Klout has served as a barometer of social media impact, calculating how much influence Justin Bieber or President Barack Obama have online. How about if you could tap into those people's expertise to get answers to life's important questions, such as which mascara is the best?
Now you can. The company has launched a preview of Klout Experts, which offers advice and answers to users in need, and boosts the Klout Scores of participating experts.
"To achieve our mission of helping everyone realize their influence, I believe it is our duty as a company to do more than just measure influence," Klout CEO Joe Fernandez wrote in a blog post. "With Klout Experts, our goal is to enable every person to share their passions and expertise with the world."
For now, Klout Experts is available to a small percentage of users. Those selected will be given the opportunity to answer certain questions the next time they sign in to Klout, like "What's the best digital SLR for beginners?" or "What's a great exercise routine for someone with bad knees?"
"We are focused on practical advice that leverages the taste and wisdom we all have about something," Fernandez said.
Meanwhile, an initial set of Klout Expert answers will be appearing on Microsoft's Bing search engine, starting immediately. If you search for "What is the best way to care for tulips," for example, the first response could be a link to an answer from a Klout Expert. To determine if a Klout member's response is trustworthy, the answer will include a link to that person's Klout Moments, a catalogue of their Klout activity.
Klout Scores and influential topics are already listed under the "People Who Know" section of Bing's social sidebar, and Microsoft last year made a strategic investment in the firm.
"Influence is created by the expertise we have, the way we share it and the impact it has on others," Fernandez said. "Today we are taking a big step by moving from just measuring that influence to actually helping every person maximize the impact they have on the world."
Eager Klout users can request early access to Experts by signing up to the waiting list.
Klout Experts sounds a lot like question-and-answer site Quora, which provides users a place to inquire about basically anything, and get a thoughtful expert response.
Klout recently integrated Instagram activities into its scoring process, adding photos to the Klout Moments section of a member's profile. Earlier this year, the site also teamed up with ESPN Magazine to highlight sports in social media, providing analysis of players and offering "influencer lists" of athletes and teams.