The Perks of Social Influence

By Kate van Geldern Last week, Gilt Groupe (the luxury flash-sales website) partnered with Klout on a campaign that rewards users with discounts, based on their level of influence. The Klout Perk gives users a percentage off of a purchase equal to each user's corresponding Klout Score. So, if your Klout score is between 21-40, the user gets 40% off: the discounts deepen as scores increase. Major brand influencers with scores from 81-100, could receive up to 100% off of their Gilt purchase.  Gilt also to selected key influencers from several categories, including fashion, interior design, social media, finance, and parenting, and invited them to curate special sales during the Klout campaign.

In an interview with Reuters, the companies said that the idea of the campaign was “to reward "influencers" on the Internet” –  individuals who are tweeting and talking about the brand online and successfully directing traffic back to the Gilt website. Gilt has amassed its following of subscribers mainly through digital and social efforts; it owes much of its success to word of mouth growth online.

While the results of this campaign have yet to be determined, the initial lesson is that businesses are actively rewarding key brand influencers online. This campaign shows how incredibly valuable your individual influence can be in social channels and how brands can leverage individuals based on their ability to influence others on the Internet.

How can you apply this concept to your business? First, identify your key influencers, so that you can understand who is talking about your brand and who is influencing your target audience. Next, show those key influencers that you value them! Offer them exclusive content or offers: launch new products or promotions to influencers first, or simply engage with them and thank them for supporting your business. They’re the social-savvy consumers you want sharing your messages, so take a note from Gilt and treat them like VIPs.

Are you working to identify and activate your brand influencers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!