Have a lot of Twitter followers? American Airlines thinks you're worthy of its posh 'Admirals Club' -- free of charge.
Klout, a social-influence measurement tool, introduced a "perk" today that's bound to intrigue frequent flyers, or else make them squeamish. The company, which offers deals to those with high "Klout scores," is offering those with a 55 or above to qualify for a one-day pass to American Airlines' Admirals Club in 40 different airports -- regardless of whether they're booked on one of the carrier's flights.
Admission includes first-class benefits like free Wi-Fi and beer.
The partnership is the latest attempt by marketers to shower attention on consumers big footprints in social media, in hopes to earn mentions in their news feeds. The Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas introduced the "Klout Klub" in 2010 to offer special amenities to people with high rankings on the service.
Klout scores are computed through a proprietary algorithm that weighs various elements in users' social-media profiles, including their follower count and engagement with their tweets. Periodic changes to the algorithm that cause some users' scores to drop have caused great hand-wringing.
Klout introduced its "perks" program -- which entails distributing free goods or services to users who meet the requisite criteria, including a certain score threshold and social "influence" in a specific area like technology or cars -- in 2010 and has distributed freebies for customers like Sony, Nike, Microsoft, Audi and Disney.
The expectation, though it's not a requirement, is that the high-octane social-media users receiving a perk will tweet out their gratitude. Klout has a process in place to direct them to disclose that they've received a freebie if they do post about it, per Federal Trade Commission guidelines, though it's unclear how many do (as is the case with all influencer-style marketing programs.)
The American Airlines promotion is broadly targeted, not aimed at users who live in a particular area or who have any specific expertise. It's notoriously difficult for airlines to be a brand that consumers really love, but they've become savvy users of social media for customer service. Carriers like Southwest have teams who are tasked with proactively responding to customer complaints on Twitter and other channels.