I feel so dirty.
A couple of weeks ago, Klout contacted me via Twitter, asking if I would accept a package from TNT promoting their new series, Franklin & Bash.
Sure, why not? It was a leather folio with a legal pad inside (pictured above), plus a DVD of the show. What was I going to do, blog about it?
What is Klout Perks?
Klout is a social media analytics company that has popularized the Klout Score, a measure of overall online influence. They recently launched a new version which you can see here. My own Klout Score currently stands at 55, and I’m influential about retail, social media, advertising, and six other topics.
Klout Perks is a program where marketers can send swag to influential social media users, hoping they’ll tell the rest of their network about a product, service, or – in this case – TV show.
No, really, this blog post is about Klout Perks, not Franklin & Bash. Honest!
Do Klout Perks work?
It’s a little early to declare whether Klout Perks are an effective marketing tool because the program started a year ago, and just recently was featured on Klout's blog. One early result is that a lot of bloggers are writing about their experience. Will it take hold?
Here’s what Klout needs to do to ensure the success of Perks:
Think like a direct marketer. The first batch of clients is pretty diverse, including an automaker, a QSR, and of course Franklin & Bash. (Darn! There I go again.) Each client will have a different experience based on what they’re promoting and possibly the way they’re promoting it. The quality of the swag will matter in how much buzz they generate. Klout is a sophisticated analytics company, but some old-school direct mail techniques may help them diagnose what works and what doesn’t, such as comparing Offer A and Offer B, testing and tweaking their messages, etc.
Make it easy for influencers to influence. Blogger Mack Collier points out that his Klout Perks package contained no digital content to promote the TV show they sent him. All we got were souvenirs. He and I both had to take pictures of what we got in order to write our blog posts. Other than that, all I can do is direct you to the website for Franklin & Bash. (Grrr…)
Worry about acceptability as much as ethics. Klout provides an Influencer Code of Ethics and Disclosure. That’s helpful, but influencers are influential because they’re on solid social ground, not solid legal ground. Would I be embarrassed to shamelessly promote Franklin & Bash on TNT? Would you be embarrassed to receive a tweet from me about it?
I’ll be honest: I didn’t even watch the DVD they sent me, because Franklin & Bash doesn’t look like my kind of TV show. Nevertheless I appreciated the opportunity to participate in another attempt to mix marketing with word-of-mouth.
Hat tip: Thanks to Josh Brusin of Chicago Foodies for taking today's photo.