As I’ve recently “retired” from yet another chapter as an analyst relations person in the technology industry, I wanted to share a few thoughts with my friends, the analysts. As some of you know, I sincerely believe there is a massive opportunity for everyone on social media, and I’d love to see you all embrace it. I’m an evangelist, what can I say?
What I’m suggesting is for you to get A LOT more active at utilizing social media to build your personal brands, as well as the brands of your firms. I ask this for your benefit, as well as for the benefit of the tirelessly working AR people you deal with every day.
To give you some context, when I first did AR (back in London in the 90s) we didn’t have social media, however the challenges getting vendors to pay attention to you hasn’t changed much at all – something that I know frustrates you. I’ve always seen the reason for this being the fact that much of the influence you have cannot be “seen” or measured. In Asia, that problem is exacerbated even more.
If I might just put you in the shoes of the average AR person.
It’s very challenging getting internal attention, because in the region, vendors are running at a million miles an hour, not everyone has access to your research, we can never know about your closed door conversations with customers/prospects unless they tell us about them (and that requires someone to capture it – impossible), and we can’t capture your media results because there’s just too many countries and languages to monitor. Fundamentally, the analyst community in Asia is a massive group of people with a massive influence, and there never seems to be enough resources on the AR front for most vendors in Asia, so it’s all just a little bit challenging.
And that’s where social media comes in.
But what’s in it for me, I hear you ask? Well….
- Career opportunities – you may already be a leading analyst (and I’ll get to you in a moment) but for those building their reputations – internally and externally – there is no better way than to harness the power of social to help you achieve that. Influencers are on social media, so that’s where you become one, and those who do this will have much greater career opportunities. Social influence is becoming critical when being considered for career opportunities, so if you want to build your career, social media is one of the greatest tools to let everyone know what you stand for
- If you are a super star analyst, then it is an opportunity to share your wisdom, inspire your juniors, provide your organization with a compelling message for customers/potential customers and the media, as well as a platform to get vendors switched onto you. Not everyone has access to your research and not everyone has access to you, so this is a way to reach a big audience quickly and maximize your personal influence, your organisations influence and elevate the importance of analyst’s full stop. You are the smartest guys in the room, so if you can share a little piece of that knowledge with all of us, we’d be super grateful
- You are influencers – social media is dominated by people calling themselves ‘thought-leaders’ and ‘influencers’ and the people considered this in the technology world are the analysts, so please join the party
- The media track social media (esp. Twitter) for opinion leaders and influencers to comment on news stories. If you want PR opportunities for yourself/your company, then social is where it’s happening today
There are many more reasons, but the essence of my message is: it’s time. The world is changing – as you are predicting – and being active participants in this new social world is more important than ever before, for everyone in business.
Now let me tell you how an AR person can benefit if you get more social. As you know, an AR person has many responsibilities, but the most important (in my view) is to PR you and the work you do in Asia. Therefore, your involvement on social media helps AR folks, which benefits you/your organisation in return. How?
- Blogs – one of the best tools available to analysts is blogging. Blogs provide an opportunity to capture the essence of the area you research, what end-users are saying, good experiences with vendors, bad experiences with vendors, etc… The AR person can share this internally (and externally) because it’s something tangible about your influence. It doesn’t have to be positive for a vendor, because the criticism provides an opportunity to learn. Naturally a positive piece is a great opportunity for an AR person, and your blogs provide a measurable piece of information AR people can utilize
- Vendor events – you all attend events and I know sometimes it feels like this is all you do. Why not blog about the event, what you heard, what you liked, what you didn’t and what surprised you? IDC provides an event recap but it’s not socialized – why? Forrester is great at event recaps. Gartner I’ve never seen one. Phil Hassey is hot on this and that’s great. After an event is over, this content is gold as proof of success (or learnings) for an AR person
- Social media – LinkedIn is a very powerful medium for analysts, so is Twitter. The IDC team are strong on Twitter, as is IBRS, CapioIT, with Ovum, Frost & Sullivan, Forrester and Gartner there as well. Just so you know, after the Analyst Summit last year I clipped every single Tweet you shared into the final wrap up report – the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes it took me a really long time, but it was terrific proof of the event’s success and learnings, so it’s valued
- Media coverage – one thing I always appreciated is analysts sending me coverage they appeared in that was relevant to me. Obviously if it was positive I would send it over my social channels, but equally, I would share it on the internal Yammer network too – that’s why it’s a great thing. AR people can help you too
If I think of the analysts who really get this stuff, I’d definitely say:
- Joe Sweeney at IBRS gets it. Not only does he have his licensing blog, he blogs on LinkedIn too. The IBRS team are consistent on Twitter, even if a few vendors probably quake in their boots when IBRS get going
- Phil Hassey launched CapioIT a few years ago and completely understood that to get heard against much bigger competition, blogging and social media was critical. Phil is consistent, and that’s good
- There are some IDC analysts who embrace Twitter, including Daphne Chung, Bryan Ma, Chris Zhang, Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Charles Reed Anderson and Sabharinath Bala. I know there are more, but these are the ones who are regular and interactive – critical!
- Forrester stand outs are Michael Barnes, Fred Giron, and Tim Sheedy – mainly because they regularly blog as well – which is the key. Bryan Wang and Charlie Dai in China are good too
- Frost & Sullivan – Audrey Williams, Manoj Menon, Andrew Milroy and Krishna Baidya all understand it’s power
- Ovum Kevin Noonan, Adrian Ho and Jens Butler. Kevin and Jens are both great on LinkedIn too, while Adrian is very active on Twitter
- Canalys aren’t individually active on Twitter, instead preferring a centralized account. But Rachel Lashford and the team do utilize LinkedIn. I believe this makes sense due to a very direct relationship with their customer
- And SOME of the Gartner guys are pretty good, with Michael Warrilow a considered voice on Twitter, Arun Chandrasekaran as well, but my favourite Gartner social media participator in Asia is definitely Olive Huang – check out her blogs – she’s fabulous. Two of my favourites are Facebook Thinks I am Fat and What Can I Do about It? And Australian Farmers Praying for Rain, and in Need of a Better Weather App. Why? Because you don’t expect an analyst to write content linked to real life, while honing in on technology challenges and how they play out for all of us
(Facebook thinks I need plastic surgery by the way – you?)
Of course, when compared to some of the global heavy weights – Tiffani Bova, Brian Solis or Ray Wang – lessons could be learned. But for everyone I’ve copied here, all are worth following, and bookmark Gartner’s blog site. A great information resource.
Concluding now. I write this knowing the analysts are super busy, and if Dave Noble’s recent blog is anything to go by, it’s only going to get busier. BUT this is about YOU. It’s about taking care of yourself and your personal brand. It’s kind of like taking care of your health, but for your career instead. Your firm obviously benefits too, but that’s not as important as what you get. I also appreciate that some of your firms have restrictions on what you can and can’t do, but you know, perhaps it’s time to have discussions to get that changed? It really is redundant thinking.
I believe in the power of social media to change the world, but it changes careers too. I’d be thrilled to know my blog helped you love social just a little bit more, because I miss working with you, but I still want to “hear” from you!
Take care, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to those celebrating.