Twitter is an interesting example of micro-blogging, i.e., broadcasting very short messages to a set of “followers.” Tweets can be very personal and trivial in nature (e.g., what the person is having for lunch) or can be used for business purposes (e.g., snap polls). In Adding Twitter or other micro blogging tools to the AR tool box, we discussed some potential ways that Twitter might be used by analyst relations (AR) professionals to interact with the industry analysts. That post led to some interesting comments on the blog post, e-mails, tweets, Twitter DMs (aka direct messages) and the SageCircle Analyst Twitter Directory (at the top of the left navigation menu under “Pages”). The response has been interesting, but what do the analysts think? Do they want AR to use Twitter or other micro-blogging techniques?
To find out what the analysts think, we conducted a SageCircle Survey of the analysts to get their opinions and see if they would like AR to use Twitter or would it cause them to run screaming from their keyboards. The target population was the 28 analysts then in the Analyst Twitter Directory (a few more have been added in the last week). We have received 15 responses to-date from all types of analysts in terms of their research coverage and size of firm, from single practitioners to the largest firms. We were pleasantly surprised by the volume of responses as well as the analysts’ in-depth and thoughtful comments. Obviously this early into microblogging, there is healthy skepticism about the business value of Twitter for AR. The analysts definitely saw some potential uses of Twitters, but also see it as a potential fad and waste of time.
One point that came up in almost every response and subsequent conversations is the fear that Twitter that will become another tool for evil, i.e., spam. Analysts were quite emphatic that micro-blogging should be used as part of a mix of communication techniques and that AR should not go overboard using it. However, there were some intriguing examples of positive use like:
“Example, last year at the Adobe Analyst summit I was writing some questions in real time in Twitter about Adobe stuff, and a few minutes later an executive walked up to me and started answering my questions as if I’d just asked them to his face – which, you know, is sort of what I was doing by broadcasting it in Twitter.” Michael Cote, Redmonk
Here is a high level summary of the analysts comments about Twitter:
- Do put it into the mix, but for right purposes
- Do be interesting
- Do use links to highlight select items
- Do participate in a conversation
- Do ask and answer questions
- Do use special team and event addresses
- Do condense
- Do be prepared to be ignored, Twitter is not an interaction tool
- Don’t use when another form of communication would be better
- “Don’t spam me, bro!”
- Don’t over tweet
- Don’t use it to set up briefings, meetings
- Don’t use to backchannel around the analyst firms’ processes (e.g., scheduling briefings)
- Don’t be forced
- Don’t be impersonal
- Don’t have multiple tweets to get around the 140 character limit
- Because of micro-blogging’s zero startup cost, reasonable learning curve and nearly zero switching costs, AR teams should jump in and start a pilot project to experiment as described in Adding Twitter or other micro blogging tools to the AR toolbox.
- Because every analyst is a unique individual, the most important task is to Ask your analysts about their current and potential uses of social media to build an understanding of how they might like Twitter used to interact with them
Bottom Line: In general, analysts who are early adopters of Twitter find it could be an interesting addition to the AR tool box for the right purposes. However, while intriguing, the analysts also feel that it could be a huge negative by adding clutter and spam to an already busy life. AR is encouraged to experiment with Twitter, but also to keep in touch with their analysts to see if the usage is doing a good job or is a waste of time.
Question: Analysts – Would you consider micro-blogs a useful way to get shorts pieces of information or your questions answered when you are under a time constraint? AR teams – What issues concern you when it comes to adopting micro-blogging?
Are you thinking about experimenting with social media? SageCircle can Help – Social media represents new opportunities and challenges to AR teams. SageCircle can help AR teams by:
- Providing on-site or distance learning sessions to get AR teams up to speed on social media and how it might be adopted. Examples of bite-sized products available via credit card are:
- AR Briefing: Twitter 101
- AR Briefing: Blogging 101
- Providing tools, training, content, critiquing and advice to accomplish a specific task:
- Mini-Workshop: Launching the AR Blog
- Acting as a sounding board via on-demand advisory, either in blocks of hours or an Annual Advisory service. Sample issues on social media that could be addressed via advisory include:
- Brainstorming how to add social media to your AR tool box
- Developing a pilot program to experiment with social media
- Playing the role of analyst in social media experiments and providing critiques of how the experiment went
BTW, the Annual Advisory service includes mini-workshops and briefings as a standard deliverable. To learn more about any these services, please visit www.sagecircle.com.
Call 650-274-8309 or e-mail info (at) sagecircle dot com for more information. Also follow Carter’s commentary www.twitter.com/carterlusher to get a feel for how information is now being transmitted using micro-blogging.