Incorporating Social Media Metrics into Your Measurement Program – A SageCircle Webinar

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSome of today’s new challenges for AR teams are how to determine if there is value to monitoring analyst opinions on blogs, Twitter, and social networks like LinkedIn; how to do the monitoring; and how to use the information gathered to create meaningful metrics. To help analyst relations teams be proactive with the emerging measurement requirements for social media, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on providing the tools and insights needed to efficiently collect, analyze and report social media metrics. 

This webinar is designed to teach you how to measure analyst social media traffic, the various methods for automating your social media monitoring for effective data gathering, and ways to measure both the mentions and the tonality.  We will discuss how to incorporate social media into your balanced scorecard and provide concise reporting to executives.

Key Issues to be addressed in this webinar include:

  • How do social media metrics fit into the overall AR measurement and reporting program?
  • What are the social media metrics needed for both performance and operational measurements?
  • What are the best practices for collecting social media metrics?
  • What are the approaches for reporting on social media activities and outcomes, either as standalone reports or as part of a broader reporting structure?

In this SageCircle Webinar, our strategists will provide a succinct analysis of Continue reading

Just because they are not tweeting does not mean they are not lurking

icon-social-media-blue.jpgA common refrain that SageCircle strategists hear runs along the lines of “Yeah, there are a lot of analysts in your Analyst Twitter Directory but a lot of them never tweet. So they don’t count.” 

It is not uncommon for SageCircle strategists to receive an email from an analyst or analyst relations (AR) professional starting with “I saw your tweet…” When we check the Twitter page of the sender it’s not unusual to find someone who rarely or never tweets.

Tying the two stories together provides a lesson that just because an analyst has a Twitter handle and is not tweeting does not mean they are inactive. They could be what Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff described in Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies as “lurkers” or “spectators.” Those analysts who you think don’t count could be reading your and your colleague’s tweets, learning and forming opinions.

SageCircle Technique:

It’s in the AR plan – social media should not be considered “special,” but just a regular activity

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWe have written on a number of occasions that social media is not some big special deal, but rather just another tool in the analyst and analyst relations (AR) tool box. For that reason, there should not be some special plan for social plan with all sorts of meetings and review sessions set up. Rather social media should just be incorporated into daily activities and your AR Strategic and Tactical Plan.

You do have an AR plan, don’t you?

Your strategic AR plan, the one with the charter and objectives, lists of all interactions types to be used for each purpose, service levels by analyst tier, calendar and priorities? Ok, unfair question. Many AR teams are so under the gun that a well-done AR plan is often considered a luxury. The main point is that social media (e.g., blogs, Twitter, communities, LinkedIn and so on) should not be considered something big and special – which means they won’t be embraced until the “plan is ready” – but merely just additional forms of interactions to add to the mix.

Obviously, the various types of social media are still new to many individuals and AR teams. As a consequence, there is a learning curve to climb and a process you will need to go through to adopt these new forms of interactions. However, social media are not “special,” just like e-mail is not special. Oh, those folks that have been around for awhile will no doubt remember when there was heated debate whether e-mail was an appropriate form of interaction with analysts.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Educate yourself about social media, including setting up accounts and playing with various types
  • Review which of your analysts are currently using Continue reading

Forrester adds 20 analysts to Analyst Twitter directory and dozens of contributors to the role-based team blogs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgForrester gives us yet more data that social media is being adopted by the major firms. Twenty additional Forrester analysts were added to Analyst Twitter Directory since the August 14th update. The 58 additions to the Forrester Blog Directory are equally interesting but not as time compressed as we had not updated the directory in some time. Here are some observations.

Research associates are using social media to raise their profiles. Research associates are those folks that do a lot of the grunt work when it comes to analyst research projects. They might get an occasional byline mention, but do not have an entry on the official analyst bio page. We have noticed that some savvy research associates are using blogs and Twitter to start building their personal brands. For instance, the Sourcing & Vendor Management role blog had been dormant all year with zero posts until early July when three new contributors revived the blog. When we started adding the contributors to the Forrester Blog Directory we noticed that none were analysts, rather they were all research associates. In addition, there are some research associates who are also tweeting. We include research associates in the directories because some will be promoted into full analyst status some day.

Not all analysts named as contributing to Forrester blogs are really blogging. We noticed several cases where two or more analysts are on the byline of a particular blog post, but that is the only time that they appear in all the blogs. The blog posts in question were obvious official responses to a Continue reading

Should AR respond to an analyst blog post or dismiss it? The answer is “Yes.”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgNext question? Seriously, this is not an either/or decision but one based on the circumstances of a particular blog post and governed by the communications policy and decision process that the analyst relations (AR) team has put into place.

There are many factors that will go into a decision framework to determine whether and how to respond to an analyst blog. These include visibility of the blog and individual post, relevance of the analyst, relevance of the topic, intensity of the opinion expressed, perceived motivation of the analyst, and so on.

Likewise, there are options for how AR responds to an analyst blog post. In some situations, AR can and should ignore responding to a post. In others, AR should pick up the phone and call the analyst or send an email. In yet other cases, AR should leave a comment on the blog post to correct factual errors. On other occasions, AR will find it useful to engage in a comment-based, asynchronous “conversation” to not just correct errors but to discuss differences of opinion when it comes to the analysis in the post. If the vendor or AR team has an appropriate blog, it can also be a platform for responding to an analyst’s blog post.

The one thing that AR cannot do is ignore analyst blogging and tweeting. AR needs to monitor all forms of Continue reading

Is social media today the grain of sand that will become tomorrow’s pearl in the analyst ecosystem?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile getting significant buzz, the use of social media in the analyst ecosystem is still at a nascent stage. Some analysts and AR professionals are making interesting use of blogs, Twitter, and so on, but for the most part social media is just being played with a little or being ignored all together. Those members of the ecosystem who are not seriously looking at social media might wake up one day to find that social media has become a force and they are seriously and dangerously behind the curve. 

A natural pearl occurs when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, gets inside an oyster’s shell which the oyster cannot expel. The oyster then starts to secrete a mixture of aragonite and conchiolin in minute layers around the irritant to coat it and reduce the irritation. Over time, many many layers of coating transform the grain of sand into a beautiful pearl. This is an apt metaphor for social media because definitely some members of the community, analysts and AR teams, consider social media an irritant and have yet see the slow transformation that is happening around it.

Major changes in a market or form of communications are often not via a big bang, but by the accretion of little changes that reach a critical mass. The individuals or companies who benefit the most from these changes are Continue reading

Analysts chattering on Twitter – the genie is out of the bottle

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThere is an interesting blog post by Redmonk analyst James Governor on Industry analyst relations and Twitter: The Dark Side and a related one by Marketing Strategies for IT Vendors analyst Merv Adrian AR: Tiering Analysts Is Good, But Don’t Play Childish Games. These posts bring up several issues (e.g., tiering analyst lists, confidentiality, and transparency), but the one we want to address in this post is the issue of analysts tweeting about planned vendor briefings and how some AR professionals would prefer analysts not to do so. 

Both Merv (“But this “pssst…don’t tell anyone we’re talking” thing is something else entirely. It smacks of gamesmanship…”) and James (“The first rule of vendor briefings is… don’t talk about vendor briefings. That is just crazy.”) do not like the idea of being asked not to tweet about an upcoming vendor briefing. To a certain extent they have a point. Being asked not to tweet runs counter to the whole ethos of social media and sharing information. However, some analysts are using their tweeting as a marketing tool by in essence saying “See how important I am? I am getting briefed by Acme Software! Don’t you want to brief me too?”

While we see the analysts’ perspective, these and other analysts with the same opinion are not looking at from the vendor’s point-of-view. Knowing that a vendor is briefing an analyst provides AR at a competitor with valuable competitive intelligence. In fact, harvesting useful intelligence about what a competitor is doing with the analysts is one of the reasons SageCircle teaches vendors why AR teams need to be on Twitter and other forms of social media. However, there is an underlying tension with wanting information about your competitor, but not having information about your activities publicly disseminated.

So in this brave new world there are implications for both AR and analysts.

Analyst relations – Get over it. The Twitter genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to stuff that critter back. AR needs to adapt to the changed environment by deciding how to deal with Continue reading

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