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How to Present and Engage with
Technical Influencers
Stephen Foskett
stephen@fosketts.net
@SFoskett
Blog.Fosketts.net
© Fo...
• Who’s Stephen?
▫ Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day
• The old days and the new
• Who should you engage?
• How should you enga...
Gestalt IT
• I started Gestalt IT in 2006 to
look at the “big picture” of
enterprise IT
• Brought together networking,
ser...
Tech Field Day
• Originally “The Gestalt IT Event”
▫ A dozen independent
delegates visit 6-8 companies
over 2-3 days
• Now...
The Old Days…
You
Press
Analysts
• You knew who to call
▫ Reporters at big publications
▫ Analysts at big firms
• You knew...
But Now…
• The publications collapsed
and the big firms changed
▫ Very few traditional reporters
▫ Analysts have changed
•...
Who Should You Engage?
Invest in up-and-
comers
Read their stuff and
watch their videos
Pay attention to the
quiet nerds
B...
Weed Out the Charlatans
• Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
evidence
▫ What’s the potential audience? Are their n...
Social Media Skepticism
• Lots of firms promise to engage influencers,
generate social engagement, etc…
▫ Do they know you...
Find Quality Nerds
• Hallmarks of the Quality Nerd
▫ A need to learn how and why
▫ A desire to build community
▫ Sharing w...
Dodge Toxic Nerds
• Some people seem like great influencers until you
get to know them
▫ Axes to grind (companies, product...
How Should You Engage?
Focus on what,
how, and why
Don't be put off
by honesty
Show, don't tell
Don't try to
impress with
...
Quality Influencer Presentations
• Get in the mind of the audience
▫ What content do they like to share?
▫ Who do they lik...
My Take on Social Media Metrics
• Most social media metrics are total BS!
▫ “Reach” is mostly nonsense
▫ There is no good ...
I Don’t Really “Do” Metrics
• I urge bloggers to ignore views and focus on
engagement
• I only measure and report solid nu...
People Being Negative on the Internet!
•More about the writer
than the topic
•Ignore and do not
escalate
Flame
•Inevitable...
Quality Influencer Engagement
Be a person,
not a
company
Be
transparent
Say
something
interesting
Be genuine
Don’t barge
i...
Common Influencer Mistakes
Round up the
usual suspects
Build an "amplifier army"
Trained
spokespeople
only!
"Push this out...
Making Your Event “Blogger Friendly”
Make
blogger
passes
available
Offer
hotel and
airfare
support
Create a
blogger-
frien...
Thank You!
Stephen Foskett
stephen@fosketts.net
@SFoskett
blog.fosketts.net
TechFieldDay.com
20
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How to Engage with Technical Influencers

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A presentation from the TechReckoning Influence Marketing Council by Stephen Foskett, founder of Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day. Stephen presents the changes in the content and influence marketing landscape for enterprise IT, how to identify technical influencers, and how to engage with them. Specifics include avoiding "toxic geeks", social media metrics, dealing with negative press, and how to make conferences more blogger-friendly.

Published in: Marketing

How to Engage with Technical Influencers

  1. 1. How to Present and Engage with Technical Influencers Stephen Foskett stephen@fosketts.net @SFoskett Blog.Fosketts.net © Foskett Services 1
  2. 2. • Who’s Stephen? ▫ Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day • The old days and the new • Who should you engage? • How should you engage? © Foskett Services 2
  3. 3. Gestalt IT • I started Gestalt IT in 2006 to look at the “big picture” of enterprise IT • Brought together networking, servers, storage, database, applications, etc • Originally syndicated content, then link posts, now lots of original content ▫ Exclusives written by full-time writer ▫ On-Premise IT Podcast ▫ Email newsletters ▫ Facebook, Twitter, etc © Foskett Services 3
  4. 4. Tech Field Day • Originally “The Gestalt IT Event” ▫ A dozen independent delegates visit 6-8 companies over 2-3 days • Now diversified by topic… ▫ Tech Field Day ▫ Networking Field Day ▫ Storage Field Day ▫ Cloud Field Day ▫ Mobility Field Day • …and format ▫ Field Day Classic ▫ Field Day Extra at … ▫ Field Day Exclusive with … © Foskett Services 4
  5. 5. The Old Days… You Press Analysts • You knew who to call ▫ Reporters at big publications ▫ Analysts at big firms • You knew the score ▫ Who to pay ▫ Who to be nice to ▫ Who to push • But most importantly, you knew who © Foskett Services 5
  6. 6. But Now… • The publications collapsed and the big firms changed ▫ Very few traditional reporters ▫ Analysts have changed • A spectrum of other people vying for time, money, attention ▫ Bloggers, podcasters, speakers ▫ Various hangers-on and “influencers” You "Influencers" Professional Reporters Casual Reporters Bloggers Event Speakers PodcastersVideo Makers Hangers-On Customers Independent Analysts Big-Firm Analysts © Foskett Services 6
  7. 7. Who Should You Engage? Invest in up-and- comers Read their stuff and watch their videos Pay attention to the quiet nerds Beware of charlatans with extraordinary claims Be skeptical about social media influencer firms Watch out for toxic nerds Avoid paid influence © Foskett Services 7
  8. 8. Weed Out the Charlatans • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence ▫ What’s the potential audience? Are their numbers even possible? ▫ Does it sound like SEO or Internet voodoo? • Is your audience listening to them? ▫ Lots of noise but not great content ▫ Lots of followers but not your people © Foskett Services 8
  9. 9. Social Media Skepticism • Lots of firms promise to engage influencers, generate social engagement, etc… ▫ Do they know your space or are they generalists? ▫ Who are the people they’ve worked with? • Beware of topical and generational differences ▫ Snapchat? Twitch? In enterprise IT?!? • Understand influencer sensitivities ▫ Paid blogging, product placement, linking, endorsements ▫ Company affiliation (employees, resellers, biases) © Foskett Services 9
  10. 10. Find Quality Nerds • Hallmarks of the Quality Nerd ▫ A need to learn how and why ▫ A desire to build community ▫ Sharing without reservation • Connections with like-minded people is the best audience • The only way to know for sure is to really get to know them: Read what they write, watch what they create, listen to what they say © Foskett Services 10
  11. 11. Dodge Toxic Nerds • Some people seem like great influencers until you get to know them ▫ Axes to grind (companies, products, even technologies) ▫ Inability to communicate positively ▫ Sexism, prejudice, politics • Don’t engage, just dodge ▫ “Don’t feed the trolls” ▫ Avoid in a friendly way • People can change, maybe revisit later © Foskett Services 11
  12. 12. How Should You Engage? Focus on what, how, and why Don't be put off by honesty Show, don't tell Don't try to impress with titles and suits Appeals to authority usually backfire © Foskett Services 12
  13. 13. Quality Influencer Presentations • Get in the mind of the audience ▫ What content do they like to share? ▫ Who do they like to interact with? • Field Day Presentation Rules ▫ What is it? How does it work? What is it used for? ▫ Show it in action (demo time!) ▫ Answer questions when asked ▫ Skip the Bandwagon (customer “NASCAR slides”) ▫ Don’t Appeal to Authority (“Gartner says…”) © Foskett Services 13
  14. 14. My Take on Social Media Metrics • Most social media metrics are total BS! ▫ “Reach” is mostly nonsense ▫ There is no good measure of quality ▫ “People” metrics (Klout, top lists) are easily gamed • Most social sites produce horrid metrics so services aren’t much better • Beware of comparisons ▫ Big differences by hour, day, and time of year • You will know “great” when you see it © Foskett Services 14
  15. 15. I Don’t Really “Do” Metrics • I urge bloggers to ignore views and focus on engagement • I only measure and report solid numbers ▫ Quantity of tweets, posts, videos ▫ Comments and reactions ▫ Views and geography are useful for context • I only promise what I can control ▫ What can I and my staff produce? ▫ Can’t promise future results, only historic averages © Foskett Services 15
  16. 16. People Being Negative on the Internet! •More about the writer than the topic •Ignore and do not escalate Flame •Inevitable and helpful •They cared enough to look and write so engage behind the scenes Negative Review •Mixing the good with the bad demonstrates independence •Engage and nurture these credible writers Balanced Review •Everyone knows the score •Encourage them to be more objective Fanboy © Foskett Services 16
  17. 17. Quality Influencer Engagement Be a person, not a company Be transparent Say something interesting Be genuine Don’t barge in Have patience © Foskett Services 17
  18. 18. Common Influencer Mistakes Round up the usual suspects Build an "amplifier army" Trained spokespeople only! "Push this out for us" Embrace and absorb © Foskett Services 18
  19. 19. Making Your Event “Blogger Friendly” Make blogger passes available Offer hotel and airfare support Create a blogger- friendly agenda Let people where and when Introduce and interact Provide Wi-Fi, power, and a table Connect, engage, and promote © Foskett Services 19
  20. 20. Thank You! Stephen Foskett stephen@fosketts.net @SFoskett blog.fosketts.net TechFieldDay.com 20

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