Social Media Crisis: The Case of Klout

Klout LogoIt’s been nearly a month since Klout infamously changed its scoring algorithm to “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score.” I’ll admit, I was a little disheartened when my score dropped 16 points after months of hard work tweeting my Klout score up to a cool 65. Nearly a month later now and I don’t even know what my score is. I’ve been tweeting less frequently and none of my other social networks ever seemed to matter in Klout’s scoring system anyway so I would imagine my score is somewhere in the low 40s. Fine. I don’t really care anymore. However, I do want to talk about how poorly Klout handled the social media firestorm that came immediately after the change.

For the most part, the dust has settled and users have put the issue to rest. However, the day Klout made the changes, the social media world erupted. When I noticed my score dropped it was already well into the evening. I went to Twitter to see what was going on and, sure enough, it seemed like everyone was complaining about the new changes.

I then went back to klout.com and read the blog post announcing its new scoring algorithm. It seemed comical to read an article titled “A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score” that really said nothing about the actual breakdown of the new algorithm. At this point, there were already hundreds of comments on the blog post and people were starting to blog about it themselves. So, going back to Twitter, I checked out Klout’s Twitter stream and found this:

Klout changes algorithm

In a social media crisis, it's hard to reply to everyone, but replying with the same non-personal stock answer is not the way to go.

To Klout’s credit, they were trying their best to reply to everyone’s concerns. However, replying to everyone who has negative comments on the subject with the same stock answer will make your brand come off as inhuman and lazy. In my opinion, if a brand is hit with this many negative comments on the same issue, it is best to reply with personalized responses for each case. If there is not a way to respond in a personable, positive manner, then not responding at all might be the next best thing. Managing hundreds if not thousands of negative comments on one social media platform might prove to be a difficult if not impossible task.

Soon after Klout’s scoring algorithm changed, many ‘influencers’ suggested users delete their Klout profile altogether–the most notable being Rohn Jay Miller’s article on socialmediatoday.com. This is where Klout’s bigger crisis communication issue comes in to play–Klout has disabled the option to delete your profile! This is a huge issue regarding the integrity of a company and proves Klout is not concerned so much about actually helping people to understand their social influence as it is about getting a huge IPO. Klout has really dug their own hole on this one. I suggest Klout releases a public apology and once again enable users to easily delete their account.

There have been a number of social media crisis in the past from major brands–the most well known being Nestle’s Greenpeace video censorship, Dominoes viral video of employees violating health codes and the ever-popular United Airlines Breaks Guitars YouTube video (now over 11 million views). A company making a mistake is what keeps them human. How they handle negative sentiment after making a mistake is what keeps them human.

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About wheeler blogs.

Eric D Wheeler is a recent graduate from St. Cloud State University with a Masters Degree in Mass Communications with emphasis in PR and Advertising. Also interested in social media, marketing photography & traveling! View all posts by wheeler blogs.

2 responses to “Social Media Crisis: The Case of Klout

  • Ivie

    First things first, Klout’s means of measures and operating principles have always been questioned. This new blunder has if anything emphasized these criticisms. It is not surprising that customers were so upset when their scores dropped dramatically. How can they change processes without giving customers detailed reasons or informing them of the new variables used to measure? Customers alwasy want to be informed. Though Klout took a step in the right direction by quickly responding to customers’ complaints and comments, their responses were monotonous. Customers want to feel like you are listening, that you care about what they think. Klout failed to achieve this by not providing individual response to each customer. More than one social media should have been used to get their message across. It is one thing to have access to social media and another to use it effectively and efficiently.

    To make the issue worse they take off the option to delete from your profile, leaving you with no chioce but to remain on their program. An act that screamed dishonesty.They couldn’t have made it any clearer to customers that they are more interested in making sure the company meets its target than keeping customers happy. Further investigation has shown that they have enabled the option to delete again, but could that be too late. Has their reputation already been so tarnished that they have destroyed what they were trying so hard to keep. Time will tell.

  • wheeler blogs.

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Probably the biggest mistake Klout made in this case was disabling the option to delete your profile. As you said, that definitely screamed dishonesty and made it clear they are just looking to cash in on a huge IPO. Re-enabling the delete option doesn’t make a difference; it should never have happened in the first place.

    Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    Wheeler

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