AR teams will get in trouble with executives for being surprised by analysts’ social media commentary – Looking ahead to 2010

icon-crystal-ball.jpgThis post is one in a series where SageCircle pulls out the crystal ball and looks ahead to what happens in the analyst ecosystem in 2010. See below for links to all posts in this series.

The vast majority of analyst relations (AR) teams are not regularly monitoring their most relevant analysts’ social media usage. However, this lack of attention could prove to be politically dangerous in 2010.

Many AR professionals have been confronted by executives at their companies with negative press quotes by the analysts. Often the executives demand to know why the analyst made the negative comment and what AR is going to do about it. Up through the early Internet age, while troublesome because it caused a fire drill, it was reasonable for AR not to be aware of a particular quote because a comprehensive press clipping service would have been too expensive. However, as the Internet and search tools matured, it has because harder for AR to justify ignorance about press quotes. This provides the added danger of damaging AR’s credibility for not being on top of the situation.

As more analysts adopt social media, sometimes chaotically, AR now has to anticipate being confronted by an executive wanting to know about some analyst’s negative blog post, tweet, or comment made in a social network. Just as with press quotes today, AR cannot feign ignorance about the negative comments made in social media. This is because it is perceived to be free and “easy” to monitor social media. Thus, an AR team that is not aware of an analyst social media comment brought to its attention by an executive will be in grave danger of having its credibility questioned. This could give rise to a new group tasked with social media influencer relations that would take over working with key analysts.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR needs to put into place a simple social media monitoring program for its most relevant analysts – in 2010 this would be a relatively small task for most AR teams
  • AR needs to incorporate analyst comments and opinions expressed on social media into regular reports to executive sponsors – this would demonstrate that AR is aware of and on top of analyst social media usage

Bottom Line: Social media monitoring is becoming a requirement for AR as both relevant analysts and internal stakeholders start adopting social media in greater numbers. Being a lagging adopter of social media could cause AR extreme politically problems in 2010.

Question: AR – Have you been surprised by a comment made by an analyst in social media? If yes, what were the ramifications?

Looking ahead to 2010 Series


13 Responses

  1. Agreed.

    Analysts can influence the market with blogs, forum comments, and event tweets.

    Yet, AR professionals should not focus on the ‘mediums’ of where an analysts’ domain is, but instead focus on the overall influence of the analyst –regardless of communication channels used.

    PDFs are just but one way they influence, think bigger, focus on the overall influence across multiple channels.

    • Hi Jeremiah, Thanks for the comment.

      Social media of all sorts will eventually be just items in the AR communications toolbox. Unfortunately, today too many AR teams are unaware of or ignoring the use of social media by relevant analysts. They are ones who are going to bear the brunt of this prediction.

      BTW, key word is “relevant.” AR only has to look at social media usage by the most relevant of their analysts.

  2. Great insight.

    The “better safe than sorry” approach is not the way to fully introduce or launch a product.

    AR plans have to be aligned with Marketing strategy (their was a big “M” there) and look to those who externally connect with and listen to the market for ways to eliminate the negative and bring real evidence that social media is valuable.

    In organizations where Marketing and Product Management exist, AR has to use these experts to fill the gaps in bringing the correct positoning, and message to the analysts.

  3. I suspect that social media is more dangerous to the analyst than the AR team.

    • Hi Barney, thx for the comment.

      I will have to respectfully disagree. As long as analysts do not say anything libelous, acts stupidly (e.g., using excess profanity or posting too many inane tweets, comments, etc), or give away too much content that inhibts sales, there is no real downside to using social media for analysts. It is not like there is a service that measure the quality or accuracy of the analyst commentary via social media.

      For AR, there are many dangers. For example, an analyst could use social media to spread rumors about a vendor or make a recommendation that prospects hold off signing a contract that could impact revenues, market perception and/or brand equity. If AR is not monitoring the relevant analysts’ social media commentary it could have a negative impact on the vendor and cause internal political issues.

  4. Agree with Jeremiah. One thing that I notice as an analyst is when AR’s message is disconnected from outbound marketing, outbound messaging, or public financial statements because they are so focused on specific product marketing. A good AR person can provide this holistic message and get honest feedback from an analyst that will pre-sage potential social media messages sent out.

    It’s not as if we, as analysts, create and support social media initiatives in a vacuum. We just have more direct and concentrated ways of sending out our perspective and recommendations to targeted audiences. Analysts will call out inconsistencies and, with the advent of social media as a communications channel, can do this publicly as soon as the perception is created based on the entirety of knowledge that we have.

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  7. Via Twitter. Sanchit Vir Gogia of Springboard Research. @s_v_g

    @carterlusher nice post & I agree with AR teams facing the heat. But not all analysts are “as influential”, so got to follow the right ones!

    • Hi Sanchit. thx for comment.

      Completely agree about AR only following relevant analysts. Part of the problem is that identifying and ranking analysts is getting more complex all the time.

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