Robin Schaffer guides AR and influencer relations teams in strategy, execution and value creation. She has led transformative analyst relations and marketing leadership for three decades, most recently with Kea Company, Alteryx, Glassbox, and the Analyst Observatory. Her prior experience in the technology industry includes Collibra, Unit4, NICE Systems, and AT&T.
We have written on a number of occasions that social media is not some big special deal, but rather just another tool in the analyst and analyst relations (AR) tool box. For that reason, there should not be some special plan for social plan with all sorts of meetings and review sessions set up. Rather social media should just be incorporated into daily activities and your AR Strategic and Tactical Plan.
You do have an AR plan, don’t you?
Your strategic AR plan, the one with the charter and objectives, lists of all interactions types to be used for each purpose, service levels by analyst tier, calendar and priorities? Ok, unfair question. Many AR teams are so under the gun that a well-done AR plan is often considered a luxury. The main point is that social media (e.g., blogs, Twitter, communities, LinkedIn and so on) should not be considered something big and special – which means they won’t be embraced until the “plan is ready” – but merely just additional forms of interactions to add to the mix.
Obviously, the various types of social media are still new to many individuals and AR teams. As a consequence, there is a learning curve to climb and a process you will need to go through to adopt these new forms of interactions. However, social media are not “special,” just like e-mail is not special. Oh, those folks that have been around for awhile will no doubt remember when there was heated debate whether e-mail was an appropriate form of interaction with analysts.
- Educate yourself about social media, including setting up accounts and playing with various types
- Review which of your analysts are currently using […]
Please don’t shoot the messenger, but it is becoming increasingly clear that LinkedIn might be something some AR teams also have to start monitoring. Why? Industry analysts are using LinkedIn not just as a contact management system, but more and more as a research, community-building, and marketing tool. Examples:
- Building forums using LinkedIn Groups
- Gathering structured data using LinkedIn Polls
- Collecting unstructured opinions using LinkedIn Answers
- Issuing research project launch announcements using Network Updates
- Letting reporters know they are available for quotes using Network Updates
- Requesting information contributions using Network Updates
We think that this trend is sufficiently important that we have added which relevant LinkedIn Groups analysts moderate or belong to into SageCircle’s Analyst Social Media Traffic Analysis database (which already had URL for LinkedIn profiles). This will make it easier for clients to evaluate whether this is an issue they should be concerned about.
BTW, this service can eliminate the work of establishing whether your top analysts are tweeting, blogging and using LinkedIn for research. Starting at $195, it is a bargain. Click here for more information. Annual Advisory clients can request a traffic analysis at no charge.
The following technique suggestions assume that you have a profile on LinkedIn and know how to use at least its basic features. SageCircle Advisory clients can set up an inquiry to have a short walk-through of LinkedIn if they want to get up-to-speed quickly.
- Search LinkedIn for your […]
It’s important to raise the visibility of your Twitter handle to increase your followers, which could then give you insights about who you should follow. One of the simplest ways to raise your Twitter visibility is to place links to your handle in your LinkedIn profile. This is rarely done, but quite easy to do.
Gartner typically refreshes most Hype Cycles in June and July every year. From a timing point-of-view that means the analysts are starting to think about what they want to change in the Hype Cycle in April. Then in May and June they move into their serious work on their Hype Cycles in order to get them through Editorial by the end of June. Working backward that means that AR programs need to start now to think about how they want to influence the Hype Cycle.
A valuable resource for AR programs that want to influence the Hype Cycle is the book Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time (Harvard Business Press, $19.77 + S&H on Amazon) by Hype Cycle creator Jackie Fenn and colleague Mark Raskino. While written for the enterprise client, there are many valuable insights in the book for vendor AR professionals. Click here for SageCircle’s review of the book.
- Thinking about Gartner’s HypeCycle
- Gartner’s Hype Cycle – Anticipate andInfluence
- Mastering the Hype Cycle – Highly recommended for different reasons for differentaudiences
- Add influencing the Hype Cycle to your annual AR Strategic & Tactical Plan
- Carefully review the list of Hype Cycles to identify relevant targets (while there are 96 Hype Cycles as of July 6, 2008, this task will likely not require a lot of time and effort)
- Identify which of your company’s leading-edge […]
One of the great things about social media and Twitter in particular is that they give you permission to interact with analysts outside of the normal channels. This can be a powerful tool for staying top-of-mind because as former Gartner and AMD analyst Jonathan Yarmis tweeted: “vendors who interact with me on twitter get me multiple times/DAY, everyone else multiple times/month or year”.
While you can tweet an analyst in an asynchronous fashion, it is even more powerful if you exchange tweets in real time. A great tool to understanding a person’s pattern for when they usually tweet is Tweetstats.
Tweetstats is a free tool that is simple to use because all you have to do is enter someone’s Twitter handle and hit [enter]. After a couple of minutes it returns a number of graphs that analyze the person’s twittering by date and time. Within this context it is the Tweet Density that you should look at because it shows when the person tweets by hour and day of week. Here are two examples:
Example B: […]
Guy Kawasaki is a legend in the technology industry, a status earned by being one of the original Macintosh evangelists, an entrepreneur, early adopter of emerging technologies, venture capitalist, thought leader, speaker, blogger, marketing maven, and probably a dozen other things I’m leaving out. Whew. On top of all that, Guy is also the author of books like “The Art of the Start” and “Rules for Revolutionaries.” Guy has just published a new book that has made it onto SageCircle’s reading list and might be surprisingly useful for analyst relations (AR) professionals as well.
Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition ($18.65 plus S&H, click here to purchase on Amazon) is primarily for technology entrepreneurs. There are sections on topics like starting a small business, raising money, and hiring and firing that are not all that relevant to AR professionals. So what is it about this large book, 474 pages in 94 chapters plus other sundry sections, written for tech startups that should interest AR managers? It’s relevant to AR in those dozens of very short chapters on –
Selling. Evangelizing. Communicating. Beguiling.
When you think about it, all of these are very important activities for AR even if we don’t think of ourselves as evangelists or sales representatives. As a consequence, Guy’s Reality Check offers some really practical ideas and thought provoking advice on ways AR professionals can think differently about their jobs and develop skill sets unlike their peers. These new skills can provide both career advantages for AR professionals as well as competitive advantages for their […]
Question: If I had to choose between starting an AR-Sales partnership or launching a social media initiative, which way should I go? If I did both, but with limited resources, how should I divide my efforts?
During the happy hour after the first session of our STRATEGIC ISSUES advanced AR seminar, one of the attendees asked these great questions. Both Dave and Carter answered immediately and in unison:
Why? Even a simple AR-Sales partnership pilot will give the AR team an opportunity to gather real world examples of the analysts impacting sales opportunities. These types of hard sales numbers, even in anecdotal form, are powerful tools for illustrating the strategic value of AR. In addition, a pilot project can […]