The power of non-media influencers in the tech industry

Question: Are non-media influencers just for the consumer industry? 

When considering these influencers, we often think of Instagram models posting pictures of their latest endorsed beauty product, or mummy bloggers blogging about the benefits of a new crib recently released. However, what we don’t consider are the respected tech bloggers, speakers and innovators who help to challenge and push the technology industry to be better.

As part of learning and development at Resonance, some of our and I attended the CIPR’s media relations training this year. While discussing how best to build and maintain important relationships with the press, the question of influencers arose. How important are non-media influencers in PR? How relevant are these influencers to the tech industry? Aside from traditional media outreach with journalists, how do I begin establishing relations with influencers?

We learned not to underestimate the power of a picture or post. Sent at the right time by the right person, such a post has the power to take a business from startup to stratospheric. While establishing traditional media relations with journalists is vital in PR, the rising Twitter stars and Instagram icons shouldn’t be ignored.

The now infamous Fyre Festival debacle, which was the most talked about festival experience of 2017 for all the wrong reasons, highlighted exactly how much influence the few can have on the many. With only an idea, a location, and a crowd of models slash social media influencers, the festival-that-never-was marketed itself to millions globally as the hottest music event in the world.

As the internet and social media continue to evolve, it is possible for anyone to break a story and to voice their opinions on a world-wide platform. However, with just 3% of people wielding an incredible 90% of online impact, connecting with the right influencers in your industry can help spread your business message to the masses.

Contrary to popular belief, influencers aren’t just for makeup brands and clothing lines. Big-hitters in the IT and Tech industries wield large social followings and important blog presences of their own. Bernard Marr, for example, is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, Big Data guru and has amassed over 115,000 followers on Twitter. His articles on Forbes are read by tens of thousands of AI-enthusiasts, and he is respected throughout the tech industry for his business and technical knowledge.

Influencers’ ability to influence comes from the established emotional connection with their followers; they are looked up to and listened to. Our training taught us how important finding the emotion in a story is, and influencers’ established networks give businesses a more emotionally invested platform to communicate directly with individual people.

Influencers add an instant human element to any story, whether that’s through a Twitter recommendation, a direct endorsement, or a mention in a blog. It’s proven that when influencers talk, we listen. Product endorsements are 11 times more likely to call consumers to action than banner ads, and Twitter reports that people trust influencers almost as much as their friends. As both the attainable and the unattainable figure, influencers add an authenticity to business associates, and there are many ways to begin connecting with them.

First, it is vital to understand who in your field is particularly influential. Kylie Jenner, model, makeup entrepreneur and member of the infamous Kardashian-Jenner family, has 126m Instagram followers, but might not be the best person to blog about the latest cloud innovation or blockchain breakthrough!

In the world of B2C, non-media influencers come in all shapes and sizes, but often operate by endorsing products, reviewing goods, and blogging about their brand experiences. Often, these influencers are represented by an agency, and this almost always means a fee for endorsement. This fee can range anywhere from a free trial or product, to millions of pounds in sponsorship costs, depending on the influencer in question’s reach and relevance.

For B2B, non-media influencers are bit harder to discern. Popular Forbes contributors, technology intellectuals, analysts, bloggers, and tech superstars on social media are all potentially disruptive and effective influencers. These individuals may be less interested in receiving a monetary fee for their services, and can often equally benefit from working with establish tech businesses by expanding their scope and credibility.

Sometimes, non-media influencers meet in the middle of B2C and B2B. In the blockchain bubble of 2017, self-professed ‘influencers’ were charging huge amounts of money to promote new coins and endorse emerging crypto businesses on their YouTube channels.

It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before employing a non-media influencer – in the B2C world, influencer endorsements equal sales, but in B2B it’s harder to measure their direct impact. Influencers shouldn’t be discounted for this reason, but how success is measured from collaborations may need to be considered. 

Non-media influencers have more than earned their place in the PR and Marketing industry, and wield a lot of power and influence in the tech sector. They are equally as important as journalists when considering campaigns, new products and press releases, and should be incorporated into PR plans, where relevant, as much as possible.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs, including how to utilise social media data in your PR stories, our best tips for media relations and how to capitalise on a corporate event. 

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