This week I spoke with my long-time colleague and friend, David Clarke. Now, many of you will be unaware of David, likewise many of you will be unaware of b2b influencer marketing and what goes into it, allow us to delve a little deeper and expound.
I first “met” David around 6-7 years ago, when I began my efforts in the b2b space and was tasked with researching, strategising and developing a programme for a b2b tech business. This particular business had/has a vested interest in technology and programs with a focus on the secure elements that those resources require.
I began my search on one of the two b2b related social media resources I believed would yield results – Twitter. My understanding at that time was that high followership meant high engagement…yeah, sort of, but not quite – as we all know, but didn’t then.
Anyway, a manual search ensued. Search – #data, #dataprotection, #cybersecurity, etc, etc.
Some hours later, my list of potential #datasecurity specialists was looking strong – 20+ names, all with 10,000-70,000 followers, good engagement, lots of regular posting and, from a novice point of view, a chance for some good partnerships.
One of the first DMs I sent was to a man named David (this bodes well, I thought) – David Clarke. David had, at that time, approximately 50,000+ followers and to be honest, the idea that a professional security expert, with so many followers would reply to my DMs, let alone agree to participate in a rather rudimentary and infant influencer programme seemed a little far-fetched, but, If you don’t ask, you don’t get…so I asked.
David responded to my DMs promptly and politely. Good so far. Next came the call. I borrowed a meeting room, dialled the number provided and fully expected the swift brush-off, but it never came and rarely does in b2b influencer marketing, you might be surprised to know.
David was and is a consummate professional and one of the politest people I have ever met in this business.
So, with our introductions completed, we began to work on a b2b influencer marketing programme that resulted in a Silver Award and continues to reap results to this day.
With my preamble complete, I’d like to introduce you to data security and gdpr expert, David Clarke FBCS CITP.
How did you start-out in the data security and protection sector? (educational background and first steps into the business)
Thanks David, I had previously worked on a number of MOD projects for a few years then had the opportunity to build and implement Multi Factor Authentication systems used for remote access and working, then had the opportunity of working for the vendor of these systems. It also helped that I had built these systems and conventional networks on a pretty massive scale as at that time it was all pretty new in commercial environments. I’ve been lucky to have had responsibility for operational security on the world largest private trading network, trading 3.5 Trillion dollars a day , and managed service delivery on a Global Managed Security Service provider.
What made you start your Twitter account, did you have assistance, how did you grow our following and who have you met that made a difference to your career and business?
I started my twitter account 2013 as I thought this could be a unique time where Twitter users can make you famous and I can make them famous, also many people thought at that time Twitter wouldn’t last so it was a gamble whether to put the effort in.
I read everything I could about twitter, I bought l every book I could find on Twitter , and I had some mentorship from one of the authors which helped me enormously as that extra 5% of knowledge made all the difference.
It made a difference as when I talk to potential clients often the first 15 minutes is discussing Twitter, it can create a sales preheat open doors and access to super clients.
When did you first hear about influencer marketing and were you surprised to find-out that you were one too?
Not sure exactly it seemed to be about 2016/2017 , yes I didn’t really understand it , I also started my GDPR Linkedin Group end of 2016 , I was really amazed when I had 200 members , it’s now the biggest GDPR group, at that time 2016 the biggest group had almost 3000 members , my group is now the biggest GDPR group 19100+ members on linkedin by about 5000 members !
I am still surprised I am considered an influencer!
How often are you approached to take part in an influencer activation and do you charge for your participation?
I do a fair amount of conferences /Keynotes and Webinars maybe one or two a month ( more since covid) , yes I do sometimes charge though it does depend on the situation.
Many influencer events in the b2b space involve physical meets. With the advent of Covid-19, what differences have you seen regarding your influencer activation participation?
Yes plenty of Online conferences and events, webinars actually it probably has been about one or more a week, Also my podcast has gained some traction and which is better than I expected.
You are a GDPR expert. Can you give us a clear and succinct understanding of the regulation?
Thanks, I am not sure anyone is an expert! This Regulation GDPR/Data Protection Act UK 2018 is based on decades of previous legislation that puts the data subject far more in control of their own personal data than ever before.
What are your key take-aways from your involvement in influencer work and how has it benefited you and your business interests?
It enables me to meet many great people such as yourself from very different industries which is incredible.
I often get to work with some great experts on amazing projects and with some great entrepreneurs.
I’ve been able to help people, special initiatives and companies pro bono.
I’ve learnt loads, Social media changes all the time.
Be sure to follow David Clarke on Twitter and LinkedIn and check-out his latest piece on How GDPR affects American Companies!