AR: Analysts Don’t List Themselves on Social Media

Several AR professionals have recently asked me how to find industry analyst blogs or Twitter addresses. The immediate answer was to send them to Sage Circle, where a pair of excellent directories are maintained. But the fact of the questions made me revisit the issue with a simple test: if I looked up biographies, would the “official sites” list those links for analysts? Astonishingly, the answer was no.

Try it yourself. Josh Bernoff is one of Forrester’s key analysts on these issues. Blog or twitter address on his official bio page? Nope. Try a few more analysts. I did. It’s not part of the official bio template, apparently.

What about Gartner? Try it – here’s Roy Schulte’s page.  No blog or twitter address here either.  And again, I tried a few others – it’s not part of the official page.

OK, one last big firm: IDC. Here’s Carl Olofson‘s page. He has a link for his twitter page – but it’s in the text; I suspect he put it in himself, because I don’t see it on other IDC pages I looked at, and it’s not in the structure in any way.

Moral of the story? You’re going to have to do it yourself. And you should. If you have not looked at the Sage Circle lists yet to see which analysts are blogging and tweeting, you may not be capturing some important things they are broadcasting about you. Given the continued glacial pace of the big firms’ own efforts to let you know about it, you need to be on top of it.

The large firms are permitting- even encouraging – analyst participation in these channels, albeit mostly in “we-only-talk–and-only-here” mode, unless you’re a client. But they haven’t yet caught on to the idea that the rest of the world might want to know they’re doing it, and that advertising it might even help them acquire new customers. Leaving aside what that might mean about the quality of their advice to you about how to leverage the new opportunities, be sure to investigate. And cherish those analysts who – with or without sanction – are participating more broadly. That fact suggests that they are more in touch, more receptive to dialogue, and likely to be better informed, than those who are not.

About Merv Adrian
Gartner Research VP, technology analyst and consultant, 30 years of industry experience, covering software mostly, hardware sometimes.

18 Responses to AR: Analysts Don’t List Themselves on Social Media

  1. Hi Merv! Thanks for this post; interesting observation about this missing information on the official biography pages.

    As it is, Twitter handles for Forrester analysts are listed at http://www.forrester.com/twitter and the Role blogs can all be found here:
    http://blogs.forrester.com/

    Once a user drills into the role blog, links for the individual analysts’ blogs are listed.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Excellent post, Merv. As an AR practitioner, this is a significant source of frustration. I’m not complaining about the extra time I spend to track down good analyst content and conversations; that’s all part of the job, and Sage Circle has made it much easier.

    I’m more concerned about what this implies about the marketing savvy of some analyst firms, particularly those that offer advisory services on marketing best practices. It’s much less costly and time-consuming for a firm if I find and engage with them online than it is for them to find me and pitch for my business. Why would I trust a firm that doesn’t seem to understand this with advising my executives on marketing and social media?

  3. Merv Adrian says:

    Thanks, Trish. No doubt everyone will come along at different paces. Forrester still leads, if memory serves, in numbers of analysts participating. And I’m not surprised…

  4. Merv,

    Taking you to task on this post. In addition to the official Forrester listing of analysts on Twitter as provided by Trisha above, there’s an official Gartner listing at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/newsroom/analysts-on-twitter.jsp
    and the IDC listing is at http://www.idc.com/analysts/twitter/twitter.jsp
    These listings are promoted clearly via the site navigation.

    Plus, like many AR professionals, I keep lists of analysts and analyst firms on Twitter. My lists are available through the Tekrati Twitter account – http://www.twitter.com/tekrati and I’ve put some on Listorious. You can find similar lists on Twitter – maintained by Jonny Bentwood, Stephen Loudermilk, other AR pros, some of the analysts themselves, and some of the analyst firms’ PR/comms leads. Plus, some analysts are joining together in a MrTweet group or some such.

    In short, I don’t see much of a lag in analyst firms promoting Twitter accounts. Nor do I see much of a challenge for AR teams in figuring out which analysts use Twitter.

    The challenge is figuring out whether anyone besides the AR team has reason to care or follow. And what to do when an analyst is releasing inappropriate info about your company or your competitors through Twitter.

  5. Merv Adrian says:

    Thank you, Barbara – may I have another? Seriously, I’m not suggesting there aren’t ways to find this out, only that fleshing out the communications strategy is still a work in progress. I was remiss in not pointing out your resources in my note, but you’ve corrected that. Still, it would seem obvious to me that research firm website templated biographies should be updated to include this information. We know people often approach the firm through the analysts’ names; it’s just good sense to have the info there. And those less familiar with the firm and its website navigation are precisely the new names that growth will come from – if they see me quoted, getting them to follow me is my chance to capture them as a prospect.

    I have no doubt that we’ll see this mature and be less in the hands of the analysts themselves, 3rd parties like the ones you and I mentioned, and separate lists that inquiring minds have to know how to look for. The left hand simply needs to notice what the right social media hand is doing – and the advice it’s giving to clients – and act accordingly.

    Your point about the real issue is spot on – the degree to which firms understand, follow, and respond to what’s going on in the social media varies widely. I have been at 3 analyst events in the past quarter where comments in the analyst tweetstream were noted and responded to from the stage, in real time. And others where nobody knows what a hashtag is. AR needs to be paying attention. If this conversation helps open an eye or two, I’ll be happy to have helped.

  6. I think there’s also the question of who owns those twitter accounts. The analysts do, not their employers. Does the employer listing them imply the employer endorses those twitter presences in some way? And does that in turn create a sense of restricted control over what you feel comfortable tweeting? I’m just asking.

  7. Merv Adrian says:

    Aaron, that’s a significant question. This topic has been around awhile on my blog – if you want some thoughts on it, you could start with https://mervadrian.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/analyst-bloggers-strong-views-abound/

    I’ve tagged “analyst,” “twitter” and “blog” on here, so you could easily find a few other posts that talk to a number of issues surrounding the social media and analysts. In general, though, it’s fair to say that even as they struggle with policy issues, the big firms have recognized that analysts are/will be/should be out there. Their marketing appears to be laggging their practices a bit.

  8. Pingback: AR: Analysts Don’t List Themselves on Social Media « Judith Hurwitz's Cloud-Centric Weblog

  9. Aravind says:

    Merv: Didn’t know about the SageCircle analyst directories. Thanks!

    Another list that you may find useful – http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=ppfitTGNfaCuf1l9u4Au4JQ. You are there in row 61 🙂

  10. Pingback: Most Tweeted Articles by Cloud Computing Experts: MrTweet

  11. Great point Merv,

    Seriously, I can’t see why the twitter handles and blog links can’t be on the bios, would be interested to have Trish’s views on that. Surely, all in one place is better…

    Going even further, when I do a search on gartner.com, idc.com or forrester.com, I would expect the blog posts to come up as well.

    Why is the blog content not aggregated in the research portals???

  12. Merv Adrian says:

    Thanks for the comment, Ludo! And I couldn’t agree more. If you look at the research on the social media topic, you’ll see that the guidance is not to do one thing, but many, when the transition is made. So: not just broadcasting product tweets but also doing sentiment analysis in the twittersphere to see how you trend; not just writing blogs but participating in others; not just offering internet-only products or events but measuring the success of those marketing chanels against traditional promotional methods. Just a few examples, all of which can be found in the research of the big firms. But most of them have only gone partway into the changes themselves. Example: the very well attended Gartner BI event that just concluded, and the MDM one as well. Very few Gartner tweets, or responses by Gartner folks to the sizable volume of comments from others, in the event tweetstream.

    Bottom lines:
    1) these things don’t just happen. Cultural change requires a vision, a commitment, task assignments, measurement and reward. Analyst firms are no different.
    2) infrastructure takes time. The content management systems of the big firms are bespoke, complex, and often brittle legacy apps with little full time resource to manage them. What you suggest (and what I suggested) make perfect sense – but someone has to implement them – once they figure it out. Presumably they have.

    It is kind of fun for folks in the vendor community (like you 😉 ) to be able to criticize them for the pace of their software rollout, isn’t it?

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  14. Ludovic says:

    Merv,

    Thanks for the comment. Just one thing: my intend wasn’t to criticise IT analysis firms for their CMS rollout.

    I was just coming from a research consumer standpoint, as someone who has to track tweets, blogs, research notes, conference proceedings, etc, for my key analysts.

    I was just expressing it would be valuable to have all in one place. Several firms now put conferences under the analysts, but some don’t even have the analyst bios readily available.

  15. Merv Adrian says:

    I understand. I, on the other hand, was ;-). I treat the market I play in as a topic too, as I did when I launched the AR practice at Forrester. Just as you have to work to manage the relationship, we analysts have to work to make that work as well as possible. And if we want to play in the social media, we should make it as easy as possible for you o find us there.

  16. Merv Adrian says:

    Thanks. Unfortunately, this is only a partial fix – if you look at individual bios the twitter handle is still not listed there. In other words, unless you find the analyst you want and then check a separate page (a click or two away – if you know it’s there) you won’t think to connect via Twitter. Still needs better integration. It would also be nice if the Analyst Search/Browse function allowed you to search by Twitter handle, for those who come in by that route…

  17. Pingback: Forrester’s new blog platform – improves individual analyst visibility for analyst relations and research clients » SageCircle Blog

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