By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Did you know that your online activity could determine whether you got a job, a mortgage, a date, or even just free stuff? 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us about websites that are analyzing your online activity and assigning you a social media score. Those with high scores are raking in the rewards.
Imagine someone handing over the keys to a luxury automobile for the weekend with no strings attached, or a resort offering you a room absolutely free! That’s exactly what happened to mom blogger Leah Segedie all because of her high social media score. She says, “They came to me, which is really cool ’cause, you know, I wasn’t looking for it. They just found me.”
Whether you know it or not, your online popularity is being ranked by websites like Klout and Kred and everyone’s assigned a number. The higher your number, the more influence you have online, and the more appealing you are to marketers. Andrew Grill, Kred CEO says, “They believe these real world people can get the message out to their community and help amplify the message.”
Over the last two years, more than three hundred brands have offered perks to Klout influencers, including Disney, Microsoft, and American Express.
“Free upgrades on flights to movie tickets, product trials. The perks run the gamut and the higher your score, probably the better the perk is going to be,” says Zena Weist, Vice President of Strategy for Expion.
Businesses are looking beyond perks, too, from dating services using scores to match potential partners to a start-up bank making plans to consider scores for loan approval. Some recruiters are even checking out the scores for job applicants. “The score can be a benchmark if the job has something to do with social media. If you’re connecting with people on the web, if you need to be influential,” according to West.
You can raise your score by sharing stories about topics you’re interested in on Facebook and Twitter. The more re-tweets and shares you get, the higher your score will rise. Seeking out and following like-minded people online will also help raise your score, too. But Segedie says, “If you’re the person who’s all about the score, I mean, good luck. Good luck to you. It’s never going to happen. So it’s like, what needs to happen first, you need to be that real person first, and the score will come. It will follow you.”
Experts say it’s important not to get too obsessed with your score, which could go up and down daily, and aim for long term growth instead. By the way, the average person’s Klout score is 20 out of a possible 100.