common trolls from well-known critics could save them from PR crises. However, discontent can quickly snowball in the Twittersphere, so brands should still try to be as comprehensive as possible in dealing with public customer service complaints.
I’ve followed Vitrue for a while now and it typically makes smart partnerships and acquisitions. Klout might be the best online reputation gauge, but it’s not totally dependable yet. Until Klout gets more accurate, Vitrue should consider replacing the exact scores in its Twitter tool with a colored threat-level system. Otherwise, it will need to work closely with clients to make sure they take Klout scores as general guides rather than gospel.
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