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

A potpourri of observations on social media and the analyst ecosystem

icon-social-media-blue.jpgTime to take a minute to check in with what’s up with the analyst ecosystem and social media.

Atwitter about Twitter – Twitter continues to be a hot topic in general with some negative backlash developing (e.g., Morgan Stanley’s report that teens do not care for Twitter and Nielsen’s research that millions are “Twitter quitters”). So what? It does not matter how many millions of users don’t use Twitter after signing up or how many millions follow some actor or talk show host. What matters for AR teams is whether their most relevant analysts are using Twitter and how it is being used.

Forrester and Gartner Blog Traffic: Nothing to sneeze about – We caused a bit of a buzz when we compared the traffic hits on Jeremiah Owyang’s personal blog to Gartner’s and Forrester’s corporate websites in Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst because Jeremiah’s blog had twice the traffic of the two corporate websites combined. Looking at the firms’ own blog networks shows good traffic to them as the graphic illustrates (click here or graphic to enlarge). Forrester’s team blogs have averaged 65,000 unique visitors per month over the last year. The Gartner Blog Network has grown steadily since its September 2008 launch to 29,000 unique visitors in July.

Forrester Gartner blog networks traffic - small 

Social media metrics, useful but not “special” – As we were working on Continue reading

Don’t underestimate the visibility a blog can provide an analyst

An interesting exercise is to compare the relative web traffic between the largest advisory analyst firm (Gartner), the largest IT market research firm (IDC) and a very visible analyst who has his own blog. Using the site comparison feature of Compete here is the graphic showing Forrester analyst extraordinaire and social media poster boy Jeremiah Owyang’s (bio, Twitter handle, blog) personal blog Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Gartner.com and IDC.com:

Traffic comparison Gartner.com IDC.com and Jeremiah Owyang blog 

Click here or on the graphic to enlarge. The top blue line is Jeremiah’s blog, the green middle line is Gartner.com and the bottom orange line is IDC.com. There is not a single month in the past year where Web Strategy by Jeremiah did not receive more unique visitors (an average of 136,000 per month) than Gartner.com and IDC.com combined.

Not an apples-to-apples comparison… and that is the point 

Of course, comparing two very different types of websites, a blog vs. corporate sites, is not an apples-to-apples assessment. Rather this illustrates how a savvy analyst can leverage a personally branded blog to obtain unique access to a broader audience than he could even on the regular research website of a $1.2bn but very traditional analyst firm. This is because the analyst blog is easily Continue reading

Where do social media metrics fit into an AR measurement program? [Practitioner Question]

AR Metrics & MeasurementQuestion: Are social media like blogs and Twitter something we should be measuring or is it too early yet? Where does social media fit in a measurement scheme?

icon-social-media-blue.jpg If your analysts are using social media, then including those sorts of metrics in a measurement program is really not optional. In this case we are putting social media on par with published research, press quotes, and activity counts as something worthy of measuring. While a 140-character tweet does not have the impact of a Gartner Magic Quadrant, it can provide useful information that should be added to the data mix.

Social media has elements of both operational metrics and performance metrics. Some example uses include:

  • Operational
    • Unfiltered opinions feed into plans and briefings
    • Activity insights feed into interaction calendars
    • Tweets and blog comments by AR to an analyst fulfill top-of-mind touches requirements
  • Performance
    • Tonality tracks analyst opinion movement
    • Mentions of company, products, and competitors with opinion can track changes in perception

Social media metrics complement other sources of data. For example, social media can complement Spoken Word Audits because social media-based conversations between analysts and end users are often personal, unfiltered, and Continue reading

Example topics to post or tweet about

icon-social-media-blue.jpgne of the perceived hurdles for analyst relations (AR) professionals who want to adopt social media like blogging and Twitter is how to come up with all the content. While initially this might seem daunting, once you get in the habit of watching for relevant content it will pop out at you. Here is a small subset of examples of what you can blog or tweet about.

 SageCircle Technique:

  • Spotlight existing content on your company’s website or blogs
  • Spotlight your company’s participants (links to bios, profiles, etc) who will be at an industry event that analysts will also be attending
  • Spotlight your company’s upcoming analyst events such as tracks, breakouts, etc
  • Recycle content from internal emails, presentations and documents (where appropriate)
  • Participate in tweet-based conversations with your top analysts
  • Mine research, internal or purchased or online, for relevant factoids
  • Point to your company’s staff member quotes and interviews in the press

Related post: What AR should blog about – common questions

SageCircle clients should request the analyst responses to our Fall SageCircle survey of Continue reading

An analyst can go from skeptic about social media to fan overnight

icon-social-media-blue.jpghen it comes to social media usage by analysts, nothing is set in stone. For instance, Carter was having a conversation with an analyst from one of the “Big Three” firms who said:

“I do not have a blog and I refuse to sign up for Twitter.  However, I do read every blog by the vendors that I cover.” 

At the time that quote was said, it provided some interesting insights into this analyst’s attitude toward social media. However, within months, this analyst who was so adamant that he would not use Twitter or have a blog, was tweeting and had TWO blogs: one for his firm and one under his personal brand. Moral of the story is that analyst relations (AR) cannot assume that an analyst’s position on social media, no matter how vehemently stated, is permanent. Of course, an analyst that was a heavy user of social media could stop using it as well.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Check SageCircle’s various analyst social media directories periodically for your top analysts
  • Ask your analysts who are not using social media if Continue reading

Analysts keep adding social media capabilities, something AR needs to emulate

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhile updating the various SageCircle social media directories, we were struck about how the industry analysts continue to embrace blogging and Twitter. Here are some statistics from this week:

Blog Directory – Forrester – four new personal blogs, for a total of 96 entries

Blog Directory – Gartner – 18 new blogs, for a total of 79 entries

Twitter Directory – Analyst – 42 new entries, for a total of 534

We already have 16 new analyst Twitter handles for Monday’s update even though the weekend is when we usually do the research to identify new tweeting analysts. In order to support the Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis service, we are going to add Gartner analysts’ personal blogs to the Gartner Blog Directory. In addition there are hundreds of other analyst blogs beyond Forrester and Gartner blogs we actively track.

So, how is AR doing when it comes to adopting social media? Not so well. The Twitter Directory – AR had only 18 new entries for a total of 339. The analysts are typically joining Twitter about 50% more than AR. On the blogging side, we have identified only five AR program blogs.

Social media is clearly a missed opportunity for most AR programs. Most AR managers and professionals we talk to indicate that time – or lack of it – is a major reason why they are reluctant to start with blogging or Twitter. This is clearly a valid concern.  However, adopting social media does not Continue reading

Analysts can go around AR using social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgWhen Analyst Relations Get Social is a short and interesting post by Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang (bio, Twitter handle) on the fact that analyst relations professionals should not consider themselves gatekeepers, but facilitators. On this, we at SageCircle completely agree. Frankly, the best AR programs have always had the facilitator attitude.

For those AR programs that still want to be gatekeepers, social media is making it harder and harder to maintain control of every interaction with the analysts. As Jeremiah points out:

 “…For example, I can easily tweet out “anyone in the sharepoint team have have a moment for some questions” and I’d suspect they’d quickly respond in seconds, whether or not the AR person was involved. …”

SageCircle Technique

  • AR programs that currently look at themselves as gatekeepers should reevaluate this position
  • AR needs to embrace social media then experiment and Continue reading

Analyze social media traffic of analysts to determine your workload

icon-social-media-blue.jpgA common issue that AR managers bring up when discussing why they currently don’t follow analysts on blogs and Twitter is that it would be too much work. Hmm, maybe it could be a lot of work, but really the reality is that it does not take much time per day tracking posts and tweets. Why? 

  • There are not many analysts in any particular market who use social media
  • Tools are available (e.g., RSS readers and Twitter Search) that make it easy and fast to track posts and tweets

Something that AR should do is work from facts and not assumptions so we recommend that AR managers conduct an analysis of their top analysts’ use of social media. This analysis should cover at least the previous three weeks to smooth out changes in usage due to travel, special events like analyst summits, holidays, and so on. Data to be gathered includes the number of blog posts for both firm and personal blogs and the overall number of tweets  

The analysis concentrates on the average number of social media publications per day. In the tests and beta client engagements of our new SageToolTM Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis (see graphic) we found that most analyst lists only had a small percentage of analysts that actively used social media and that the volume of traffic was modest. Of course there are Continue reading

Forrester’s blogs – Observations while building the new SageCircle Forrester Blog Directory

icon-social-media-blue.jpgToday SageCircle is launching a new directory for tracking the Forrester analysts who blog. You can find it in the left-hand navigation menu section Directories. Look for Blog Directory – Forrester

The reason why a directory is needed even though Forrester has a blog home page is how they have organized their blogs. Forrester’s analyst blogs are centered on particular “roles,” which is now Forrester’s standard approach to research management. Forrester blogs are typically team written with various analysts contributing posts. That causes a problem for people, end users or vendors, who want to know which analyst posts to which blog. The blog home page lists the blogs, but not the analysts who contribute to them. Therefore SageCircle has done the work of identifying which analysts contribute to which blogs and put that information in our Forrester blog directory.

But wait! There’s more! Some of the Forrester analysts have personal blogs where they post significant commentary as well. So we are including the personal blogs as well.

While our research was mainly to find names for the directory, we did gather up some other interesting tid-bits about the blogs as well.

Contributors – Most of the blogs have Continue reading

Announcing “Launching a Social Media Strategy: A SageCircle Workshop”

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSocial media is rapidly transitioning from being a playground for individuals to an important tool for business.  Some tools like blogging have been around for awhile, while others like Twitter are still emerging.  Regardless of the current start of the art, many hundreds of savvy analysts and AR professionals are using these and other tools to improve relationships, generate intelligence, and enhance conversations. 

There are many questions for AR about social media

Unfortunately questions for AR abound: Should AR teams blog and tweet?  Does AR have to track bloggers and Twitterers who are not traditional analysts?  How can you pick up responsibility for blogging and Twittering when resources are already stretched thin?  When and how do you incorporate analyst blogs and Tweets into analyst opinion monitoring programs.  And most important: How to get started?

To help AR professionals and teams take a strategic approach to dealing with the rapidly changing social media usage by members of the analyst ecosystem, SageCircle is announcing a new public half-day workshop focused on how to incorporate social media into AR’s daily routine and toolbox.

Key Issues to be addressed in this workshop include:

  • What are the roles of social media in the analyst ecosystem?
  • How should social media be incorporated into AR’s strategic and tactical plan?
  • What are the policy implications of adopting blogging and Twitter?
  • How do social media get incorporated into AR measurement and reporting programs?

Get Up to Speed Quickly

In this SageCircle AR Workshop, we provide AR professionals with Continue reading

Why analysts need to be more measured in their use of social media

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSageCircle recently posted about the how the lack of any review cycle by either vendors or the firms themselves allows for very timely social media postings on blogs or on twitter, but can represent a real challenge to AR teams, especially those that are not actively watching social media.  We thought it was obvious that the need for analysts validating content was a given.  However, in the past weeks we have encountered several instances where analysts appear to have made opinion statements based on rumor without checking facts.  In the rush to publish they have not been doing their due diligence or the vendor AR teams have not been responsive to the analyst request for information.  Please note this is not a common problem and we hope it does not grow.

This speculative type of behavior can be damaging to both large and small vendors – and it certainly kicks-off multiple unnecessary “recovery” or “damage control” cycles when the analyst could/should have just picked up the phone and asked them a question before posting or rushing to be the first to tweet.  The stories you are about to hear are real…. we have changed the names to protect the guilty.

In one situation some tweets expressed concern about the financial viability of a small company.  An influential analyst posted “I’ve been hearing there’s a lot of changes going on at <company>, if you’re a customer and this has impacted you, I want to know, email me”.  The flurry of activity resulted in a blog post suggesting that people hold off purchases.  After understanding all this was unfounded there was a “retraction”, but the company is still in damage control model.

In another situation, the Twitter post was “Hearing from <company> customers that there are new clauses that will force customers to commit to no Third Party Maintenance.”  This Twitter post was a specific callout implicating the company (in Twitter he even tied them specifically to anti-trust implications as a result of this speculation – which obviously was/is a VERY Continue reading

IDC’s Mike Fauscette on his usage of social media as an analyst

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

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Observations from updating the various SageCircle directories

icon-social-media-blue.jpgThis weekend we spent considerable hours updating the SageCircle directories. This exercise always generates interesting insights such as: 

Analyst  Twitter Directory – 46 additions, 4 updates. Change can come quite quickly. The IDC Financial Insights team members decided to put more emphasis on Twitter as part of an overall plan to increase their visibility. This resulted in seven analysts starting to use Twitter in just a couple of weeks. Take away – Keep your fingers on the pulse of your analysts’ usage of social media, because changes come quickly.

AR Twitter Directory – 34 additions, 6 updates. Members of the AR community continue to adopt Twitter in a steady fashion. However, AR is still underrepresented on Twitter and members of the community are missing out on a great tool for understanding the analysts and their priorities. Take away – AR professionals not on Twitter need to take the plunge and add Twitter to their communications toolbox. Even if their analysts are not heavy users of Twitter, early adopters develop skills that permit them to react quickly to changes in social media usage.

AR Contractors Directory – 9 additions. There are now a number of interesting AR contractors in the directory. The presence of contractors gives AR managers useful alternatives to Continue reading

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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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

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

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

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