Video:Tech Thought Leadership, Silicon Valley & Influencers

In this video, I sit down with Sarbjeet Johal, a Silicon Valley thought leader, and Tim Williams, CEO of Onalytica, to do a deep dive into tech thought leadership and the overall state of B2B influence. For more videos like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

The conversation was a result of Onalytica launching their new B2B Influencer Marketplace back in June 2021. And for reference, Onalytica is the only enterprise-level influencer marketing platform for B2B and technology brands.

After introductions, we talked about different ways to identify thought leaders and influencers and then media’s obsession with consumer brands on TikTok and Instagram. You can’t really blame them though right? With these hot, new platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and the beautiful photography and videos of abs, beautiful people and luxury jets and cars … well, that type of coverage drives clicks.

After introductions we discussed the state of influencer marketing report published by Onalytica; and then discussed various types of Silicon Valley influencers. On the surface level, there are influencers that are also content creators. They have initial thoughts, ideas and perspectives based on their personal experience. They share those thoughts and ideas within their personal networks, whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit or other platforms. This is tech thought leadership. They want to challenge the status quo, invent new ideas and approaches or deliver innovation.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are Silicon Valley influencers that are just content distributors. They specialize in curating thought leader’s content and provide their limited perspective on the topic at hand. They have very large social communities and are highly engaged. They also deliver mass amounts of engagement, reach and clicks.

Tech Thought Leadership

Both types of influencers are important. On one hand, and if you think about how to measure influence, one data point is to determine the influencer’s visibility in the Google search results as it relates to various content and topics. Thought leader’s content typically ranks on the first page of Google and sometimes within the top 3 to 5 result.

On the other hand, influencers that drive engagement do just that. They drive short term lift and visibility within the social networks.

Both types of influencers are important.

It’s critical to identify thought leaders and influencers that can deliver value, and ensure that you have different types of individuals you are collaborating with in order to achieve your business results.

So, imagine a brand influencer program where you partner with a tech thought leader to collaborate on a piece of content. That content can be a blog post, an ebook, or some type of video. Once the content is live, you can partner with content distributors to drive clicks, reach and engagement.

Lastly, there was a discussion about activating employees to be external influencers. I do know a lot about this topic. In 2017, I wrote a book called Participation Marketing: Activating Employees to be Brand Storytellers. I’ve worked with several large enterprise brands to scale and launch employee advocacy programs.

These employees can be technical subject matter expert’s and executives that can be empowered to drive tech thought leadership. In either case there is an opportunity to connect influencers with employees using various influencer engagement tactics.


Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.