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 the content for the Social Media Metrics webinar (next session is Wednesday, August 12th at 8 am PT) we were struck by the fact that social media is not “special”. Yes, it has unique characteristics that make it different from briefings, phone calls, emails, and other ways we people communicate. However, there are many similarities when it comes to incorporating social media into the AR measurement and reporting program. Social media still produces operational and performance metrics. The data gathered from social media can slot into existing reports for the various AR internal constituencies (e.g., executive sponsors). And social media metrics especially complements data from a Spoken Word Audit.

Communities are the next big thing – The IDC Insights Community and The BPO and Offshoring Best Practices Forum are just two examples of the trend toward individual analysts and firms creating and managing online communities that have thousands of members and lots of interactions between analysts, technology decision makers, and vendors. Some potential trends in this area are the “Big Two” (i.e., Forrester and Gartner) creating closed communities for clients only and an “arms race” where many analysts, boutiques, and larger firms launch communities leading to fragmentation of the audience and insufficient scale.

AR teams continue to lag in social media adoption – While there are some AR teams and individual AR professionals using social media, for the most part the AR community has not embraced social media. This is clearly a missed opportunity. 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 have to be a major time sink if AR uses the appropriate best practices, tools, and discipline. Another point we hear from AR teams is that their analysts are not using social media. However, it turns out that many AR teams have not really checked the usage of social media by their top analysts. Rather they just assume it is low. Not investigating their analysts usage could turn into a major mistake if some analysts are expressing strong negative opinions about the vendor in blogs, tweets, or other social media.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Start simple
  • Embrace social media then experiment and adapt
  • Incorporate social media into your AR plan
  • Add social media to your measurement program
  • Use tools like RSS and TweetDeck to reduce effort
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of change

Bottom Line: With more and more analysts blogging and tweeting, AR programs that do not systematically add social media to their toolbox will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. AR managers need to make adopting social media, with the appropriate emphasis, a major objective for the second half of 2009.

Question: AR managers – What are the reasons, in priority order, why you do not incorporate blogging and tweeting into your mix of interactions? Analysts – Which AR teams or individuals are best at using social media? 

Get up-to-speed quickly and efficiently with SageCircle services

SageCircle has a portfolio of services that can help both individual AR professionals as well as AR teams adopt this fast growing trend in the analyst ecosystem. Our flexible pricing and packaging means there is a service at a price point and time commitment that fits into almost every AR situation. Here is a sampling from our portfolio:

  • Launching a Social Media Strategy for AR – Half-day workshop ($495 per ticket)
    • Both public and privately-scheduled sessions
    • Dedicate four hours and learn almost everything you need to know
  • AR Team Briefings – 90-minute in-house webinars ($495 for unlimited attendees). Topics:
    • The Fog of Influence: Social Media Trends in the Analyst Ecosystem
    • Introduction to Twitter for AR
    • Introduction to Blogging for AR
    • Adding Blogs and Twitter to Your Measurement Program
  • Services
  • Reference
    • Online SageContentTM Library ($395 per seat for 12 month subscription) Best practices, downloadable tools
    • Analyst Twitter Directory (free)
    • AR Twitter Directory (free)
    • Blog Directories for Gartner and Forrester (free)
    • Blog, 80+ articles on social media (free)
  • Advisory
    • Blocks of Advisory Hours (2 hours $495, 5 hours $995 or custom quote) On-demand phone-based advisory
    • Annual Advisory Service (call for pricing) Bundle of services that includes unlimited phone inquiry, Online Library seats, AR briefings, Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis and more

To learn more about how we can help you get up-to-speed quickly and efficiently, please contact us at 503-636-1500 or “info [at] sagecircle [do] com”.