We've talked about measurement often. One aspect of measurement is the analytics component. I'd like to introduce you to Bryan Eisenberg, who provides the most useful advice on Google Analytics I have seen.
Analysis is a process of breaking up a complex topic into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it. It is one way of making sense of information and extrapolating observations we can utilize to take next steps.
Many companies are still wrestling with making a business case for blogging and/or social media. When we're done talking about scenarios and what could go wrong, and why we cannot have dozens of reviews for posts, the biggest push back seems to be connected with the issue of intellectual property (IP). When businesses, especially in the technology space, shifted from selling hardware to services, their revenue model became tied directly with advice. Why would they give that advice away for free now?
For one because those companies that are sharing what they know are gaining visibility and getting more customers, not less. Think about it, it used to be just speaking at conferences, authoring articles and bylines, now you can practically write the book in your field of expertise, and many do. The added advantage of sharing in social media, is the opportunity to also earn a following - there's no better top of mind than that generated by a relationship, seeing someone at work.
Remember that although advice is nice to have, it's the doing part that is difficult. That's what as customers we end up paying for.
If there is a community that could make a case for IP, that is the analyst community. Yet, as consultants and advisers - sometimes the ultimate influencers in a purchase decision - analysts understand the value of being present in the community. I for one am leery of companies that advise on strategies they themselves do not follow, and when it comes to understanding the dynamics of social media, well, you pretty much need to do it to get it.
Jonny Bentwood, a PR consultant for Edelman who specializes in analyst relations, put together a list of the Top 100 Analyst blogs and The Analyst Twitter Index. There's probably been some movement ever since he put together those lists in February and July and I see he is planning to run an update. These are a good starting point for checking out who's doing the doing with the talking.
You probably recognize Jeremiah Owyang, from Forrester, on top of the list for blogs and for Twitter. I also read James Governor, from Redmonk, and follow him on Twitter as well as Stove Boyd, from Message (Twitter). I like Boyd a lot, in case you were wondering.
Many of you will know Josh Bernoff, from Forrester, thanks to his popular blog and the book he co-authored with Charlene Li, Groundswell. I see a strong presence by Jupiter Research and of course Forrester. Not to duplicate the list here, the point is that there are many analysts who are active in social media. When companies ask the analyst community for advice to make a business case for blogging and/or social media, there are many to choose from.
A consultant and adviser can help you learn best practices and uncover why your company should get involved. However, don't expect to learn if you want to participate from them. There is hardly a rigid prescription for social media to follow exactly for your business that will guarantee "x" results. Because in social software, as Adrian Chan puts it, failure (also) works.
So while the doing is crucial for getting it, the learning curve seems to be as interesting as the Giro d'Italia with a twist of Formula Uno. This is an ever changing, dynamic space where attitude and soft skills do matter.
[I thought we'd share a smile with a comic De Niro and a serious Crystal in Analyze This]