I started my social media career at Hitachi Data Systems (I’ll actually be speaking to Hitachi in Tokyo this coming week) and eventually became the online community manager. One of the keys to being a successful community person is to be a resource (or lethal generosity) to the entire industry you want to serve –rather then just a vendor pitching jockey.
In the spirit of sharing, over the past few weeks in client calls, I’ve referenced these posts several times, one of the challenges of my blog layout is that it’s difficult to find the most visited or commented posts, here’s some I think you’d enjoy.
The Many forms of Web Marketing for 2008 (translated into 5 languages): A large index, be aware of the toolset before you begin crafting a strategy. I’ll be updating this for 09, so please leave a comment, I’ll credit you.
The Irrelevant Corporate Website (translated into 10 languages): “Blasphemy!” A marcom manager told me yesterday.
The Many Forms of Web Monetization: an important post for startups in today’s economic times.
A Chronology of Brands that Got Punk’d by Social Media: This is the list you want to stay off of.
List of Social Media Strategists and Community Managers in enterprise corporations: Unlike a wiki, I vet each submission and check their profiles to the best of my ability.
Impacts of Social Media on Customer Reference Programs: If your company harvests positive brand mentions and make case studies and toss the negative ones, they need to read this.
Social Media by Industry: Auto, Finance, and Insurance. Need to find examples for your boss or client? These lists can help.
List of Communities, Virtual Worlds, and Social Networks for Youth, Boomers, Retired, and Beyond: Need to reach a specific demographic, this list is a start.
Applying Social Computing to the Entire Product Life Cycle: If you’re thinking about social media for marketing only, you’ll need to expand further.
How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel, A Comprehensive Guide: I’ve been moderating quite a few panels, and have found some patterns that work for me. I still need to self-check to make sure I live up to my benchmark.
How I use Twitter: I often tell people I don’t mind if they unfollow from on Twitter as I’m very high volume, but there is a method to how and why I use the tool.
If these resources were helpful, I’d love to hear your feedback in comments. Recently I conducted a survey to find out what readers wanted to see more of, and it’s case studies, but I’ve found them too laborious to write for a blog post.
I’ll write you from Japan, (I’m traveling 4 out of 5 weeks) I’m going to enjoy a little big of quiet time on the plane to settle my mind, and hopefully write up my findings from last week’s roundtable as well as provide a status on the upcoming wave report on community platforms. Following Japan I land for a night back in SF then depart to Dallas for Forrester’s consumer forum, where I’ll be leading an interactive session with some of the world’s top interactive marketers, if you wanted to schedule time to talk with an analyst, here’s the lineup.
Two weeks ago I crossed the one year mark as an industry analyst, in retrospect, I approach the role differently than others before me. Recently, Forrester published a report signaling evolution to the Connected Agency, and states that agencies of yesteryear will evolve from ‘pushing’ messages to ‘pulling’ interactions and faciliating conversations. I know the same evolutionary steps applies to analysts, but to be clear, these tenets are just my opinion, and doesn’t necessarily represent that of any others.
[Rather than analyze from afar, the connected analyst should listen, join, and lead the online discussions in the market they cover]
Social technologies allow individuals to connect and get what they need from each other rather than from institutions –including analyst firms. Rather than analyze from afar, the connected analyst should listen, join, and lead the online discussions in the market they cover. As a result, they will be a trusted first resource to their market, and a profitable investment to the firm.
The 7 Tenets of the Connected Analyst
The connected analyst should:
1) Conduct community based research
The connected analyst’s relationships to the market using social technologies that the research subjects, vendors, and end users are at links reach. The connected analyst will use social media tools to improve the research process by: finding topical hot spots, conducting social research, and then promoting the findings using the same tools. Learn how crowdsourcing helps some –but not all research activities.
2) Lead the online discussion
Industry analysts are paid to learn, think, and provide guidance, as a result a tremendous amount of tacit knowledge is left outside of the reports. In this Google world, thought leadership can be measured by links, and the connected analyst should use social tools to lead the conversations in their marketplace –not just behind “paywalls”.
3) Be an accessible and transparent public resource
The connected analyst listens, responds, and helps the market they are part of. The connected analyst could provide indexes, digests, wikis, and other online resources to help the market find information –include pointing to other sources. The connected analyst will provide a behind the scenes look at the research process, findings, and interesting meetings.
4) Allow for community feedback
The connected analyst knows they can always improve, and is on a mission to constantly increase their insight, as well as improve how they relate to others. The connected analyst should allow for public feedback, ackwnoledge valid criticisms, and improve.
5) Converse with competitors
The connected analyst is on a quest for knowledge, and recognizes that smart analysts are not just at their firms, as a result, the connected analyst will participate in public discourse will fellow analysts, and is always gracious and respectful. Also, when findings from multiple independent research firms point the same direction, this can only reinforce market direction.
6) Be human
The credo of some analysts is to be god, yet ironically, like all humans, come with many faults (just ask my wife). The connected analyst should quickly correct mistakes in public, learn, then grow. Oh, yeah, it also helps to have a sense of humor once in a while.
7) Be profitable
All of the above tenets make the connected analyst more relevant, a public thought leader, and therefore, more likely to be a first resource to their industry and clients. Although laborious, the connected analyst must be a profitable investment for the firm by extending their thought leadership, I make sure this is top of mind.
So how well am I doing? Not that great actually, looking back at my tenets, I need to improve on 3 of the 7 tenets: I should join more conversations where they exist, run a public survey to get market feedback on my efforts as an analyst, (maybe analyst watchers Carter Lusher or Jonny Bentwood will survey on my behalf) and I’m not as accessible and responsive to the market as I want to be, but I simply can’t scale more than I am now.
I look forward to your feedback below, what’s missing? Is this a good approach for analyst firms?
Left Image: The panel: Dick Costolo from Google, Paula Drum from H&R Block, Chris George from MySpace, and Tom Arrix of Facebook. See more pics on Picassa.
Did you know that Google has a social media team intent on reaching brands and agencies? I didn’t either, and it’s my job to know.
A few weeks ago I spoke at Google Chicago at an event for interactive agencies, Scuba Chris has the details, I presented my latest research The Best and Worst of Social Network Marketing followed by VP of Marketing Paula Drum of H&R Block. She was absolutely amazing as she toured the agencies through all the different social media programs that they’ve done over the past year, one amazing feat, at least to me was she was able to get several of her agencies to work together on projects –nicely done.
[Although this newly formed Google Social Media product team has big backing and a hot shot product set, to truly be a solution partner to brands and agencies, Google will have to deliver the right services, support, and reporting --not be a one off technology vendor]
Perhaps what’s really interesting is that Google, often known for being a bit quiet on the PR front, invited MySpace, and Facebook to participate on a panel with us. I moderated a panel that included:
Chris George- VP of Ad Solutions, MySpace
Tom Arrix – VP of Sales, Facebook
Dick Costolo – Head of Product Management, Google Social Media (Twitter)
Paula Drum, VP of Marketing, Digital Tax Solutions, H&R Block (Twitter)
You see, Google has a story to tell about how they can help brands with social media, while most overlook YouTube, and Orkut as marketable social networks, there’s quite a few tools they offer such as iGoogle, Google Friend Connect, and the protocol they lead called OpenSocial.
To be successful, Google will absolutly need to open up and engage in the dialog that they want to participate in, being part of the social media conversation where agencies, brands and vendors are chatting and jockeying for every day. Why? I asked H&R’s Paula if she’d ever hire an agency that didn’t practice what they preach, and she said “no”. The interactive agencies, and Google know the importance of participating.
I then asked the agencies how many of them actually eat their own dogfood, a few sheepishly were bold enough to admit they do not –yet sell the social media services.
The panel was amazing, I had Facebook, MySpace, and Google there, and H&R Block to represent the demand side (the most important side), I asked a few hard questions, such as why Facebook hadn’t joined OpenSocial, the panelist punted and said: “That was a question for Mark Zuckerberg” MySpace talked about media and self-expression, and did a good job responding to my questions on why their CTRs were so low. Facebook jockeyed back and retorted that their community is for “real people” and not fake personas. The two were having a good time despite some casual coughing during each others questions –all in good fun.
Out of everyone I met, the person I was the most struck with was Dick Costello, who was the founder and CEO of Feedburner which is now part of the Google portfolio, also impressive is Yvette from the social media team as well as her colleagues, Sarah Hoople, Google is known to hire the cream of the crop.
Until that day, I didn’t know that Google had a ‘social media’ team, and if I didn’t know (as an industry analyst) then chances are many others don’t either –Google, is slowly coming out of it’s shell, so watch these folks.
Left Image: The dashboard in a car measures key health metrics, but the most important screen is the GPS, it tells me where I’m headed, where I am. and how to get there.
Yesterday, I attended Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit in the gorgeous Presidio (my family has history there, my Grandfather was a First LT in the Airforce in WW2 and spent much time there) and moderated a panel on one of my favorite topics: Social Media Measurement. On the panel I had Rob Crumpler, President and CEO, BuzzLogic, Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist, Google, Shahar Nechmad, Founder and CEO, NuConomy, and David Veneski, representing demand from the brands at Intel. These guys were smart.
Although I wasn’t there, apparently the first panel on this topic broke the rules on panels (pushing their products) and didn’t give the audience what they wanted, and we had a fiery conversation. Essentially, we pushed why measure, starting with questions to the brand side, as you may know Intel, a culture of engineers takes measurement very seriously, then learned about the different types of measurement from NuConomy’s X Engagement measurement, Google’s Web Analytics, and Buzz Logic’s Influence measurement style.
[Although Social Media Dashboards tell us key health readings, to be successful, brands need "GPS" to find out where are you headed, where are you now, and where are you going. Measure against an objective]
I questioned them to prove that their methdology was really going to help brands know if this triggered a true conversion all the way to buying cycle –they group could not prove it except with one off anecdotes. This is not a fault of the panel at all, but a major challenge with social media marketing –it’s generally unproven.
Also, FM (who have fielded some impressive campaigns) launched a brand new metrics dashboard called the Conversational Marketing Toolbox that aggregates data from many conversational sources (including Twitter) and was one of the first aggregated dashboards that I’ve seen out of the box, I certainly will take a closer look. I’ve seen the measurement dashboards of quite a few social media measurement companies, and have also advised large brands on how to configure their own dashboards internally, and I’ve noticed a trend across many of them.
Everyday we prescribe the POST methodology (someone published some slides), essentially, we want brands to have an actual objective before they set off and and experiment with social media tools. The same applies here:
The one piece of insight I provide them, and now you, is that social media measurement is like driving a modern car. You may have a dashboard with all the lights, toggles, gauges, and metrics, but remember, the most important piece of data to have in front of you is the GPS screen. The GPS screen indicates where you want to go (your objective), where are you now, and how to get there.
Update: Susan Etlinger has key quotes from the panel yesterday that she published from the Horn group blog, I enjoy how she stays engaged in the conversation.
Thanks to Brett Crosby for taking these pics of the panel yesterday.
Left Image: I was stunned by the diversity and co-existence of thousands of species at this tropical reef exhibit
Change is coming, whether you like it or not. Jive software, a company I formerly cover slashed 1/3rd of it’s workforce (see update below), likely in response to it’s own VCs suggestion to slash costs to become cash flow positive in the now famous RIP Good Times preso. Cutting
33% closer to 20% of your body off to make sure you can still float in a few years is cutting very, very deep, no doubt customer service will be impacted, and a slow down in the product roadmap.
(Update: I spoke to Sam Lawrence of Jive’s marketing last night, and learned that the layoffs were actually closer to 20%, not the 33% that was reported, I’ve since updated the post)
Coincidently, I’m having a meeting with a VC over at Sequoia (have had this planned for a while) and believe me, the economy is one discussion we’ll be having and how it applies to the social media space. I’ll also discuss how this one is different from the dot com bust.
On Monday on my “day off” I went to the brand new California Academy of Sciences in SF, and was amazed and stunned by the phillipine tropical reef, one of the largest of that kind. There were thousands of species of fish within this exhibit, that many were co-dependent, co-operative, symbiotic and in some cases –parasitic.
I see the world through an ‘internet lens’ everything I see or do relates back to my passion, web strategy. I saw a quote that was gilded to the floor that completely resonated with me, and the changes in our reef.
[It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change -Darwin]
Expect to see more slashes and cuts, even from strong and intelligent companies who are gearing up for the long haul, In a morbid (but necceary function as an analyst) I’m keeping track of these layoffs, but also feature new hires and jobs.
Here’s a few opinions and news that I’m reading that discusses the impacts of an economic downturn and it’s impact on social media, and the web and general. Really take the time to read these.
O’Reilly Media: Effect of the Depression on Technology
Video: Tech Players that May Benefit from the Financial Crisis
Richard MacManus of RWW What’s Next After Web 2.0
Adage: Even Search Not Immune to Financial Malaise
SFGate: Venture capital slashed $476 million in quarter
Fast Forward: In uncertain times, Enterprise 2.0 takes the stage
Direct Marketing News: To gain market share in a recession, try social marketing
Dave McClure: Fear is the Mind Killer of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (we must be Muad’Dib, not Clark Kent)
If you have any reactions to any of these articles, or want to submit a related one, please leave a comment below.
In the age of meme trackers, aggregators, and news.google.com I hear from more people that this hand created editorial list I do each week is helpful. With so much content being created now, it just goes to show that editing (by humans) is more important than ever. One key for this digest to be successful is to link to anything that I think is important, regardless of source, and even competitive research –expect more of that as I go forward.
I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an industry analyst. By creating this digest (I started this over a year ago) it really helps me to stay on top of the space I cover.
I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my take, and click link to dive in for more.
Subscribe to this blog in your feedreader, or use the email subscription box in the right column.
Web Strategy Summary
Interesting week, given the top of everyone’s minds is the financial changes in the global economy. I’m paying closer attention to the discussions, visions, and strategy to the social networks. While CEO of Facebook decrees a focus on growth –not revenue –MySpace launches a revenue generation ad aimed at SMB. For vendors and brands focused on the enterprise side, Forrester releases a report predicting a downturn in deal size over the next few years.
Vision: Zuckerberg focused on Growth –not revenue
Interesting interview here, as most companies during a recession want to focus on revenues, Facebook CEO wants to focus on growth. He can do this, as he has partners with deep pockets like Microsoft that can hold him out for the long term –they’re more likely to weather the storm.
Advertising: New “MySpace MyAds” aim at SMB
Reaching to small businesses MySpace launches new advertising product that allows them to self serve by buying –and creating –their own ads. The big challenge isn’t self service, but if traditional ads actually work on social networks. Read that article to hear my take on the different use cases between social network and the ‘hunt and gather’ approach we do.
Deployment: Kohler launches social media efforts
Kohler launches blogs, social network and ratings features in their latest ‘labs’ deployment. This appears to be a Pluck deployment.
Forecast: Forrester predicts reducing in Enterprise 2.0 Apps
Colleague Oliver Young is quoted in this latest RWW article pointing out how many enterprise software prices will reduce, including social networking software.
Layoffs: Jive lays off 1/3rd of workforce
In a response to the changing economy, Jive has asked 1/3rd of it’s workforce to move on, I’ve updated this list of companies that are having layoffs.
Funding: JS-Kit receives $3.6mm in funding
An embeddable social media JS-Kit company helps webpages get social has now received a small round of funding that could propel them for some time. The challenge? This is a very crowded space with larger encumbants like Pluck, Kickapps and a host of others that could repel them from the enterprise space. I’ll be briefed by them in a few weeks, more news to come.
Career: How to use social networking for your career
Whenever jobs are at threat, professionals will seek online tools to educate, connect, and find jobs, in this particular case, the NYT showcases some tactics to do all three.
Vision: Zuckerberg says people will continue to share
Citing Moore’s law, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg claims users will continue to grow at an exponential rate. While too early, Forrester’s technographic data will continue to monitor and track this, it also depends on how you count sharing.
Music: Kiwibox launches music via Universal
Teen aimed Social Network Kiwibox, launches music features, partnered with Universal Music Group as well as premium content, I’m mentioned in this article.
Productivity: LinkedIn and Ning help corporations
The story for enterprise social networking software has never had a bigger opportunity than now, by cutting down email inbox clutter and helping customers connect.
OpenSocial: Ning allows developers on it’s platform
Ning, which is much like Yahoo Groups 2.0 gives third party application develoepers access to it’s large community of millions of users, in an effort to continue to grow their viablilty.
Analysis: Social network usage in UK slowdown
Hitwise reports that in the UK Facebook is the second top social network, and although still trending upward, a slowdown in adoption is being seen.
Opinion: Social Networks have jumped the shark
GigaOm has an interesting perspective that Hasselhoff’s niche social network has finally signaled the last straw for the buzz –and comments on Facebook’s CEO vision of growth before profit.
Culture: Churches use Facebook
Social networks seep into every social institution, why not religion? Religious groups and churches use social networking for finding, evangelizing and helping members self support.
Humor: What Annoys us with Facebook
How do you know you’re a popular generational icon? Blog posts like this that point out what people don’t like about Facebook.
If you’re a social network, or widget company, I want to know of your news, send me an email, or leave a comment below. Help me stay up to date.
I’m spending my quiet time thinking about what lays in front of us, in fact, given the market data, there’s troubled times ahead not just for tech, but the US economy which of course impacts globally, as we’re major importers of goods from other nations.
I was part of the first web bust, at a high flying startup that had 5 splits then came crashing to Chapter 11 –twice. I tell my story about Exodus and remember it vividly, as without recalling history, we’re doomed to repeat it again.
In this post, I’ll compare and contrast how this was different from the last dot com bust in 2001, but I’ll do my best to provide an objective viewpoint –not one filled with panic.
Compare and Contrast: Dot Com Bust and Web Two Point Doh
I don’t have access to a 10 year funding graph, but this article shows a rise in the number of silicon valley companies that were funded during the first web wave. While Techcrunch shows a noticable increase (a doubling from 05-08 in funding dollars from 2006-2008) in funding for the second wave, but shows VC confidence drastically lowering in 2008.
In the first web wave, the exit strategy was IPO, where private equity was then made available to the free market, selling the ownership of the company to shareholders. In the second round, most companies exit strategy weren’t M&A but instead are acquisitions, or merger activity.
911 and Credit Crunch
This tragic day was the start of the collapse in the United States and other global partners. For the second wave, this was triggered by the credit crunch, perhaps very disastrous as well, and appeared to hit us out of nowhere.
In the first dot come bust, many industries were reeling from the impacts of 911, (airlines come to mind) this set off a different kind of panic. We saw stock prices of dot coms bottoming out, then becoming penny stocks and resulting in a few companies collapsing. While some of the big players like Google have seen 60% devaluation of their share prices, most startups, being private, haven’t be hit in this way.
I’m not a financial analyst, so I can’t give much insight to this arena, but although the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index is currently at 9387 today, we forget that it was even lower at 7528 in October 2002, this Google Finance map (set to 10 years) shows.
In the first web wave, while many were able to stand the test of time with actual revenues like Paypal, eBay, Yahoo, Weather, Google, Amazon, Linkedin, for many others it was about getting eyeballs, brand awareness, and pumping stock prices with announcements. Today, we don’t hear of many stories of companies who are now hand over first profitable, in fact, the largest players like Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks still struggle with defining clear revenue model.
The first web bust was known for the massive hacking of jobs, I remember many being layed off in silicon valley, and they fled to other tech centers like Seattle, Portland, Texas, and San Diego. I also recall that the number one migration of jobs in the valley was to become a realtor. I shifted to the banking industry (intranet) but would be somewhat hesitant today given all that’s gone on.
The first web boom was funded by VC and private investors who had to put in a substantial amount of investments to get companies lifted off the ground, as a result, there were just a few players in each space. Today, development technology and open source have enabled companies to get launched from very little funding –sometimes none at all. Of course, this comes with a downside as you soon start to have too many players in one space, my list of community vendors caps out at 90 companies doing the same thing. Update: Jeroen de Miranda, points out in Twitter that today’s web delivery is more software as a service, not on premise software, making adoption faster, cheaper, in many cases.
Barbera Ling in the comments below nods to the point that recruiting will suffer now as it has suffered before. One contrast however is that now anyone can build an online reputation, and network with others with little technical skill using social media tools.
I’d love to hear your compare and contrast of the first web bust and what could happen in the next few years.
Briefings are a core part of being an analyst, this constant input fuels me with new ideas, examples, and vendors to recommend to our vast client base in our inquiry calls, speeches research reports, and even blog posts.
I want you to be effective and efficient in your communications, although keep in mind that each analyst may have their own preference.
Thanks to all who have requested briefings to meet with me, here’s a few things to know that’ll help you to quickly communicate your value proposition to me, so I can best understand your company. First of all, see this list of the dreamteam, in many cases, I may not be the right analyst to cover your company. In most cases, I’m limiting my briefings to 30 minutes rather than an hour, if you can’t communicate your value in that time, we’ve other issues to consider. Powerpoint slides are good, but only as a supplement for discussion, allow me to ask questions, I can learn far more when it’s a dialog. Rushing through your presentation just to make sure you hit each slide isn’t going to do you –or me– any good, I can read slides on my own.
Lately, my schedule has gone awry, (my lack of blogging is one indicator) and I’m on average 30 days out for most briefings. I’m very unlikely to blog about your announcement for a few reasons: 1) I leave that for the smart bloggers with far more traffic and press folks to break news, but I’m happy to provide them with 3rd party quotes 2) In most cases, I just don’t have the time. With that said, I’ll likely link to an announcement from Twitter if I think it’s relevant (so be sure to include URLs).
As an analyst, I serve the Interactive Marketer at Enterprise class companies, and I primarily focus on social media, with a primary focus on social networks, communities, widgets therefore, on a briefing, I’m going to filter your company that way. I’ve been getting quite a few briefing requests, I hope this helps you to understand how to best approach me.
I really look forward to learning about your company, I hope these suggestions help make your time –and mine –efficient and effective.
With the financial crises impacting not just US but global markets, as an industry analyst focused on social computing, I’m going to watch how this impacts layoffs in the tech and social media space.
While I take no joy in seeing jobs get cut, I do feature recent ‘on the moves’ and have links to many job sites related to social media. It’s only fair that I point out the new hires as well as the exits.
To be clear these layoffs aren’t just hitting the social media space, but will hit other industries. Most recent at the top, in some cases these are hard to confirm as sources from company feed rumor sites, so take them as you will.
Layoffs in the Social Media Space
Oct 14: Jive lays off around 20% of worforce
Oct 13: Redfin lays off 20% of workforce leaving 75 (link via TomCummings)
Oct 10: Fast Company, which has social network for website and popular videoblogger, lays off 20
Oct 10: Seesmic, a video conversation player lays off 7
Oct 6: eBay to lay off 10% of workforce to streamline after recession.
Oct 3: Gawker blog network lays off 19, and brags about it.
Leave a comment below with a submission, or watch these tweets with the tag #techlayoffs, there are three there now
Techcrunch has a layoff tracker, it’s like we’re seeing f-d company all over again.