Forrester’s Ray Wang on analyst usage of social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgRay dropped by the analyst and AR meet up that SageCircle hosted on Monday, January 12, 2009 in the Silicon Valley. We asked Ray (blog, Twitter handle) to explain how he uses social media in his job.

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Role of social media in uncovering the Gartner and AMR analyst layoffs

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe last few days have been interesting regarding the layoffs at Gartner and AMR. Laying off workers (about 1% of analysts for Gartner so far), canceling unprofitable events (such as Spring Symposium), and so on are so typical for any company in this economic environment. In fact, more layoffs or other services cancelations would not be atypical. 

However, what makes this situation more interesting is the role social media played in bringing the layoffs to the attention of stakeholders in the analyst ecosystem. In the past the analyst firms were able to get away with keeping layoffs under the radar screen because any one client, end user or vendor, would only discover “missing” analysts that they personally interacted with on a regular basis. This process of discovering missing analysts would also occur over days or weeks because few clients have frequent contacts with multiple analysts. When layoffs occurred under the radar nobody got the big picture about all the departures and put the pieces together.

Well, that approach ended on Friday. SageCircle became the hub for information about reports of layoffs and then fed that back to the AR community via Twitter, Facebook and our blog. Our raising the issue then got us more data points via Twitter and email. Very quickly we were able to ascertain that the departures were not just the usual turnover in the employee base, but job actions by AMR and Gartner affecting a number of analysts.

Certainly, Twitter and other social media have been used in other breaking news instances, including natural disasters or terrorist related. However, most members in the analyst ecosystem have been laggards when it comes to adopting social media. This might be the first case of Twitter, Facebook and an AR blog being used to Continue reading

AR & recession – Using social media expertise to improve AR job hunting

icon-social-media-blue.jpgUnfortunately there are AR professionals who are getting caught up in recession-related layoffs. While this is never a pleasant occurrence, AR professionals have new tools for maintaining their network and seeking new positions.  In addition to updating resumes and posting them to places such as this blog AR professionals should use this time to increase their expertise by developing or honing their social media skills. 

SageCircle Technique:

  • Set up a blog (it’s free) mainly to provide an on-line backgrounder on yourself, but also to do an occasional post (two or three times a month) to show off your writing skills and expertise on AR
  • Create or update your LinkedIn and FaceBook Continue reading

SageCircle featured in Public Relations Tactics magazine

PR Tactics MagazineSageCircle was the featured expert in Are You Ready? Socializing Analyst Relations by Ryan Zuk published this week’ “Public Relations Tactics,” a publication of the PRSA. 

This is a good article with quotes from Gartner’s Scott Nelson and former Forrester analysts Charlene Li as well.

To read more about how social media is impacting the analysts and AR please check out this blog’s social media category, which will link you to more than 50 posts.

Bottom Line: Social media is starting to edge into mainstream usage as a communications tool to use with influencers. While not relevant for the entire analyst community, AR teams should start experimenting with social media today to ensure you are ready to exploit it to the fullest potential when appropriate.

Question: Have you incorporated social media in your AR toolbox yet, even at the experimental level? If not, why not?

SageCircle has a full lineup of advice and best practices in the Online SageContentTM Library as well as training available to help AR teams get up-to-speed on the fast changing social media and AR landscape. Give us a call to learn more how we can help you.

The Volume of Analyst Publishing and Quotes

In the “Metrics – Written Word Audits” section of the Online SageContentTM Library we recommended that AR establish a multi-faceted program to capture and analyze analyst opinions – in as near real-time as practical. This is easier said than done because the sheer volume of research and quotes being generated is growing as new forms of publishing opinion (e.g., blogs and Twitter) are added to the traditional methods. 

While browsing some research, it becomes quickly apparent that there is a huge range of research documents, not all of which need to be monitored by AR. Some research is teeming with opinions that could sway technology buyers, while other research merely provides simple product or market descriptions. Length does not correlate to volume of opinions; single page flashes can present more opinions on multiple vendors, multiple products, and markets than a 30-page report.

Blogs and Twitter add new complexity to Continue reading

65% of analysts think that social media can be useful for AR and analysts

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis was another of many surprises for us from our survey of analyst about social media. That only 6% of analysts said “No” (n=257) was interesting because most of the text comments left for this question were negative. So the analysts who do not like the idea of interacting using social media really don’t like it.

Another “ah ha” was that only 17% were put off by the idea of AR including other analysts’ research or videos with analysts in the AR blogs (n=214). Also, 50% “would find it interesting to see what other analysts are saying about the vendor.” Who Continue reading

77% of industry analysts would read AR blogs, if…

…”they had relevant, useful, timely information.” There is always a catch, eh?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgFrankly, this percentage is significantly higher than we would have guessed before we conducted our survey of thousands of industry analysts. Even though we are ardent proponents of AR using social media, we expected that many in the analyst community might be adopting a “wait and see” attitude at best. However, we were pleasantly surprised that many analysts said they would read AR blogs. Here is the full question and percentage replies:

Question:     I would read vendor AR blogs if they had relevant, useful, timely information (pick one)

  • 20% – Yes, regularly
  • 31% – Yes, occasionally
  • 26% – Yes, episodically related to major news or announcement coverage
  •   5% – No, because I do not read blogs
  •   8% – No, because I do not have time
  •   9% – No, because most vendor blogs are a waste of time
  •   1% – Undecided

This would indicate there is an obvious opportunity for AR teams to Continue reading

Thinkbalm is holding analyst office hours in Second Life

Thinkbalm (see Q&A) analyst Erica Driver is holding office hours in Second Life at 12 pm US ET on Friday October 3, 2008 and Friday October 10, 2008. The meeting will be held in the ThinkBalm Innovation Community brainstorming space, located on the Vio II simulation.

Analyst Twitter Directory breaks 200 mark and other news

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIf you have not checked out the Analyst Twitter Directory lately you might want to take a look. Over the last few weeks we have seen a significant number of additions as analysts are starting to evaluate Twitter.

A new member of the SageCircle directory portfolio is the AR Contractor Directory. Listings are free so I you do AR contracting or know someone who does, please contact us to be included. info [at] sagecircle dot com.

Don’t forget that if you are an analyst relations (AR) professional and you have a Twitter handle then you should be in the AR Twitter Directory. Just send us your twitter handle and we’ll add you to the directory. Follow Carter at @carterlusher and Dave at @daveeckert

Last, but not least, is the Vendor Analyst Events listing. If you have an analyst summit or analyst conference coming up, this year or next, please let us know. The value for AR to participate in this listing is avoid the problem of scheduling conflicts that hurt everybody.

Update on Gartner’s expanded blogging initiative – activity and copyright policy

icon-social-media-blue.jpgUpdate 10/3/08: Gartner Fellow Darly Plummer has posted his first piece On the Death of 20th Century thinking! Now only two “phase one” analyst blogs have not been updated.

Update 9/30/08: Kudos to David Mitchell Smith for his post A Tale of Two Clouds that links to a Forrester research note and other non-Gartner commentators. Nice to see a Gartnerian getting into the spirit of blogging by bringing in other’s points-of-view, even competitors.

Update 9/30/08: Steve Prentice has posted his initial entry.

It is two weeks into Gartner’s new analyst blog network. While there has been some commentary about how it will never succeed and so on, I decided to actually evaluate the activity to see what is happening.

The blog network launched on September 15 with 45 blogs, many of which only had the default “Hello World!” post. Since then three blogs have been deleted and two added. One of the deleted blogs was Jackie Fenn’s, which she confirmed in an email to SageCircle was done to drive traffic to the blog for “Mastering the Hype” book that she co-authored with Mark Raskino. Mark recently put a note on his blog that he was also going to focus on the “Mastering the Hype Cycle” blog and will not be posting to his personal blog for the near future.

Of the 44 active blogs, there are now four blogs that have not deleted the default “Hello World!” posts and added real content (see list below). Yesterday, there were five like that, but one of those analysts added a post overnight. In general, there is reasonable Continue reading

What AR should blog about – common questions

icon-social-media-blue.jpgA frequent comment that SageCircle gets when discussing AR blogs with AR managers is “But I don’t have anything to write about.” Horsefeathers! Not surprising, we think there is a nearly infinite number of interesting, useful topics to discuss. Some topics just fall in your lap, making it really easy to whip up a quick post.

Harkening back to what Mike Braude, one of my many research mentors early in my Gartner analyst career, use to say “If you get the same question twice, write a research note” – in this case, if you get a similar question from different analysts, write a blog post. These are great subjects because obviously there is a lack of knowledge or confusion about the topic, thus they rank high on the usefulness scale. The answers should also be easy to Continue reading

Get onboard the AR social media train

Q&A with Gartner about the new Gartner Blog Network

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThe new Gartner Blog Network is generating some interesting buzz in the analyst ecosystem (see Gartner ups the ante on analyst blogging – maybe 50 new bloggers). To learn more about what Gartner is up with this new initiative, SageCircle interviewed Andrew Spender, Gartner’s VP of Corporate Communications, via email.

SageCircle: Andrew, thank you for participating in this interview.

SageCircle: Why the change in policy?

Andrew Spender: Participating in social media represents an opportunity for Gartner analysts to evolve their means and style of personal interaction with technology users and providers, business leaders, opinion leaders, journalists and many others interested in the business of technology.

SageCircle: Will analyst blogs be considered official Gartner published research? Or will blogs more like Gartner Voice podcasts where it is clearly stated at the beginning that the podcast “does not constitute published Gartner research”?

Blog posts represent the personal opinion of the Gartner analyst. As such, they do not reflect Gartner official published research. They may, where applicable, refer back to published Gartner research.

SageCircle: Will analysts be encouraged to blog or is this just a personal option for individual analysts to decide?

It is up to the individual analyst to Continue reading

Announcing “Introduction to Blogging for AR,” a special SageCircle webinar

While there are hundreds of analysts that blog, the big dog in the analyst market has been a Chihuahua not a mastiff in the blogosphere, even discouraging its analysts from having personal blogs. However, that is changing in a big way as news has gotten out that Gartner has upped the ante on analyst blogging by encouraging analysts to start blogging with 47 blogs already on the new Gartner Blog Network (see below for list with links) with more being launched. What is even more interesting is that Gartner is encouraging its analysts participate in the online conversation by leaving comments on blogs – we found this out after a Gartner analyst left a comment on the SageCircle blog. This new emphasis on blogging by Gartner brings up a number of key issues for AR: 

  1. Are you prepared to monitor analyst blogs?
  2. Are you prepared to engage the analysts via their blogs?
  3. Are you prepared to use an AR blog to engage the analysts?
  4. Are you prepared for the analysts to “go around” you and Continue reading

Gartner ups the ante on analyst blogging – maybe 50 new bloggers

icon-social-media-blue.jpg

Update 9/15/08 10:30 am PT: Gartner launched the Gartner Blog Network today with 47 analyst blogs (though not all have posted their first post yet). You can find a link and a list of blogs in this post Announcing “Introduction to Blogging for AR,” a special SageCircle webinar

Update 9/12/08 1:43 pm PT: Gartner analyst Andrew Frank (via Twitter) gives us some detail about the launch of the new Gartner blog network: “stay tuned for details from next week’s Web Innovation conference in LA

It took a Forrester analyst (Jeremiah Owyang naturally, first in a tweet and later in a blog post) to give the analyst ecosystem the heads up about an interesting change in policy at Gartner.

Gartner’s Gene Phifer in a blog post about virtualization dropped this intriguing piece of information:

“…Now that Gartner has adopted a Web participation policy for its analyst community, I am allowed to join the blogosphere.  It’s about time! …” 

Later in a response to comments, Gene added in a comment:

“Thanks to all for the welcome aboard. Several of us have been chomping at the bit to get out into the blogosphere. Stay tuned–the last I heard about 50 Gartner analysts will be joining me.

We are still working out some logistical details, so don’t be surprised if we have some sputters at first. For example, I hear that I may be moving my blog to another site. But the good news is that we are now blogging, and you will soon see a large number of Gartner analysts with their own blogs.”

50 more blogging Gartner analysts! This is both great news and scary news for analyst relations (AR) professionals. This is potentially great news because Continue reading

Why is it that more analyst blogging is better?

This morning I got an interesting tweet from Forrester analyst John Rymer (bio, Twitter handle): 

            “@carterlusher why is more analysts blogging better?”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgJohn was responding to my reply to a comment (“Good news, Gartner is allowing analysts to blog @carterlusher will be thrilled”) by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, blog, Twitter handle).  This comment pointed out Gartner analyst Gene Phifer’s (bio, blog, Twitter handle) post about how Gartner analysts are now permitted to have a personal-branded blog. I don’t know if I was thrilled, but I did say “Excellent, the more analysts blogging the better.” Thus, John’s question.

Hmm, that is a good question. My initial thought was “well of course it’s better because blogging is good.” It took me about two seconds to discard that answer as glib and dumb. The real answer is Continue reading

Q&A from SageCircle’s “Introduction to Twitter for AR” webinar – Firm handles, retweet, protocols and more

icon-social-media-blue.jpgAt the four sessions of the “Introduction to Twitter for AR” webinar held in August, there were some interesting questions that came up. Here are answers to some of the questions.

Shameless Marketing – If you missed the webinar, you can schedule a SageCircle “AR Briefing” on Twitter for you and your colleagues. Click here for a brochure or contact us at 650-274-8309 for more information.

Q: What about firms that follow you? Do you recommend letting them follow you? (e.g., Gartner)

A: Firm handles (e.g., @forrester, @Gartner_inc and @the451group) are typically used to promote the firm. For example, @the451group is used to announce research note publications and @Gartner_inc is used by the Gartner PR team as a press release wire. @forrester is often used at Forrester events to facilitate info to attendees and accept questions during sessions. There is little or no downside to letting them follow you. On the other hand, you should carefully consider whether you should follow them. Because they are marketing tools, they could add clutter to your timeline without necessarily giving you useful information.

Q: Why retweet? To pass along a tweet to others?

A: Retweets are used for a couple of purposes. One is to give your reply some context by including Continue reading

Forrester analyst comments on Gartner research

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile single practitioner analysts or analysts at boutiques will occasionally comment on the research done at the major firms (often in a snide tone), it is rare for an analyst at a major firm to acknowledge something from a major competitor. Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang (Twitter handle, poster child for tech analysts using social media) does just that in Understanding Gartner’s “Generation Virtual”. Jeremiah – fairly, in a professional tone – highlights the research and points out where he agrees or disagrees with Gartner’s conclusions. My only quibble is that rather than focusing on just the Gartner research, Jeremiah might have also contrasted the Gartnerian model with Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder.

Bottom Line: One way for major analyst firms to cut through the clutter of the competing voices on the Web could be to Continue reading

Using social media as a research tool is not the end all, be all even for social computing analysts

icon-social-media-blue.jpgIn another example of his radical transparency – at least for an analyst at a major firm – Jeremiah Owyang posted How crowdsourcing helps some – but not all research activities that discusses how he uses both social media-based and traditional Forrester research methodologies. It is an interesting read.

This post provides insights for analyst relations (AR) professionals into how a leading edge analyst is leveraging social media today as a research tool. These insights could prove useful as Continue reading

Non-analysts from firms on Twitter

There are Twittering non-analysts at analyst firms like AMR, Forrester and Gartner that SageCircle currently does not include in the Analyst Twitter Directory. These include public relations professionals and the Forrester AR Council team (who signed up for Twiter en masse earlier this week) . How should we treat these non-analyst staff?

One approach would be to have sections in Continue reading

Time to Vote! SageCircle’s bracket now up on the PRWeek website

As we mentioned earlier in the week, SageCircle has been nominated to be part of PRWeek’s 10th Anniversary PR blog competition. Just getting nominated is a honor and we hope we can use this competition to highlight the value of PR and AR cooperating and collaborating. But we need your help! Please visit the PRweek page and vote for good old SageCircle.

It is super easy and does not require registration or anything else to vote. A couple of clicks and you’ll be finished.

To vote: 

  • Visit the PRweek 10th Anniversary page www.prweekus.com/Tenth-Anniversary/section/404/
  • Scroll down to the blog competition section where you will see four voting boxes with pie charts
  • SageCircle is in the lower left box
  • Click on “Sage Circle” to vote

Time is of the essence. The voting bracket that SageCircle is in will only be up for a couple of days. The previous bracket was suppose to be up through tonight, but they jumped the gun and put our bracket up a day early, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to vote for more than just today, so please visit now.

A big Thanks! to everybody.

PS: There is still time to sign up for the SageCircle Webinar “Introduction to Twitter” (click for info and agenda). You can register by clicking here or visiting www.sagecircle.com/

Do you really want PR to own social media for your company?

icon-social-media-blue.jpgInteresting post by Jason Falls on his Social Media Explorer blog: Social Media Is The Responsibility Of Public Relations.

Oh, really?

SageCircle believes that PR and AR – and other outbound communications functions – have different goals and techniques and each needs to address their tactics to their unique audiences.  This means that AR needs to voice its opinion and support its own needs regarding company policies.

While there is plenty to debate on this issue (e.g., Where does Social Media live in the organization?), the purpose of this post is to encourage analyst relations (AR) teams be active participants in internal discussions about the role of social media in their companies.

SageCircle Technique

  • Educate yourself about social media
  • Determine what role social media will play in AR activities in the near and Continue reading

Forrester buying Jupiter – smart, but not a big deal

There has been commentary in the blogosphere about the larger meaning of Forrester’s acquisition of JupiterResearch. Typically this commentary has focused on points like the analyst industry is consolidating and that major firms are losing relevance and influence in the age of blogs and other social media. It is our opinion that this commentary is wrong and that the acquisition of Jupiter by Forrester does not portend some deep consolidation of the analyst industry due to the rise of the blogosphere, rather it is business as usual. 

To get some perspective, let’s look at a little history of the analyst industry.

Analyst firms have long used acquisitions to fill gaps in coverage and geography or pick up client bases. For example, in the last 15 years since Gartner went public for the second time, it has made over 70 acquisitions to pick up expertise in specialized coverage, get into new markets (e.g., learning software), and to broaden its footprint in Continue reading

Announcing “Introduction to Twitter,” a special SageCircle webinar

After we sent out the email last week about the AR Twitter Directory, we received a great response from tweeting AR professionals that wanted to be added to the directory and page views were quite high. However, we also got a lot of emails along with comments like: 

            “I only have a vague notion of what twitter is!”

            “I’m thinking about trying out Twitter soon”

            “Would like to, but how do I get started?”

            “How do I find the time?”

            “I’m a bit skeptical about it …”

            “…unfortunately I am not hip to the Twitter scene yet …”

There are over 120 analysts in the Analyst Twitter Directory with new names being added weekly. So if some of your top analysts are on Twitter, shouldn’t you be on Twitter as well?  To help out AR professionals and teams get started with Twitter, SageCircle is announcing a new public webinar focused on using and understanding this bleeding edge form of communication.

In this SageCircle AR Webinar, we will provide you with succinct and actionable information that will help you get up-to-speed on Twitter as a user, and help you understand the implications for AR. The agenda for the 90-minute session includes:

  1. What is micro-blogging and Twitter
  2. How are analysts and AR professionals using Twitter
  3. Getting started on Twitter
  4. Tips on being an efficient Twitter user
  5. Setting up an Continue reading

Answering “10 Questions Analyst Relations Have on Social Media” Part 2

icon-social-media-blue.jpgRecently Jeremiah Owyang, a Forrester analyst that covers social media, spoke to a group of AR and PR professionals at a large vendor in the Silicon Valley about the use of social media. Of course, Jeremiah being Jeremiah, he posted about the meeting in 10 Questions Analyst Relations Have About Social Media. The post is interesting in that Jeremiah did not try to answer the questions he recorded, so SageCircle is going to provide our take on the answers.

The following questions were answered in part 1:

  1. Is social media a medium to influence the influencers?
  2. Are influencers impacted by social media usage of clients, vendors, and media?
  3. Now that many are creating their own messages is message control realistic?
  4. Can AR and PR benefit from listening to social media?
  5. Can AR and PR benefit from using social media to talk?
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    Now to questions 6 – 10
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  6. How do AR folks, who are traditionally accustomed to deep, often in-person relationships benefit from this? Relationships today are built on more than in-person meetings. This is especially true as both analysts and AR staff become more geographically dispersed. Social media can provide intelligence, insights and actionable information about the analysts that provides the basis for Continue reading
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