10 Questions Analyst Relations Have About Social Media

Yesterday, I spoke to a room full of Analyst Relations (AR) and Public Relations (PR) professionals at a large tech vendor. I was asked to lead a discussion about the impacts of social media to their daily life.

I’ve been hearing about these questions from AR folks themselves, as well as from Forrester’s AR services team, and analysts such as Ray Wang . Hopefully, this will kick off a discussion and we can collaboratively share and learn.

10 Questions Analyst Relations Professionals Have About Social Media

1. Is social media a medium to influence the influencers?
2. Are influencers impacted by social media usage of clients, vendors, and media?
3. Now that many are creating their own messages is message control realistic?
4. Can AR and PR benefit from listening to social media?
5. Can AR and PR benefit from using social media to talk?
6. How do AR folks, who are traditionally accustomed to deep, often in person relationships benefit from this?
7. Does this really mean more work for me?
8. If our competitors use this, do they have a leg up on us?
9. How to we quantify the ROI of our efforts?
10. Leave a comment if you’ve got a point of contention.

Self admittedly, I’m new to this topic, and many others have been thinking this through more carefully. I do however represent a new type of analyst that uses these tools to support, promote, and enhance, some parts of my research (it’s not good for deep analysis nor accurate trending), so you’ll want to observe my behaviors carefully as I make mistakes and also figure things out.

If you want to learn more, subscribe to Jonny Bentwood, SageCircle’s Carter Lusher, or talk to the Forrester AR folks that are thinking this through much deeper than I am. Also, see this List of Resources, Profiles, Indexes, Blogs, Companies and Information for the Analyst Industry.

Update: Carter Lusher just pointed me to this list of Analyst Relations pros that are on Twitter, half are from Tech, and half are from agency.

Update 2: Carter responds to my questions, with his take on the answers, read part 1 and part 2.

27 Replies to “10 Questions Analyst Relations Have About Social Media”

  1. Thank you for this, Jeremiah – It’s giving me real food for thoughts on how we, as bloggers, need to communicate with AR/PR Pros to help them make productive use of social media.

    I recently posted an open letter to PR agencies in the hope that we can liven up the conversation and get everyone to have a think on the best way to work together using social media to broadcast or find great stuff to write about, rather than pitch at each other.

    Thanks for these thought-provoking posts.

  2. Question #3, I think that your influencers should be allowed to send any message without control. These people should be fans of your brand so you should let them express themselves. When you encounter a bad/negative message then respond to it, do not control who sees it. Let consumers know you respond to problems, it’s a good thing.

    Question #9, it is almost impossible to quantify ROI on SM right now, but perhaps soon.

  3. The top two benefits I’ve seen from executive level blogs are AR/PR and SEO (granted SEO is a benefit of any well executed blog).

    My advice to AR/PR pros is to get your top executives blogging (and blogging well) then make sure the analysts in your industry are aware of it. It will be more work up front but the payoffs are huge and will actually make your job easier.

  4. The danger in using social media is to let loose the hype machine even more than it is already. The market buys on rumor and sells on news. Social media will add even more noise to the mix, and the noise feeders will be disguised. Talking heads on CNBC and the rest have their affiliations identified. Twittering voices are masked. I see real several issues and problems arising with this beyond ROI.

  5. Hi Jeremiah, Great post. I will riff on it in the SageCircle blog later today or tomorrow.

    AR does have lots of questions about social media and not many answers. Plus, many in AR (and the analyst firms) are scared of social media – remember the chat we chat at Buck’s.

    A common question I get is a variation of #7:

    “7a. How can I find the time to add one more thing to my to-do list?” Which is a valid and non-trivial question.

    For those who might want to read more about AR and social media, there is a social media category on the SageCircle AR blog with 35 articles and more to be added on a a regular basis.


  6. Hi Jeremiah
    Fantastic insight and a great post.
    I often feel that AR people know they should engage online with analysts but are too fearful of the amount of time it will take. This ‘fear’ factor is overwhelming to many people blinding them to the opportunities that having conversations with analysts online will present.
    When you stop to think about it – the benefits are huge, for example by monitoring what your core analysts say you will be able to understand what they are thinking, what is important to them, what they are interested in and what they want to know.
    As an AR pro this intelligence is vital – too often people forget that the ˜R™ in AR stands for ˜Relations™ and we are in the relationship business and this knowledge is gold.
    I have written a more detailed post about this here

  7. Tac

    great advice.

    Nancy, yes, there certainly is more noise, but influencers are easy to spot, and there’s software now that can aid with that. Forrester’s Wave on Brand Monitoring indicates Cymfony and Buzzmetrics scored well.

    I hear from clients and PR firms they are looking at BuzzLogic and Radian6 with mixed results.

  8. Jonny, both your post and Carter’s comment lean on the same issue: time and resources.

    The key here is to figure out how these tools can increase productivity (I’ve figured it out for my job) and increase the amount of relationships they can have.

    The question however is the fulcrum, do we weigh more on quantity or quality?

  9. Jeremiah

    The reason why I think Carter and myself focus primarily on time is that this is the first obstacle we hit when trying to evangelise social media.

    I don’t think the issue though is about productivity – although using various tools to help minimise the amount of time someone spends on this certainly helps (see Google alerts, feed aggregators, filtrbox, custom Google searches, minimise distractions etc).

    The crux of the issue is what impact will engaging through 2.0 tools have? There are several case studies that I use to explain this (with analysts whose focus is not social media) – bringing these to light is essential part of the process to encourage other AR pros to use social media.

    Perhaps the biggest misconception (and one I alluded to in the above paragraph) is that only social media analysts use social media tools. In fact my view is that more and more analysts across all focus areas are using it to great affect as a sounding board for ideas.


  10. Jonny

    Lots of analysts use these tools, not just social media analysts. Take a look at the multiple blogs Forrester has



    Application Development & Program Management Professionals

    Business Process & Applications Professionals

    IT Infrastructure & Operations Professionals

    Security & Risk Professionals

    Sourcing & Vendor Management Professionals

    Technology Product Management & Marketing Professionals

  11. Jonny is dead on that time constrains are the first thing that gets mentioned when I encourage AR folks to look into social media. Here is a post I wrote to make it seem like it would not take a lot of time to follow blogs and twitter “How to track a lot of analyst blogs and Twitter streams without spending a lot of time”


    Jeremiah, to your point that “lots of analysts” use social media. You are right that there are hundreds of analysts blogs and 120+ with Twitter accounts. However, are they analysts that the typical AR professional is most concerned about? In many cases the answer is “no.”

    For example, dominate market leader (sorry Forrester) Gartner has only a couple of active blogs and they are media and web. Nothing on servers, storage, enterprise applications, management software, outsourcing and so on that get the bulk of the Magic Quadrants that AR/vendors obsess over. The Gartner analysts who are regularly on Twitter cover media and social media — not enterprise infrastructure topic.

    IDC – pathetic. Only one lame IDC-branded blog.

    AMR Research – two podcasts, but no firm-branded blogs. Only Jonathan Yarmis (covers social media) and Phil Fersht tweet.

    Ovum – no social media.

    Yankee Group – one firm level blog.

    So while there are many boutique firms and single practitioners analysts using social media (mainly blogs), with the exception of Forrester none of the larger firms actively exploit social media.

  12. Carter

    Exactly, this is where the POST methodology comes into play. AR professionals first need to know about the People they are trying to reach, and how they use social technologies the “P”.

    Everything else falls into place once this is done.

    Maybe this is something an analyst firm (or analyst watch firm) should do.

    BTW your blog is very informative, a good read for AR pros with these 10 questions.

  13. As much as social media is supposed to be viral, ROIs are still impacted by the fact that corporation & brands want at best to manage one network, in many cases just to be fashionable. Our vision at Webjam is that the market is going to shift from herding members in one single network to providing tools to your clients/readers/members so that they can lead/contribute to various networks based on their affinities. It’s about harnessing groups of groups . Once you have outsourced to your clients/members the creation and management of the networks, not just the content, you have a much bigger chance to get a better ROI as you scale even quicker. More on this trend and how PR companies can use it for their clients on
    Yann motte, webjam CEO

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