Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

Why I Quit Klout and Why You Should Too!

By Eric Miltsch on Dec 13, 2012

DrivingSales dScore PreviewVery rarely do I ever rant about something, but enough already with the obsession about Klout and your score. This debate continues to drone on and I'm simply tired of hearing about what Klout "means" - I'll tell you what it means: Nothing.

Sure, it's very easy to complain about something. I learned at a young age that if you're going to complain about something, you better be prepared to change it. Otherwise, keep you mouth shut and deal with it. That's why you don't often hear from me in this tone. My experiment is over, I've learned a ton and I believe I've made something that can have the same natural impact as it relates to your professional activities. (More on that shortly.) 
 
I understand we all desire adulation and some form of self-actualization. Ask yourself, is getting Klout and seeing your score fluctuate truly satisfying these needs for you and is it beneficial in any way?
 
This has created a non-productive behavior modification with everyone playing along. Stop giving +K, stop thanking people for giving you +K and stop trying to get more perks. I've heard people justify a high score by saying that it represents your "overall understanding" of how social media works, how the tools can be leveraged, how to understand people. Oh, just stop. I'll tell you what it means. It means you know how to post a ton of crap in a lot of places. (And I know that because that's what I did.) 
 
I've played with Klout long enough (three years+) to understand the mechanics of the platform, how to game it and to realize that it hasn't provided an ounce of benefit to me within it's intended scope. Sure, I got some free stuff. A four-pack of Red Bull is nice, but Red Bull doesn't need me telling my friends about it. They had a guy free fall from space, they don't need me or anyone else telling you about their brand. I got some herbs to plant in three cute Bing planters. Two of them sprouted, one died; I still don't use Bing. I got a cool t-shirt from Subaru, unfortunately it's the same size shirt I wore in 8th grade. All I can really do is tell people I got a t-shirt from Klout. That is, if I want to sound like a complete tool and cause an abrupt end to the conversation. 
 
Let's review the basic elements of Klout. They claim they're the standard for influence measurement. My beef with this claim is that it's so difficult, near impossible, to measure true influence online. (As do Kred, Naymz & PeerIndex) Measuring influence online involves tracking the change in behavior, or actions, that one person creates in another person. There are only a handful of people this can actually work for. One great example is someone like Trey Ratcliff. He's one of the most famous photographers in the world, due in part to his social media efforts and mostly due to his amazing photography skills. He's influential. If he mentions how he does something, people listen. If he shares what equipment he uses and recommends it, I'll buy it without any other consideration. That's influence. But he doesn't need Klout to tell him, or anyone else, that he's a hot commodity. 
 
Now let's look at a flawed result created by Klout due to the broad stroke measure of its algorithm. London's Big Ben clock has a twitter account that tweets out it's "bongs" - it's influential on the topic of drugs. Relevant? Hardly. 
 
In order for you to become influential, you need to have experience. Gaining experience means you need to have relevant activity. Malcolm Gladwell says the golden rule of becoming an expert in your field dictates you need 10,000 hours of relevant activity. Seth Godin pushes it out even further saying you need 20,000 hours, depending on your segment and other factors such as competition. 
 
So, what's the solution? With the help of the awesome people within DrivingSales, we're introducing the dScore. This is intended to be the first activity and experience measurement tool for automotive professionals. Our algorithm will simply monitor and measure your activity within the DrivingSales community as related to your specific activity and contributions. The formula is simple: (Activity + Experience)Relevance = Influence.
 
This wasn't designed to be a popularity contest and can't be manipulated. This was designed to help you. Over time, the measurement factors will grow and adapt. For now, the goal is simply to measure and reward you for your activity. Your activity will contribute to your score. Initially, the rewards will come in the form of an improved score and visually by unlocking different achievements. Each activity can impact your score differently. Here's a few examples of the activity measured and it's impact on your score: 
 
DrivingSales dScore Preview
  • Contributing original content (High impact, unlocks achievement)
  • Receiving comments (Moderate impact, unlocks achievement)
  • Having your content shared (Moderate impact, unlocks achievement)
  • Sharing content (Low impact, unlocks achievement) 
  • Completed your profile (No impact, unlocks achievement)
Unlike Klout, we want to be extremely transparent with regards to why we're doing this, how it works and what this means to you before we publish the new feature to the site. You can expect to see this live by next week.
 
First, we're doing this to raise the overall level of quality activity within the community. You want better content and we want to provide that to you. We don't want content that is diluted and posted to every other online community. This doesn't help other users and it doesn't help your brand whether you're a dealer or vendor. We also want to continue building our position as a premier destination for the best performance improvement content in the business. 
 
Second, here is the initial list of activities that will unlock achievements and/or impact your score. No surprises, standard community activity, while including offline activity as well.
  • Joining DrivingSales.com
  • Your length of time as a member
  • Connecting with other members
  • Contributing original content (Blogs, forums, strategies, videos, etc) 
  • Receiving comments on your content
  • Having your content shared
  • Sharing content   
  • Completed your profile  
  • Contributing to the Dealership Innovation Guide (DIG) 
  • Appearing on the cover of DIG 
  • Speaking at DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES) 
  • Attending DSES & President's Club events
Pro Tips: If your activity involves contributing content (writing a blog) and generates engagement (receiving comments) - that will improve your score. If the activity involves a basic community function (completing your profile) - that won't affect your score. There's also a time decay element; dScores will decrease if there is no activity. Again, the goal is to encourage timely activity and current experience. 
 
Lastly, we want to help provide you a visual validation for your contributions, reward your activities and help you build your professional brand. As these activities increase and user experience grows, we can begin to leverage the power of the community's influence to help other users gain access to more helpful information about vendor products and services as well. More activity will allow us to provide the most relevant rewards for your activity - rewards that you can actually use and benefit from. (Vendor rewards, discount prices, meaningful products, etc) Sharing your experiences within our incredible community online, in print and at our events, benefits everyone. 
 
I welcome your feedback. I love this industry, the wonderful people I've met over the years and truly want to see everyone continue to improve. Doing so helps yourself, your business and our industry. Let's focus on productive efforts rather than time wasters. 
 
(Thanks for reading my rant too!)

Comments

But will you send me free Red Bull like Klout does? :-)

Dec 13, 2012

Ed, I'll send you whatever you want:)

Dec 13, 2012

Forget the Red Bull, I want a vintage Subaru shirt that would only fit Larry Bruce!

Dec 13, 2012

The last time I saw Larry he was outside of a Ikea in a really sharp little coat...

Dec 13, 2012

Where is the 'like' button when I need it!!

Dec 13, 2012

Great article Eric, sorry you spent 3 plus years on the experiment, but now we can all enjoy your findings.

Dec 13, 2012

Love it Eric, I wrote about this recently as well. Couldn't agree more, great article! (and btw, this comment will put your dScore over the top...)

Dec 13, 2012

Thanks Kevin.

Enjoyed your article as well. I had hoped to publish this sooner, just needed a bit more time to get everything in place.

Dec 13, 2012

Thanks Carl - definitely learned a few things about the platform, but even more about our behaviors.

Dec 13, 2012 (Last Edited: 2012-12-13 12:37:13)

Its yours Glen!

Dec 13, 2012

Comments 1 - 10 of 17

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Eric Miltsch's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Let Data Drive Pretty Much Everything in Your Marketing

    First, a mini-rant. It will make sense why I'm starting with a rant before getting to the meat of the issue. I was on the phone with a social client and their prospective search marketing provider the other day when I was blindsided by ignorance. It wasn't what I expected from a company that came highly recommended for their search prowess, so I called later on to talk to someone other than a salesperson to confirm that I heard properly. They selected their keywords straight from a template. The dealer would tell them the cities and then they would plug in those cities into their keyword template and, VOILA, they had a keyword list to plug into their campaigns. This is the type of treatment I would expect from an OEM-level provider, but to see it coming from a boutique shop really turned me sideways. The whole idea of being small and nimble is the ability to give the personal touch; heck, that's why we built our company in the first place! That experience prompted me to talk abou...Read post

  • Using Moneyball Strategies to Win the Content Marketing Game

    In a recent article published on Marketing Land, an author used the famous concept of Moneyball and applied it to content marketing. If you aren’t familiar with the Moneyball concept, it began when Billy Beane became manager of the 2001 Oakland Athletics. Mr. Beane hypothesized that a team doesn’t necessarily need a superstar to win games. The key to winning in baseball is scoring. To score runs, a team must have players that can get on base. Rather than allocate millions of dollars (which the organization couldn’t afford) for superstar players, Mr. Beane used data and algorithms to identify players who may have been considered sub-par, but had high on-base percentages (i.e.: they could hit and get on base consistently). Using this strategy, he was able to put together a team that went on to win against stacked teams of superstars. The author of the Marketing Land article went on to explain how successful content marketing paralleled the Moneyball strategy. Marketers shouldnRead post

  • How to Make Hyper-Targeting Your Social Media Secret Weapon

    If you're like many, you're sick of hearing how big social media is. It's huge. We get it. That's not the real "juice" that comes through utilizing social media for automotive advertising. The greatest benefit that social media currently offers to car dealers is through hyper-targeting. More dealers every day are taking advantage of the standard targeting components of sites like Facebook and Twitter - targeting by location, age, income, education, and any combination of these and many other demographic components available. Very few dealers are taking advantage of the stronger data that's available through a plethora of very specific data sets. First and foremost, the use of your customer database is absolutely imperative. You might be sending direct mail to your customers. You're probably emailing them. Unfortunately, your also probably missing a large number of them because of spam filters and a general distaste for junkmail. Social media offers a very direct way to get your me...Read post

  • There's No Need to Make Reputation Management Complicated

    One of my biggest complaints about some vendors in our industry is that they make reputation management seem like it requires extremely specialized talents in order to make it work for car dealers. They would have you believe that you cannot manage, monitor, or influence your own reputation and that it takes extreme talent and a complex strategy to make it happen. As much as I would love to pitch our own reputation management solution here, I'll keep it simple. Reputation management isn't hard. In fact, it's the complicated measures through which many vendors attempt to manipulate your reputation that gets dealers and other businesses in trouble. Here, I'll break down the steps that make up a real reputation management system: Deliver Great Customer Service - Just as we do with our own clients, dealers that are treating their customers fairly and with respect have a better chance of maintaining a positive reputation online. That doesn't mean that great service will definitely yi...Read post

  • You Need to Repeat Yourself (in marketing) to Your Past Customers

    Repetition can get annoying. When we see the same message over and over again, it has a tendency to get on our nerves. That's not what you're trying to do by putting out consistent messages multiple times through diverse channels. In today's ever-shifting world, it's important to risk repetition for the sake of having them see your message at all. I originally published this article over at AutomotiveSocial.com but thought it would fit in nicely at DrivingSales: Customer loyalty is a tough cookie to crack nowadays. It's not like before when things were more predictable, when you could make assumptions about timing and situations. Today, you never know when the situation will change to where someone is in the market to buy a car immediately. The standard buying cycle has been replaced by a chaotic weaving of changes to job, relationships, and circumstance. Another thing has changed. People are not inherently loyal to any particular dealership. Sure, there are regular customers who...Read post

  • Get Your Customers Properly Engaged with Your Dealership

    I know. It's a buzzword. It's impossible to keep track of number of times experts in the car business have used the word "engagement" when describing how to get more customers. Engage on social. Engage on search. Engage on YouTube. Engage on your website. It's a mess but it's still important to be engaged with potential customers. On the other hand, it's even more important to be engaged with your past and present customers. The people who just bought a car from you, the people in your service waiting lounge, even the people who bought a vehicle from you a couple of years ago - these are the people that could really use some engagement with you immediately. It gets frustrating to see so many dealers focused on driving new business and conquest business while pretty much taking their eyes off of the low hanging fruit in their database. It's as if the industry has given up on loyalty. It's true that loyalty numbers are lower than ever before. Between the internet allowing further re...Read post

  • What the Buzz is a KPI?

    Tired of listening to the marketing mumbo jumbo that everyone loves to use but hates to explain? Sometimes ya just gotta say, What the Buzz? Let’s debuzz digital, break down the chatter that matters and expand our digital dictionaries… all in seven sentences or less. Today’s buzzword is KPI. We’ve asked one of our resident Digital Demystification Delegates to explain what it is and why dealers should care.Read post

    By Cobalt on August 29, 2014

  • Fall into Customer Loyalty with End of Summer

    With Labor Day here and the official start of fall coming up quickly, now is the time to leverage an end of summer campaign to drive revenue and traffic plus gain additional customer loyalty for your dealership. But, what is an impactful end of summer campaign to help you do just that? Before fall officially sets in, try one of these revenue generating campaign ideas. Host an End of Summer Blast Invite customers, prospects, and members of your community to an event at your dealership. Be sure to have appealing activities to attract an audience such as live music, food and beverages, games, giveaways, etc. You can partner with other local business to keep costs down. Make sure to send an announcement to all customers to let them know you’re hosting one last blast before the cooler weather sets in. Beach Ball Blowout Chances are you’re looking to get rid of those 2014 vehicles on your lot to make room for your 2015 lineup. You could host a blowout event at your dealership to offer ...Read post