How to Take Advantage of Klout’s Pivot—And How Lithium Might Change Everything

Following a major upgrade, Klout doesn’t just tell you how popular you are; it also tells you how to get more popular by recommending what content to share. That change could have big ramifications for content strategists trying to figure out what content to share with their audience—and how to get their content shared more, too.

As always, you can visit the five-year-old company’s site to receive a score purporting to show how influential they were in social media, but now the service also suggests content from around the web that might be interesting to others in your social networks. The interface pre-populates your social page with topics that are relevant to what that person typically shares, and you can always add more topics from a predefined list.

The algorithm also learns over time, providing an individualized stream of content suggestions based on your habits and audiences reactions. For example, if you tend to share more articles about search engine optimization—and those articles drive high levels of engagement—then, over time, the algorithm will suggest articles that align with that strategy.

The company is clearly trying to make this new service Klout’s focal point. The new content-sharing tools are the first thing you’re shown when you sign in, and Klout score is now hidden within the Measure button in a navigation sidebar.

How publishers can capitalize

Now that Klout is providing an easier way for users to share content, publishers can benefit from a nice bump if their articles are recommended to other users. The question is: How do you get your content to show up there?

At this point, the algorithm is weighted more toward keywords than the social attention , but Fernandez says this will change.

“The product just launched, and we don’t have enough data to fully lever the social attention component. The system is designed, though, to take social attention into account as it gets enough data on each user’s shares,” he says.

We asked Janet Driscoll Miller, CEO of Marketing Mojo, to reverse-engineer Klout’s recommendations. Based on an analysis in her areas of expertise, including “marketing,” she concluded, “Klout is actually not using Twitter to find topics. It appears to be solely using shares and the rapid use of those shares to determine which stories to show and how rapidly they are shared.”

The same seems to be the case for posts tagged with “on the rise” and “hidden gem,” according to Driscoll Miller. The advantage to this approach is that it eliminates low-value tweets that carry a relevant hashtag. Click measurements are on the way, but without that data, she concludes that it’s hard to tell exactly what causes something to become a “hidden gem” or show up as “on the rise.”

Content creators should be aware that Klout has very specific categories, and each should be carefully considered when optimizing content and titles.

Driscoll also notes that users can create their own tweets directly through Klout’s platform, which provides a specific “Klout-URL.”This provides an advantage when tweeting out your own content, because the more that Klout-URL is shared, the more likely it is to surface in Klout’s recommendations.

What’s next for Klout?

Once the new Klout was unveiled, rumors surfaced, saying that Lithium Technologies would acquire the company for $100 million or more. Those rumors still have not been confirmed.

Lithium provides a cloud-based service that lets companies link social media to their websites. It offers ways to let people publish photos and videos, engage in discussion onsite, and use presence indicators to show who is using the site.

If Lithium did buy Klout, there could be a few possible results:

1. Lithium has tools for publishing content to social media and analyzing the results, but it does not provide relevant third-party content for businesses to share on their social media profiles. Lithium could use Klout’s content curation algorithm to add this as a service to its publishing tool.

2. Lithium could retain and expand the public-facing, automated content curation interface and launch a native advertising service similar to the one that Klout tested. But this is a bit of a divergence from its core business. Instead, Klout’s algorithms could be sold off to another company that already sells and delivers native ads.

3. Lithium already offers analytics that identify top community contributers. Lithium Social Reputation Engine entices these high-value fans with rewards such as increased visibility in communities, as well as special ranks and privileges. Lithium could rebrand or keep the Klout name, continue operating the public-facing service and use it to help inform its own reputation rankings.

We can only predict what move Lithium might make, but it’s also worthy to note that Klout’s content curation service has plenty of competitors, many of which are outlined in Pam Dyer’s review of more than 60 content curation tools. All this proves is that there are more ways than ever for content creators to experiment with optimizing their shares and collecting relevant data. Klout is just the latest major platform to throw its hat in the ring.

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