Social media has enabled business professionals to quickly grow large spheres of influence in targeted industries. These power users hold the key for marketers trying to gain access to their niche audiences. The question is how to identify who the key B2B influencers are, how do you rise above the noise to capture their attention, and how do you encourage them to become advocates for your brand.

On March 17th, join me for a live streamed event where you’ll hear from Don Bulmer from SAP, Guy Kawasaki from Alltop and Michael Fauscette from IDC as they share what attracts them and learn how you can influence the influencer to become a brand advocate.

thinkinfluence panel

WHEN: March 17, 2011, 8:00-8:45am PDT. Also available for replay.

PARTICIPATE:
Participate from anywhere, by watching the live streamed video webcast and posting questions/comments via Twitter. Or watch the replay. Register at http://www.brighttalk.com/r/kZS

Attend onsite in the panel audience or for a breakfast reception afterwards with the panelists. By invitation only.  Space is limited. Join the Think Influence group on LinkedIn to request an invitation.

PANELISTS:
Don Bulmer, Vice President of Global Communications, SAP AG
Guy Kawasaki, Co-founder, Alltop
Michael Fauscette, Group Vice President, Software Business Solutions, IDC
and moderator Barbara French, President & Managing Editor, Tekrati & Co-founder Think Influence

COST:
Free, however registration is required for the live webcast and replays. Onsite event is by invitation only.

SPONSORSHIPS:
Contact me for info on sponsoring Think Influence events. Contact BrightTALK for sponsoring their Social Media Marketing Summit.

ABOUT
This event is a joint production of Think Influence and BrightTALK. Think Influence is a grassroots community of peers discussing the role of influence in business.

Popularity: 100%

Lisa Joy Rosner at NetBase has posted a newly minted social media sentiment analysis on Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC and Alitmeter Group. For me, there’s one surprise in the results.

No surprise, Gartner and Forrester command the largest online presence and their mentions are less emotional, more informational. Social conversations tend to reference them more as institutions. This points to a phenomenon that I’ve been noticing: regardless of the social media strategies of these two firms, social channels are increasing their overall visibility. Think about the implications for offline conversations.

Also not a surprise: Altimeter Group contrasts with Gartner and Forrester in the strong emotional context of its social media mentions. This points to a different aspect of analysts on social media: those building their brands from the ground up on social media keep the conversations personal. In other words, their social media strategy is about building personal connections and loyalty first — leading corporate brand with personal brand. I expect NetBase would find similar results for RedMonk, Freeform Dynamics and newer firms like Sepharim Group.

The big surprise on the chart? IDC. IDC is very close to Altimeter on positive emotional sentiment. Clearly, something is driving this differentiation between IDC on the one extreme and Gartner and Forrester. What is it? The relationships that IDC analysts form with their clients and research targets? The topical emphasis of IDC?

Thanks to Lisa Joy for sharing!

Popularity: 79%

Influencer marketing is progressing from too much hype and trial-by-fire programs to sensible strategies and accepted best practices. There’s no better time than today to re-fresh your thinking about influence — what it is, who has it, what roles it can play in business. I’ll be discussing these topics at next week’s Bay Area Executives Meetup in Mountain View, CA, along with moderator R Ray Wang of Altimeter Group and my co-panelists Michael Brito of Edelman Digital, Ali McCourt of Intuit and Tony Welch of HP. Special thanks to Tatyana Kanzavel for organizing the event and panel!

Register for the Bay Area Executives Meetup: Super Panel on Influence

“The Many Facets Of Influence: How to Outreach, Engage, and Build Trust with Key Stakeholders”

An interactive panel with R Ray Wang, Michael Brito, Barbara French, Ali McCourt & Tony Welch

Tuesday, August 24th
Networking 6:30 - 7:00 PM
Panel 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location: Samovar Conference Hall, Mountain View, Calif.
Event hashtag: #baexec

The panel will provide perspectives on these critical questions about influence:
1.  What is influence? and how do we align it with business value?
2.  The myths vs. realities of influence
3.  Key success factors of influence
4.  Identifying influencers: who and why?

Space is limited. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door and include gourmet food and wine. Register now to get on the waiting list and (hopefully) get confirmed!

Bring your questions, join the conversation, and engage!

Popularity: 45%

If you missed today’s fast-paced webinar, here’s the audio replay. However our recorded conversation is just part of the discussion that took place. Check out the real-time reactions and side conversations at Twitter — hashtag #socialanalyst. Thanks to everyone who participated!

As Jeremiah said in his closing comments, we want to continue this conversation. Are you in? Please check back for links to the Twitter transcript. Also, trackback or comment here if you publish on the impact of social technologies on the industry analysts, their advisory clients and their analyst relations communities.

Special gratitude to our pilots at the Hangar – Christine Tan and Julie Viola — and to co-panelists Jeremiah Owyang, Carter Lusher and Jonny Bentwood.

The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry: A Roundtable w/ Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group on Vimeo

Related posts:

Popularity: 36%

Social technologies are disrupting traditional business models, and the tech industry analyst business is no exception. Or is it? How is social truly changing the day to day work of the tech watchers? their advisory clients? their relations with tech providers? Tune in tomorrow as I exchange views on this important topic with fellow thought leaders Jeremiah Owyang, Jonny Bentwood and Carter Lusher. You can ask questions and more during the live webinar using the Twitter hashtag #socialanalyst. This virtual event is free. Register now so you can listen and participate tomorrow!

What you need to know:

Special thanks to Jeremiah for organizing and producing this event!

Related posts:

The brainstorm behind this event at Jeremiah’s blog
Personal point of view at Jonny’s blog
More stage-setting at Carter’s blog and here at Sway

Popularity: 17%

Do you have some opinions on how social media is changing the analyst business? Or how it could be changing the analyst game? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Your points may well end up on my July roundtable, ”The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry“,  with Jonny Bentwood of Edelman, Carter Lusher of SageCircle, and our roundtable producer and host, Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group. The Twitter hashtag is #socialanalyst.

We’ll be discussing — and debating — the impact of social on analysts and analyst firms, and resulting changes in the analyst experience for IT decision makers, tech providers and their analyst relations representatives.

Some changes are taking place behind the scenes, in business, research and sales operations. Some changes are clearly visible at events and online through blogs, communities, media sites and Twitter. Other changes are being forced on the analyst business by IT decision makers and tech providers, as social media redefines approaches to decision making and influencer relations.

Social is not just another hammer in the tech toolbox. It’s also a set of behaviors. We expect analysts to adopt these new behaviors. So far, some are, some are not.

As with all Altimeter Group webinars, this one is free to attend and space is limited! Register at your earliest if you’d like to participate in the live conversation.

  • What: The Impact of Social on the Analyst Industry: A Roundtable with Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher, and Jeremiah Owyang
  • When: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 from 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT
  • Info, Register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/823666435

Special thanks to Jeremiah for organizing this event!

Editor’s update, June 29th: Post your suggestions on topics & points of view you think we should cover during the roundtable at Jeremiah’s blog.

Popularity: 13%

Influencer marketing entails many aspects of public relations. Along these lines, CloudNine PR agency is sharing results of its bespoke study of how 300 IT chiefs in the UK prefer to access news and info about the IT industry. I’m quite surprised by 4 findings in particular: LinkedIn ties with vendor emails as a useful or very useful source for 31%; and Twitter and YouTube are on close to even footing as well for about 20%.

What methods do UK IT chiefs find ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’ for keeping up-to-date on IT industry developments, including general news from vendors? Here’s CloudNine PR’s take:

cloud9prinfluencersurvey2010

  1. Online publications 64%
  2. IT blogs 52%
  3. Trade shows 50%
  4. Printed publications 47%
  5. Vendor Events 44%
  6. IT Analyst blogs 40%
  7. IT analyst events 38%
  8. Vendor emails 31%, LinkedIn 31%
  9. Twitter 20%
  10. YouTube 19%
  11. Facebook 13%
  12. SlideShare 12%

About the study: CloudNine PR commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct the survey. It consisted of a poll of IT decisionmakers, including CIOs, IT directors and IT managers in 300 UK companies. The sample included organisations with 50 to 250 employees, 251 to 1000 employees and over 1000 employees. There was an approximately equal split of companies operating in Financial services; Manufacturing; Retail, Transport and Distribution; and Business and Professional Services.

Popularity: 17%

Barbara on May 12th, 2010

RedMonk’s James Governor offers the most intelligent view I’ve read in a very long time on blogging among the analysts. Here’s an excerpt from his excellent post:

We built RedMonk on social media. Its as simple as that. We had a good run on it through the late noughties. But honestly – the differentiator has been significantly eroded of late. One of our significant differentiators is now business as usual. Our competitors are just as fast to the news as us, if not faster, with solid analysis on either side of the firewall. Gartner and Forrester are both doing outstanding work in real time analysis. Seriously. And Gartner analysts are joining the conversation. - James Governor May 12, 2010

His observations are crucial for analysts, analyst relations and analyst watchers. Why? Gartner, Forrester Research and scores of analyst firms have successfully embedded blogging within their businesses. We’re long past the point where it makes sense to quantify analyst blogging as a discrete individual activity. Blogging is becoming integral to analyst business processes.

I’ve been actively monitoring analyst bloggers since 2003 and in 2005 launched the first directory and OPML of analyst-written blogs. The total number of blogs in early 2005: just over 50. I was committed to supporting those pioneering analyst bloggers. In those early days, the number of blogs — and the who’s who and how many — were factors in whether a given firm or analyst would jump into the fray. Not so today.

But even back then, the analyst community’s real focus was on how blogs fit with analyst business processes and policies. You can read a snapshot of their views in the original 2005 report. These are the topics that still deserve our attention. Even today.

Hats off to James for prodding us all take a fresh look at analyst blogs.

Popularity: 7%

Barbara on May 11th, 2010

I’m not a fan of the growing schism between Altimeter Group and the rest of the analysts. One of the most visible wedges driving this rift is the idea of “rock star analysts.”

“Rock star analyst” is an old notion with deep roots among financial analysts. Originally, rock star analysts were the ones who made the right call the most often, especially on complex decisions. They made their clients the most money. There was a strong body of proof and formal professional consensus behind the status.

Not so on the tech analyst side of the aisle. What does “rock star analyst” mean to analyst relations people and analysts today? It seems to mean an analyst scores high on RSS readership, Twitter following, social net savvy, citations in the media. In short, celebrity status. Customer satisfaction isn’t a meaningful factor, beyond the PR value of the analyst.

What does celebrity status have to do with accuracy, completeness, timeliness? With giving clients great advice?

Why would a decision maker want to hire a celebrity to help with tech decisions?

It’s time for a reality check. Of the many reasons one might hire an analyst, celebrity status is — at best — just one aspect of the package.

Update, for clarification: I’m criticizing the rising popularity of labeling an analyst a “rock star” due to celebrity status. I see Altimeter Group as an unwitting victim of this craze. Ray Wang and his associates have proven their chops as technology & business experts. Putting them on rockstar pedestals strictly because of their social media popularity is insane. And arguably, it’s a disservice to the entire analyst profession. - BF May 12, 2010.

Popularity: 12%

NewComm Forum is a social media and influencer marketing event I always make a point of attending. This year, I’ll attend on Weds April 21st. Per my earlier post at Tekrati, I’m pleased to give you discount codes for both the 1-day package and full conference.

Let me know if you’ll be there on the 21st. I’d love to meet you in person.

Conference: http://www.newcommforum.com
The NewComm Forum 2010 One-day Pass
Wednesday, April 21st
San Mateo, Calif.
Cost: $395, when you register and use discount code NCF1D

  • Full Access Pass for the 21st
  • 3 Keynote Sessions: Jackie Huba, online marketing expert and author; Dave Carroll, singer/songwriter, “United Breaks Guitars”; and Tim Westergren, founder, chief strategist, Pandora
  • Access to all conference sessions – choose from 16 breakout sessions in five tracks
  • Networking Activities and Food & Beverage Events

If you’d like to attend the entire event, use discount code NCF300 to save $300 off the full conference fee. Or, contact me directly for a slightly deeper discount.

One bit of advice: Be a focused networker to get the most out of this event. It’s a small event. Put yourself forward and you’ll easily go from merely rubbing elbows with top social media authors and practitioners to forging relationships with them.

You may wonder what draws me to an event like this, when I have free passes to industry analyst events around the planet. Here’s the thing: I always come away from NewComm Forum with new ideas and new relationships that contribute directly to my own thought leadership, services and strategies. Check this year’s agenda to see who’s of interest to you.

See you there!

Popularity: 6%