Many tech industry influencers think of Twitter as little more than a vehicle for extending the reach of their opinions. However, Twitter offers more to influencers than a bigger audience. It can be an aide in strengthening expertise as well. Combining the two agendas — improving expertise and expanding reach — makes good sense. One influencer who’s doing this is John Moore, founder of Chilmark Research.
John is a veteran industry analyst and an opinion leader on IT in the healthcare market. He was recently ranked in the top 50 tech industry analysts on Twitter, in a project using Edelman’s free measurement tool TweetLevel (see earlier post).
He provides a clear description of why and how he uses Twitter, including four tips based on his own experience:
- Do not write off any technology completely
- Define your purpose
- Choose who you follow carefully
- Be engaged and engaging
Check out the complete post. It’s one of the best explanations I’ve seen for people who are serious about managing their expertise and the reach of their opinions.
The SAP Influencer Summit dominated tech media and Twitter backchannel conversations about SAP all week. The event offers a good example of real time influencer relations management. If you’re planning an influencer summit for 2010, consider these 3 points:
1. Open discourse. Several tech providers nixed live blogging and live micro-blogging (Twitter) during their influencer events this year. SAP set an important precedent by keeping all social media channels open and participating in conversations in real time. Live sessions were blogged, reported, tweeted and debated by people in attendance and by virtual attendees around the world. Follow SAP’s example: Limit NDAs to the situations where they make sense, such as the strategy development work leading up to an event like this. When the content doesn’t mandate an NDA, don’t curb use of social media.
2. Employee engagement. Many SAP employees expanded on speaker and audience comments via Twitter. Creating a wider circle of employee commentators makes perfect sense. And you know what? The press, analysts and consultants were likely to contact their “unofficial” employee sources anyway. It’s a much better idea to involve more employees by design, than to pretend that exchanges are limited to the featured spokespeople and handlers in the room.
3. Diverse attendees. SAP invited a diverse group of influencers to participate. Among tech industry influencers, big brand analysts and media dialogued side by side with solo opinion leaders and every size in between as well as customers and bloggers. Gathering diverse opinion leaders together to share the same information at the same time at a flagship event is smart on several counts. One, it’s efficient. Two, it sets up diverse, multiple touch points with marketplaces. It also helps build enough momentum to flow directly to offline conversations. In other words, no single point of failure and lot of juice.
For more on the SAP Influencer Summit, check out:
- Timo Elliott, an evangelist for SAP. He offers light commentary on what was going on behind the scenes here. Â He also links to a PDF document of Twitter feed from #sapsummit.
- Jonathan Becher, SVP marketing at SAP and official SAP blogger for the event, posted here.
- R Ray Wang, an analyst with Altimeter Group, offers one analyst’s summary of the event themes and SAP’s performance here.
Update December 14th: Adding 2 more links to analyst reactions. Please feel free to add more attendee links in the comments. - B
- Jon Reed, a fellow with PAC , weighs in on the experience and resulting expectations among attendeesÂ here
- James Governor, analyst with RedMonk, gives a candid analyst viewpoint that was widely accepted among other analysts here
Ten years ago 91 analysts and journalists went on record with their top gripes about vendor briefings and vendor PR representatives - in other words, “AR”. Jeffrey Tarter, then the mastermind behind Softletter, did the research and compiled the results. That report is still useful perspective for analyst relations professionals today. It’s one of the links I’m posting here, part of Â what I call the AR historical archive.
For the last few years, I’ve housed this list at the IIAR’s free Yahoo! community for analyst relations professionals. The IIAR plans to shut down that group in December. So I’m posting my archives here. The links are ordered by date.
The link to Jeffrey’s landmark report is at the end of this first section, Analysts on AR.
The second section (next post) puts the analyst business under scrutiny. It contains links to historical journalist and academic content investigating the analyst business.
ANALYSTS ON ANALYST RELATIONS (2007 - 1999)
ES Research Group 02-2007: “Working with Analysts” Free.Â Dave Stein blogs on analyst/vendor relations from both sides of the aisle
JupiterResearch 12-2006: “Lessons in Analyst Relations” No longer online. Free. Michael Gartnerberg blog post. Softly supports dedicated inhouse AR over other models. Original link:
AMI-PartnersÂ 11-2006: “7 Ingredients for a Winning Analyst Relations Program” Free. Reprint of Laurie McCabe’s out-of-print Kensington Group article, at theÂ ARmadgeddon blog
RedMonk 11-2006: “Interview with James Governor, RedMonk” Free.Â Interview transcript on Helzerman’s Odd Bits Blog; scroll down to “Analyst Relations 101″ portion in particular.
Security Incite 11-2006: “Analyst Relations - Vendor Pet Peeves” and “Top 5 ways to piss Mike off” Free.Â Mike Rothman blogs onÂ ”a couple of other things that annoy me about dealing with vendors”. And,Â the top 5 things vendors do that they shouldn’t.
Forrester Research 11-2006: “Analyst Models Are Key To Briefing Impact” $.Â Research Brief. Accommodate market models used by analysts, to improve likelihood of a successful briefing. By Kevin Lucas.
Forrester Research 10-2006: “The Three Archetypes Of Industry Analysts” $.Â Research Brief. How To Identify And Work With Advocates, Strategists, Evangelists. By Ray Wang.
Forrester Research 8-2006: “Five Steps For AR To Improve Credibility With Product Teams” $. Research Brief. This report focuses on five best practices for earning credibility with product teams. By Ray Wang.
Forrester Research 7-2006: “How to get a briefing at Forrester” Free. Charlene Li’s candid blog post with personal and general perspectives.
Burton Group 3-2006: “Gartner: Speedtalk for 30 Minutes” Free.Â Guy Creese’s blog jabs Gartner, then explains 3 common mistakes dogging vendors attempting to brief analysts.
Gartner 9-2005: “This is Ground Control to PR Tom” Free.Â Andy Bitterer blogs on understanding analyst coverage to target the right analysts.
Enderle Group 11-2004: “Building a Vendor Advisory Council” Free.Â Rob Enderle’s whitepaper defining the goals, methods, and measurements for building a successful analyst advisory council for a supplyside company.
Saugatuck 7-2004: “Reviewing Vendor Analyst Relations Management” No longer online. Free. 3 common, expensive mistakes: not deeming AR strategic; spending too much money on research; using PR firms for AR. By B. Guptill. Original link: http://www.saugatech.com/151view.htm
Giga Information Group 4-2003: “Analyst Relations: In-House or Outsourced to a PR Firm?” $.Â Idea Byte. AR should be internally staffed, or at least centrally managed, by experienced personnel rather than outsourced to PR, and the factors driving this become more pronounced as the company grows in size and complexity. By Rob Enderle.
Softletter 10-1999: “The Decline and Fall of Public Relations” Free. 91 reporters, editors, and analysts share specific rants about vendor PR. Compiled by Jeffrey Tarter.
The web has revolutionized the media and research businesses. Freely available and low-cost research is gaining stature as a viable alternative to higher-priced analyst research. Those who publish so-called â€œgood enoughâ€ research are becoming trusted influencers in their own right. Plus, maturing web search services make it easier to find premium and sponsored research stored on the web in a variety of formats. So, how does a company develop two-way relationships and conversations with these alternative information sources? A natural choice is to add them to an existing analyst relations program.
Historically, analyst relations programs rejected the idea of serving any other type of research-based influencer. Competitive intelligence and market research departments took the lead on researchers beyond the analyst domain. This distinction makes less and less sense as the web evolves.
Today, AR programs are well positioned to respond to the growing stature of the in-house research departments at industry associations, professional associations, media networks, events companies, and bloggers. Examples include the research departments of associations such as the IEEE, Object Management Group and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Examples in the media include the product and trend research that has become the hallmark of TechWebâ€™s Dark Reading and CBS Interactiveâ€™s ZDNet.
Expanding the AR charter to include highly complementary influencers creates new efficiencies in manpower. Plus, embracing complementary categories of influencers enables the AR team to increase its strategic value and diversify best practices skill sets. Benefits also include rapid outreach to previously underserved influencer categories.
Don Bulmer, the SNCR-award winning head of influencer relations at SAP, is forming an informal think tank project on social influence, and in particular, best practices for social influence. He’s issued an open invitation to participate and contribute content.
He’s outlined an ambitious agenda.Â In his words,
“As I think about this I am inspired to look more deeply at how social media has affected the dynamics and rules of ’social influence’ across a number of areas of society (business, politics, philanthropy/giving, personal productivity/advancement, etc.). To understand how the phenomena has affected the behaviors and motivations of people for greater benefit and activism.”
I’m in. Looks like a good opportunity to ponder influencer dynamics beyond the business setting and to do it in the company of great minds. Get the scoop at his blog. Or if you work inhouse on the corporate side, consider collaborating in concert with the Influencer Marketing & Influencer Relations Group at LinkedIn.