It was once believed that working with a single tech influencer who has specialized knowledge, authority, and insight into a specific subject is sufficient to advertise a new solution. But is this dynamic is no longer the norm.
After analyzing over 100 profiles of AI developers and over 200 profiles of AI influencers they follow, we discovered an interesting pattern: as AI developers progress through their journey, they tend to follow and listen to different influencers in the tech and AI space.
AI Developer on the influencers in the field:
💭 “I would just search Content Creators’ names on YouTube or Google and refine my search to the last month. Anything before that will be missing a lot of recent contexts.”
Image generated with the help of DALL-E 2
Reasons AI Developers Follow AI Influencers
As companies settle into the reality that hybrid and remote work will dominate tech it also means that employees have less access to the community. And this change in work lifestyle is one of the reasons why tech influencers have become so popular and powerful - they provide a sense of community and support for AI developers, especially those who may work in isolation or in small teams.
Research shows, that AI developers watch tech influencers mainly to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the industry. These influencers often provide insights and perspectives that are not available through traditional sources, such as academic research or industry publications. By following tech influencers, AI developers can gain knowledge and inspiration for their own work, and stay informed about the latest tools, techniques, and best practices.
Influencers are sources of information on new products, services, and tools. Their reputation as successful tech leaders and deep technical knowledge are seen as essential by many in a fast transforming landscape.
Slide “Interests: Products and Service” from AI Developer User Persona Profile
Best performing type of content
100% of AI influencers Modev analyzed produce video content.
On the other hand, AI developers appreciate video content from influencers because it provides them with insights and perspectives that are not available through traditional sources. According to Modev's research study on the influencers in the AI space, educational content, in the form of videos and streams, is the type of content that gets the most impressions from AI developers at the Consideration stage of their Journey.
In fact, video content is becoming more popular among influencers, as seen in the rise of influencers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. According to a survey conducted by Wyzowl, 84% of people say that they've been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand's video. This only confirms that video content is an effective tool for influencers to communicate with their audience and for AI developers to learn about the latest trends and developments in the field.
Slide “Video Content” from AI Developer User Persona Profile
The audience perceives LinkedIn Live events as beneficial. These events are streamed on LinkedIn, allowing for real-time conversations in the comments section, and a recording is saved on the LinkedIn page or profile.
In the sample below we can see a stream by Alex Polorotov on Qlik Development Workflow. The stream gathered 290 attendees and when the Influencer, himself, has over 4K followers. While this may not be a high follower count by many standards, the live audience numbers are solid and an indication of the value of LinkedIn live.
Live stream on LinkedIn
Alex Polorotor is an example of an up and coming Influencer in the AI space
After analyzing more than a hundred social media profiles of AI developers and diving deep into the pool of information on the web, Modev discovered an interesting insight into the influencers and content creators that AI developers follow and, most importantly, trust - Success is not measured by the number of followers a tech influencer has, but rather by the type of content they produce.
Modev created a detailed journey map of the AI developer, highlighting how different types of influencers affect AI developers' decision-making processes.
Marketers used to select influencers for marketing campaigns based on their number of followers.
- Nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers)
- Micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers)
- Middle-influencers (50,000-500,000 followers)
- Macro-influencers (500,000-1 million followers)
- Celebrities (More than a million followers)
And it seems like everybody got used to the categorization above. However, the concept of using such categorization works differently now in the digital era of AI. There’s a shift from the number of followers to the type of content. AI Developers are looking specifically for informational and educational content. As we talked about in the previous article, they are Generalists and are eager to learn and discover the latest tools and solutions to solving their challenges.
Modev conducted an extensive research study on whom and why AI Developers follow online. We can categorize them as follows:
- AI Broadcaster - Provides info on new trends, industry news, an overview of the new tools, comparison of features, etc. A good overall, day-to-day headline summary.
- AI Educator/Scientist - A regular contributor to the online AI community (e.g., Discord, Reddit, or Slack); organizes offline meetups, code challenges, etc. Provides useful recommendations, and updates; answers questions.
- AI Practitioner / Community Expert - Course creator, Podcast host, and book author. Usually come from a scientific or academic background. They go into deep levels of complexity and explain the caveats.
- AI Celebrity - Founders and entrepreneurs who are widely respected in the AI community. AI pioneers.
First, Modev recommends leveraging a mix of influencers for both education and outreach. Each has their strength and will align to a specific goal for the indivisual and company.
- AI Broadcaster
- AI Practitioner / Community Expert
- AI Educator/Scientist
- AI Celebrity
These individuals provide insights and perspectives on the latest trends and developments in the industry and recommend tools and services for AI developers. Their opinion matters.
The highest impact campaign will happen when AI broadcasters, AI educators, community experts, and AI Celebrities collaborate to produce valuable content on behalf of your brand. This content can include educational videos, live streams, and tutorials, and each may play a different role in that process.
Furthermore, they may share information about upcoming events and conferences your company may organize or sponsor, providing opportunities for developers to learn from your company’s experts and network with peers. They may also share your research findings and insights into the latest techniques and best practices about your solutions, helping AI developers stay informed and up-to-date while keeping your brand at the forefront of technological innovation.
Second, moving from the title of “customer” to “influencer” can be a winning practice for your company.
Creating your own influencers can provide several benefits. One such benefit is that it allows you to give them access to early information, which can help them maintain their influence in the public eye.
Additionally, if influencers want to better understand a particular domain, you can provide them with early access to tools and knowledge. Ultimately, this creates a win-win situation for both the influencer and the organization. After providing the information and training, the influencer can then tell the story about the technology to their/your audience. In fact, Microsoft has successfully implemented this strategy, demonstrating its effectiveness in the industry.
And third, regardless of what you choose, you have to keep in mind that the content produced by tech Influencers should be useful for AI Developers in the first place.
💭 “To be fair, I learn what I need to learn when I need it in my job. I could spend all my free time trying out all these new tools, but if it's not something I need at the moment, I will never learn it deep enough to be relevant”.
We hope you found this journey map research helpful as you consider your own career or how to better market your platform. Come meet the developers, creatives, entreprenuers and companies shaping the future of AI at VOICE & AI Sept 5-7 in Washington, DC. Get your ticket here.
Modev believes that markets are made and thus focuses on bringing together the right ingredients to accelerate market growth. Modev has been instrumental in the growth of mobile applications, cloud, and generative AI, and is exploring new markets such as climate tech. Founded in 2008 on the simple belief that human connection is vital in the era of digital transformation, Modev makes markets by bringing together high-profile key decision-makers, partners, and influencers. Today, Modev produces market-leading events such as VOICE & AI, and the soon to be released Developers.AI series of hands-on training events. Modev staff, better known as "Modevators," include community building and transformation experts worldwide.