ARcade » Social Media Weblog maintained by Hill+Knowlton Strategies\' global Analyst Relations team. Wed, 30 Nov 2011 02:40:13 +0000 en hourly 1 Immediacy of Social Media Models Gives Marketers the Twitters Fri, 03 Dec 2010 20:25:25 +0000 Joshua Reynolds Like many revolutionary technologies, it’s taken the human species a little time to figure out the best uses for Twitter—and along the way we’ve discovered some glorious mistakes, as well. Twitter Product Management Head Elizabeth Weil and Cotweet CEO and Founder Jesse Engle shared their perspectives with the CMO Club Summit in a discussion moderated of Jeff Rorhs of Exact Target on where Twitter does—and doesn’t—drive business forward.

Nobody can deny it—Twitter is crossing into the mainstream. With approximately 175 million users and about 90 million tweets each day across the platform, Twitter has become the marketing opportunity—and threat—we can’t afford to ignore. No argument there.

So what do marketers do about it? Twitter would suggest marketers first take a look at three new advertising products they’ve launched: Promoted Tweets (which lets advertisers broadcast specific tweets to broader audiences), Promoted Trends (which lets advertisers kick-start or seed a viral discussion by leveraging a highlighted discussion trend on Twitter) and Promoted Accounts (which boosts the visibility and following of a specific advertiser on Twitter).

But even those promoted products are just the beginning. Weil was quick to note that only discussions that are truly resonant—that are interesting, organically followed and re-tweeted—will break through and achieve meaningful results for marketers. “Tweets are supposed to be spontaneous and right for the moment,” Weil commented, adding that when marketers over-think tweets and try to make them brand-compliant and on-message, “it makes it artificial and it starts to not feel like Twitter.”

According to Engle, the first task is to find ways to take advantage of conversations taking place on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and to find the most natural place for a brand to dive into the discussion.  Weil concurs. “One of the biggest misperceptions around Twitter is that you need to Tweet,” she noted. “Such a great way to get into Twitter is to observe just what’s going on.”

Engle also points to a fundamental difference between Facebook and Twitter: the speed at which bad news travels. “Facebook is something you can choose to do or not to do as a marketer,” he noted, “but Twitter is something you have to pay attention to. A single tweet can disrupt your whole brand.” He advised being ready, knowing what discussions to watch for, and having a response plan in place.

But one thing Facebook and Twitter do have in common is the massive database of information and insights they are gathering about their ever-growing populations. What we tweet, when we tweet, where we tweet from, and what we do with other tweets all speaks volumes about our connections, our desires and our preferences. One participant was curious to know what kind of data Twitter is in fact capturing, and at what point Twitter could transform into a data targeting and research entity.

“I can’t tell you,” noted Weil, “But advertisers tell us they want to geo-target better and demo-target better … and we have something unique.”

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Tweet-up with H&K and Michael Gartenberg to discuss Social Media Trends Thu, 04 Jun 2009 22:26:36 +0000 Ruth Busbee Going to be in San Francisco Monday, June 8? We’re hosting a Tweet up with Michael Gartenberg to discuss Social Media Trends and the Apple WWDC.

Register here:


When: June 8, 2009; 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: 303 Second Street, South Tower, 9th Floor Terrace

RSVP: or Register at EventBrite.

Michael’s Bio can be found here: or here:

Light Appetizers and Drinks will be served.
Business card raffle will be held for two bottles of Wine

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Chatting with Gartner Tue, 05 May 2009 17:58:42 +0000 Jay Andersen Last week our US-based analyst relations team spent a lively hour with Jenni Lehman, Group VP in Gartner Research, when she visited our offices to talk about the firm’s research structure, social media policies, and whom to call when things turn south.

If you haven’t met Jenni, she is responsible for research operations including the functions of Research Methodology, Research Agenda Management, Primary Research, Secondary Research, Global Editing, Research Engagement Scheduling, Research Events Programs, Research Workforce Development and Research Business Operations.  Jenni explained how Gartner has six other GVPs of research who have oversight of markets including Servers & Storage, IT Operations, Business Intelligence, etc. while she is charged with creating the framework for repeatable and high-quality research. Yes, her plate is a full one. And yes Gartner pays close attention to how research is created and developed. I might have coined a new acronym when I asked her how their recently launched CCA (Critical Capabilities Analysis) methodology was going. After explaining what I meant (I guess nobody other than me refers to them as CCA), Jenni let us know that client response has been strong and that more than 20 are planned for 2009. We’re curious to hear if anyone out there has had any experience working on a CCA (there I said it again!). She also confirmed that Hype Cycles are one of the most-often downloaded research documents at

While some have rightly criticized Gartner for being slow to have a blogging and Twitter presence, the firm is now embracing digital. Gartner has established a clear set of guidelines for their analysts to follow including avoid inflammatory subjects, don’t post information and advice for which clients pay Gartner, protect and enhance the value of the Gartner brand, and be personable and have fun. The link for their policy can be found here. As a long-time Gartner client we appreciate the fact that they are respecting our rights and not giving away one of our competitive advantages. Gartner has a number of active Twitterers which can be found here. We are encouraged to see Gartner join the conversation on Twitter and in the blogosphere. Jenni mentioned one interesting side effect of social media; analysts sometimes blog about subject areas outside of their core focus. When they do, they need to be careful that what they post does not contradict what Gartner has officially written on the subject. It might be a good best practice to search across the Gartner blog network to see if analysts you don’t normally follow are writing about your company or market. And finally, Jenni confirmed our suspicion that Gartner tracks blog readership to see which analysts are getting the most hits. A little friendly competition amongst the analyst ranks is alive and well.

And finally we talked about the role of Ombudsman, which Jenni referred to as Gartner’s Switzerland. If a vendor has an issue with published research, including blogs and Twitter posts, they are urged to take it up with the Ombudsman to address the issue. The Ombudsman’s main goal is to be responsive to end-user and vendor issues to maintain the company’s integrity, evaluate research for balance and objectivity, and deliver visibility into Gartner’s research process. It’s a lofty goal and our team has experience with the process. We’d be interested in hearing about anyone else’s experience.

Overall it was a great meeting; as an AR professional with a library research background I found it a fascinating look at what goes on behind the scenes at Gartner research. We’re hoping to meet with other folks responsible for research agenda at other leading industry research firms. Stay tuned!

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Mastering the Hype Cycle – new book by Gartner Wed, 17 Sep 2008 20:42:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell Gartner analysts Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino have written a book on the Hype Cycle, which is the series of signature research that Gartner’s clients read the most.

Jackie created the first ‘Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies’ in 1995 and has been refining them in the 13 years since. In the original, the “Information Superhighway” was tumbling down towards the trough of disillusionment where handwriting recognition was already languishing and intelligent agents were at their most hyped. At H&K, we reckon Jackie was pretty much spot on.

Jackie and Mark have also started a blog around the launch of their book, which is worth reading as it already contains useful insights relating to various cycles.

Flatteringly, in their latest post Jackie references the Clean Tech Hype Cycle that Josh Reynolds published in June (and which I cross-posted here). As Jackie says, the
hype cycle really isn’t about technology, but about the human reaction
to anything new – in particular the mismatch between expectations and
we couldn’t agree more – we use hype cycles internally as a marketing planning tool in various divisions, whether or not they relate to technology.

We also debate hype cycles with clients who also subscribe to Gartner and can therefore access the reports – used carefully, this really helps both sides to understand the real business goals and to match communications objectives accordingly.

Personally, I can hardly wait to read the book, which I’ve had on pre-order for weeks now!

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Latest news from Twitter: Forrester hires a Senior Analyst Fri, 27 Jun 2008 11:32:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell Peter Kim tweets that Forrester Research has filled a vacant position and will soon be announcing an analyst to cover social computing. Who says Twitter is useless?

Carter’s Analyst Twitter Directory currently lists 104 analyst accounts and that doesn’t include the AR folks who also use the medium.

Personally, I find Twitter to be a very useful tool for my work – it allows me to loosely follow several analysts whose work is highly relevant to my clients, thus keeping an eye on their current research interests and allowing me to flag interesting developments. I’m then able to act where necessary using more traditional communications methods (is it correct to refer to the phone and email as ‘traditional’, I wonder?).

Yes, it’s not all serious, yes I admit that I do tweet about rugby matches that I’m watching and yes, I have been known to tell my 81 followers what I’m eating. No, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.

Nobody’s forcing to anybody to sign up. All I’m saying is that I find it helpful. 

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Gartner’s got a brand new portal Tue, 29 Jan 2008 08:44:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell Apologies for the late start to 2008 – we’ve been busy in the London office and at least I got round to posting something in January!

The reason for breaking my silence? Well, I just tried to access my account and it appears to have taken me to a new portal. I still have the option of using ‘classic’ and to be honest, I will probably do just that for the time being until I find the time to explore the new site (it’s taking a while to load – hopefully this is just temporary).

Peter Sondergaard, the Gartner SVP responsible for the management and direction of worldwide research, said that exciting things were in store on Gartner’s website when he spoke at the IIAR just under a year ago. In fact, the timing is rather nice as Gartner will again address the IIAR on Thursday. Hopefully, we’re in for a run down of the new toys they’ve built for us.

It’s all such fun.

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Social Media Club at H&K London Thu, 08 Nov 2007 18:47:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell Given my post last week, it’s rather timely that H&K will be hosting the London group of the Social Media Club at Soho Square next Thursday evening (15 November).

SMC’s events are fairly informal affairs, with discussion based around a specific social media theme. 

This month’s theme will be the love-hate relationship between PR and bloggers. Most of the attendees are bloggers/podcasters, so will undoubtedly have a point of view on how and if companies should be communicating with them. I’ll be there to represent the AR perspective, but it would be good to have more people along from the AR and industry analyst communities.

If you fancy an evening of healthy debate in the H&K bar on Soho Square, then you can sign up for the event for free here.

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Social media in AR: private melds with public Sun, 28 Oct 2007 23:21:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell I was surprised today when Carter Lusher became my ‘friend’ on Facebook.

Surprised, and slightly concerned because Carter is AR Director at HP Corporate and the main contributor to the HP’s Corporate AR blog, whereas my profile on Facebook is distinctly unprofessional – to set the scene, my profile photo has me dressed as Father Christmas and the most recent ‘stories’ are that I have been ‘cuddled’ and ‘drunk dialled’ by other friends (both of whom I have met and consider to be good friends in the real world, since you ask).

Thankfully, Carter asked me a couple of questions, which allowed me to explain myself. He asked me how I was getting on with Facebook and whether I have managed to weave social media into my work.

My answer was rather long and Carter suggested I post a version of it on ARcade, so here goes:

I’ve been a member of various online communities for about a dozen years, from when I lived in Sweden (1995-1997). I have met many of my closest friends through sites like Shortcut (Swedish language community for young professionals) and Last Thursday (an irreverent place that is currently down for maintenance).

I’m a member of most of the big communities, from Bebo (started by my friend Paul Birch together with his brother Michael and Michael’s wife Xochi) and Dopplr on the fun side to Xing and LinkedIn on the professional front, but I treat them very differently. Much like my (and Carter’s) personal/professional blogs, I consider it appropriate to express myself according to the channel. You won’t find me writing about AR on Facebook, I prefer to leave that to places like ARcade and the IIAR. On Facebook and my personal blog, you’ll read about my exploits at Santacon and, at Christmas time, about volunteering for the homeless charity Crisis, both of which I’m passionate about, but there just isn’t a strong link to work (although I did persuade two colleagues to dress up as Santa last year).

Not long back, I took part in a discussion with the great and the good within H&K and argued that folk should be allowed to access Facebook, etc. on their work PCs. My position is that if we’re not on these sites, we’re lagging behind the competition and that’s professional suicide in PR. The only way to keep up to speed is to experiment. It’s also the best way to find out what’s useful and what’s not – am I the only person who can’t see the point of Me.dium?

Social media is changing business and personally I feel that companies that take policy decisions not to even comment on blogs or engage with social media are myopic and in time it will cost them dearly (even if they can be very useful – we create them for clients and for internal use – an email newsletter is like sooooo 1993!).

Conversely, I’m really pleased that Carter, already a prolific and talented blogger outside work, has started an AR blog – he’s a leading light in AR and practitioners can learn a lot from his posts. Moreover, by engaging in the online conversations, HP will benefit by understanding changes that are affecting the analyst community.

I saw how online communities transformed business life in Sweden, which is several years ahead of most other countries in this space – wait and see what happens to the US and the rest of the world now that we’re catching up.

Social media/the web will force existing unwieldy institutions to adapt or die – witness the Creative Commons, of which I’m a big fan. All mainstream IP systems are creaking at the seams and the Internet is speeding up the process.

Have I managed to weave Facebook into my work? No. My reply to Carter was the first time I’ve ever used it in anything like a professional capacity. Do I use social media in my work? All the time. From Twitter to Cogenz, I’m constantly connected, constantly scanning the web and testing new tools and it makes me and the rest of the H&K AR team better at what we do. We also have access to and use H&K’s proprietary tools.

It’s not surprising that I’m such an advocate, having worked on Language Army and Friends Abroad, both of which base their successful business models on community. I have also guest lectured on social media at Warwick University.

Oh, and to prove my geeky credentials once and for all, I haven’t had a TV for years as I prefer surfing the net to goggling the box.

In short, I’m quite happy to be Carter’s friend on Facebook, as long as he doesn’t expect me to do anything sensible on there.

Top tip: If you’re ever travelling to the Bay area, ask Carter for a restaurant suggestion. I did and can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: HP is a client.

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