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
In some cases, brands have used Klout for product launches,
like Microsoft with a new version
of the Windows Phone and Chevrolet to let people test drive the Sonic.
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
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.