Recently 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:
- Is social media a medium to influence the influencers?
- Are influencers impacted by social media usage of clients, vendors, and media?
- Now that many are creating their own messages is message control realistic?
- Can AR and PR benefit from listening to social media?
- Can AR and PR benefit from using social media to talk?
Now to questions 6 – 10
- 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 deepening relationships. Relationships are built on many, many small interactions on the personal and professional levels. Following and interacting with analysts on social media complements in-person and phone-based interactions providing an overall richer experience.
- Does this really mean more work for me? No! First, there are not that many analysts in any one market who are active users of social media, so it will not require significant incremental work. However, this is also an opportunity to harvest time wasted on less valuable activities and reallocating it to something with better business value. It means automating certain activities and reallocating that time. Now, to harvest time you have to invest time. For example, do you have an analyst list based on a formal methodology that is periodically refreshed? If you don’t, consider putting a little effort in managing your analyst list because I would wager that you are wasting time on analysts – even ones at major firms like Forrester, Gartner and IDC – that are not relevant to what you want to accomplish. Another example, do you answer the same question over and over? Rather than repeating the same information verbally, quickly write it up and post on an AR blog. Then when you get a frequently-asked question from an analyst, you can send them a link to the answer. Not very personal, but if the analyst is Tier 2 or Tier 3, it is a much better use of time.
- If our competitors use this, do they have a leg up on us? Hmmm, who do you want educating and influencing the analysts? You or your competitor? If your competitor is using social media to interact with the analysts (e.g., leaving comments on your top ranked analysts’ blogs) and you are not, it is like you only briefed the analysts once a year leaving the rest of the year to the competitor. AR is like an arms race with new best practices and communications complementing and then superseding today’s ways of doing business. By leaving relevant social media to competitors, AR teams run the risk of letting the oppositions exploit a new channel and achieve the upper hand.
- How to we quantify the ROI of our efforts? With social media today? You can’t, but you don’t have to because you get a temporary pass because it is “new” and emerging. On the other hand, AR programs should also be focused on today’s metrics and most teams do not do a sufficient job collecting and reporting. For example, a great way to demonstrate ROI is to work with your Sales organization to identify which sales deals are being influenced by the analysts and which ones AR materially supported.
- Leave a comment if you’ve got a point of contention? Some AR professionals are concerned that analysts would react adversely to critical comments or ones that corrected factual errors. Frankly, any analyst that would get angry at comments would no doubt not turn that feature on. However, there are plenty of examples of blogging analysts taking comments in stride and even using them in their research and writing processes.
Bottom Line: Because social media is still very much an emerging issue, AR teams need to start identifying the questions that they, their “R” colleagues (e.g., PR), and executives have about the relevance and application of these new forms of communication and community. By systematically listing out the questions, doing the research, and getting advice from experts like SageCircle or social media analysts (e.g., Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang or AMR’s Jonathan Yarmis) AR can quickly cut through the hype to a productive use of social media.
Question: What are your questions about AR? Were they covered by Jeremiah’s list of 10 or do you have additional ones?