1. Much of what information technology (IT) buyers and users buy and use is heavily influenced by the opinions and analysis of people known collectively as industry analysts (including me, at least sometimes).
2. IT vendors invest significant resources in developing relationships with and attempting to influence the opinions of these analysts, a practice known as "analyst relations" (and sometimes called "influencing the influencers").
3. The Web and social media tools and networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Twitter make other buyers, other users, vendors and others at least as influential as traditional industry analysts.
4. Traditional analyst relations methods are becoming increasingly ineffective and irrelevant, as the expansion of influencers beyond analysts continues and accelerates.
5. Business success is increasingly less merely "transactional" and far more "social" and "conversational," driven by repeated interactions that build credibility, familiarity and trust.
6. Analyst relations must take a similar evolutionary pathway to succeed, especially as independent analysts, "boutique" analyst firms and the numbers and types of influencers grow.
7. Specifically, vendors must broaden their views of influencers beyond analysts, then build with those influencers the same social and conversational relationships those vendors are adopting with customers and prospects.
8. In addition, vendors must use modern media and improved processes and techniques to evangelize to customers, influencers, partners and prospects – to engage, inform, persuade and invite them to "buy in," sometimes literally.
9. The game has changed, from "analyst relations" to what I'm fancifully calling "social influencer relations (and) evangelism" or "SIRE," because three-letter acronyms (TLAs) are so over.
10. Except for the "SIRE" part, it's not just me saying these things – check out the roundtable podcast featuring Jonny Bentwood, Barbara French, Carter Lusher and Jeremiah Owyang, people you should know if you don't, at http://bit.ly/SocAnalyst, the survey recently conducted by Vocus and Brian Solis at http://www.vocus.com/social-media/influencer/what-makes-an-influencer.pdf and thoughts from a blog entry of mine featuring PR maven Cheryl Snapp Conner, at http://bit.ly/bn7Tjr.
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