Walking the “Social Media Walk”

Forrester came out their latest research note on “Community Platforms” today.  Jeremiah Owyang, their lead analyst, wrote a very extensive summary of the report on his blog too.  At a minimum, you must check out the blog post and read all of the extensive comments that Jeremiah has received so far.

Jeremiah made some great points in his post and this quote sums it up best:

Used correctly, communities can impact the top and bottom line of company’s financials…and communities matter more now than ever – especially during a recession.

Based on their research, Forrester believes that most companies are looking for a solution partner or a vendor that can deliver on strategy, education, services, community management, analytics and support.  As such, 60% of their weighted criteria for the scoring was based on this feature.

The graphic below summarizes where Forrester places the leading vendors in the space.  Their top four vendors include Jive Software, Telligent, Mzinga and Pluck.  I am very familiar with Mzinga as I worked with them for nearly 2 years with the Catalyze community and am working with them again on a start-up professional community.

From Jeremiah Owyang's Blog

After reading Jeremiah’s post and thinking about other circumstances that occurred this week, it got me to thinking about community vendors and their own social media efforts.  In fact, I wrote a comment to Jeremiah’s post and here is an excerpt of my comments:

…I want my social media vendor to be active and visible in the social media space – which means that I want them to be blogging, twittering and participating in other social media activities.  I thought Mzinga used to do the best job of any of the leading vendors with their participation in social media. Their management profiles set the standard for how people need to be socially available in today’s Web 2.0 world and they proved it by including office and mobile phone numbers along with links to Twitter, Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn in their profiles.

Mzinga used to have some very active social media people listed as Thought Leaders on their website. However, people like Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout), Jim Storer (@jstorerj), Rachel Happe (@rhappe) and several others are no longer with Mzinga.  Mzinga now lists just 4 Thought Leaders on their website and other than CEO Barry Libert, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to their leadership and activity.

Looking at the other leading vendors, they do not appear to be very active either. Telligent’s CEO Rob Howard has a blog, but his Twitter traffic is pretty minor. The positive is that Telligent does have a number of blogs linked to their website, which I do view as a positive. Jive has a blog on their website and their CEO David Hersch has written some posts, but it hasn’t been updated since November.

So my question is, can a social media company really be a leader when they don’t have any social media leaders or when their social media efforts come across as fairly weak?

Don’t social media companies have to walk the ’social media walk’?

So, is your social media vendor ‘walking the walk’ or just talking the talk?

[1/10/09 update – the Forrester report is available from the Telligent website. The download requires registration.]

10 thoughts on “Walking the “Social Media Walk”

  1. Pingback: Forrester Wave Report: The Leaders in Community Platforms for Marketers (Part 4/4)

  2. Tom –
    Please dig a bit deeper on the Telligent side. You’ll find Lawrence Lui, (@lliu) Scott W (@scottw) and yours truly (amonfg others) are very active on the social media front. With all due respect, we have plenty of social media leaders, whatever that means. 🙂


  3. Tom, hope it’s OK as the vendor to jump in and list a few ways that LiveWorld is working to “walk the walk.”

    As I noted in my comment on Jeremiah’s post, I view my role as a social media evangelist as the guy who serves as a “champion of my industry” — in this case community/social networking/social media. That means not talking so much about LiveWorld specifically, but sharing trends, challenges, and best practices.

    How and where does that play out? For me, it includes blogging — both on LiveWorld’s SocialVoice site and on my own — podcasting, being active on Twitter (@BryanPerson, responding regularly on other social media/community manager blogs, and founding and participating in the Social Media Breakfast series (first in Boston and now across the country).

    I also see George Dearing as visible with his blog and on Twitter, and Mike Walsh as well. Sam Lawrence from Jive, too.

    It’s possible that our paths haven’t crossed all that often, though, but I hope they will from this point on! And if you have suggestions for other ways we can “walk the walk,” I’m happy to hear them. We’re always looking to improve.

    Bryan Person | @BryanPerson

  4. Mzinga has some of the smartest software professionals, smartest business professionals, smartest salespeople and marketers, smartest social media minds, and smartest social learning minds in the entire industry. Its a magical, unstoppable mix of talent.

    I’ll admit it. I’m the CMO of Mzinga, and I don’t like writing blog content. There I said it. I love strategy, I LOVE marketing, I love participating in this wonderful web conversation, but I don’t love writing. And so I have never been a successful blogger. I am twitter-obsessed and am extremely active on facebook and linkedin. As a result of our reduced headcount, we did lose some blog content, so I think I’ll try to multimedia blog instead of trying to write… hopefully you’ll enjoy the format!

    With our recent reduction in staff (14 people – less than 10%), we definitely lost some social media superstars that were actively part of the twitter and blog social media community. I stay awake thinking about that, but I know the 94% of Mzinga that remains has a rock solid understanding of how to build kickass, glorious, remarkable software, as well as deliver strategic advice and services based on the ever-growing list of clients we support.

    Regarding our thought leadership page, I think Dave Wilkins (@dwilkinsnh) is a complete socially-minded stud (focuses on social learning), Mike Pascucci (@nhscooch)is a moderation dreamboat, and Barry (@blibert) is one of the most compelling speakers on the power of social media and social software in the industry. My goal (@patrickmoran) as a marketer is to focus my energies outside the fishbowl, sharing our vision and beliefs with the masses of marketers, support folks and HR professionals that haven’t caught the social media bug yet. By doing this we’re growing the market, which is good for every vendor and our industry at large. We also have @alexa and @irusty, and @iphazard – not as frequent twitterers, but they spend all day long obsessing about making our customers successful with social software – I am proud of our team!

    And, as Bryan mentioned, I too am always looking to improve, so let me know how and I’ll give it a shot!

    Patrick Moran @patrickmoran

  5. Pingback: Wave Report Showcases Community Platforms | Connie Bensen

  6. Pingback: Walking the “Social Media Walk” « Social Media Musings by Tom … | thesocialmediasecrets

  7. Well, I can see by the comments that a lot of us vendors have been working on the Listening aspect of social media. 😉

    But thanks, Tom, for giving us a shot to our collective egos. Leadership is about more than technology or any one award or research paper. As proud as we are at Lithium in being recognized in the Forrester Wave as a top company in this space, particularly when it comes to Clients and Services, we know this is just a milestone in a longer journey.

    But while acknowledging the truth of what you say, I’m wary of statements to the effect that the quantity of our participation across various social media like Facebook or Twitter is indicative of anything. As vendors we need to know how to advise our clients in this regard, which includes understanding where to focus your efforts to best meet your business objectives. And that’s what it ultimately comes down to: we have to continue to prove ourselves in the months and years to come in the one area that really matters – our customers’ success.

  8. Tom – sorry, I meant to come over and comment the day you posted this. Thanks for the love! Still walkin’ the walk over here at Powered.com. I hope to see more execs at the “social” tool and services companies continuing (or starting) to “walk the walk.”

    Aaron | @astrout

    p.s. Patrick – lookin’ forward to the multi-media blogging my man. Get a cheap web cam and it’s a piece of cake using Utterli.com.

  9. Pingback: I’ve Seen the Social Analytics Future… « Social Media Musings by Tom Humbarger

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