Why Social Media Can Represent a Real Challenge to AR Teams

icon-social-media-blue.jpgSageCircle has previously commented on the growing importance of social media in the analyst relations ecosystem and the need for teams to become engaged.  The growth in blogs and the increasing use of twitter provide a method for analysts to broadcast their opinions without the “filtering” and “editorial restrictions” that are part of standard research reports.  The lack of any review cycle by either vendors or the firms themselves allows for very timely posting, but can represent a real challenge to AR teams. 

Last week Cisco announced an acquisition that quickly prompted several divergent analyst opinions, which could also have benefited from some proofreading.

  • Van Baker posted rather negative commentary on his Gartner Blog Network blog closing with “While the purchase may be pocket change for Cisco it is still likely to be wasted money for Cisco.(sic)”  He noted his post on twitter which certainly drove traffic to the blog post.
  • Joshua Martin posted a speculative but generally positive post on his Yankee Group Blog stating “This scenario is all well and good. It will improve the value of Cisco’s devices while promoting it’s (sic) ecosystem.”
  • Mike Gotta of Burton Group posted a somewhat negative report on his personal branded blog (not Burton Group) that was later updated to a rather positive position because of a twitter comment he received. The comment was not from Cisco.
  • A day later Ted Schadler of Forrester authored a relatively positive post (and then corrected his typo) saying “It wasn’t a surprise to see networking expansionist Cisco buying Flip”

Now this is not to single out Cisco, but it was a recent example of things we have seen repeatedly.  All this blog activity was done within hours and without the filtering of the “research process” or the scrutiny of the firms’ Editorial departments.  So how should an AR team react? 

Several important best practice process steps come to mind:

  • Know the analysts in your market that use social media regularly and ensure they have the company position and key messages the moment the news breaks. These analysts, unlike their non-social media using colleagues, are likely to “shoot from the hip” in order to get something posted quickly and won’t give you a call for details. Give them the sound bites you want them to release.
  • Know the commentary the moment it occurs. Have alerts and feeds that inform you when Continue reading
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