Persuasive Picks for week of 3/5/12

Forbes contributor Anthony Kosner breaks down the success of YouTube’s recently Most Popular video KONY 2012, a poignant 30 minute video with over 50 million views that begs the question; can the power of social media do what foreign policy cannot?  Kosner’s piece provides  12 Lessons from KONY 2012 from Social Media Power Users including be positive, get their attention and make it personal.

Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post looks at the impact of  Social Media in the media. Has the viral nature of news accomplished anything? Read more in her piece Virality Uber Alles: What the Fetishization of Social Media Is Costing Us All

This week also brings us a creative picture painting of  The Beauty of Social Media, an infographic posted by Shea Bennett that takes a closer look at how the beauty industry has embraced Social Media, and the innovative ways the top brands are using Social Media channels in this post by AllTwitter.

For most, Social Media brings to mind Facebook or Twitter. Krista Neher points out that there are more opportunities beyond the obvious to grow brand presence in her recent post 6 Effective but Ignored Social Media Marketing Sites on ClickZ.

Social Media Lessons Still Being Learned

Last night a few of us attended the Boston Social Media Club’s “Social Media Lessons for Big Businesses” Panel discussion in Newton. The panel consisted of Josh Bernoff, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Steve Restivo, director of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Northeast and Dan Lyons, senior editor at Forbes Magazine “aka” Fake Steve Jobs.

The panel was interesting and the insights helpful – Bernoff’s were of particular interest in

that he speaks about social media as “letting go of control.” He talked about how we, as PR executives, need to help our clients learn how to join in the conversation rather than try to control it – because they can’t anymore. I think this is a hard lesson for corporate America to swallow.

A lot of the discussion was around the blogosphere – only one portion of social media – and how companies are using them to open up dialogues with their customers. Some great examples discussed were the Sony Electronics Blog and Dell’s IdeaStorm. Examples of other companies embracing social media to connect with customers included Target, Unilever, eBags and others. Ironically, the group felt that technology companies weren’t necessarily doing as good of a job as the consumer companies and called out Google, specifically, as failing to embrace social media as a way to open conversation with customers.

The panel and audience also debated the merits of CEO blogs. The fact remains that most executives simply don’t have time to write a daily blog – and many people believe that a blog’s not a “real” blog unless it’s updated every single day (who made this rule, anyway?!). The panel pointed out a good example with Mark Cuban and that he does not write every day but when he does write, it’s interesting – and open. I also found it interesting that they held him up as an ideal because so many executives feel that they have to blog only about corporate-related content. Mark is all over the map – from technology to politics to sports and healthcare. And it’s good reading so people will pay attention – as opposed to boring entries posted every single day that no one will read anyway.

Overall, the main themes around social media continue to resonate: be open, invite conversation, don’t hide even from criticism or mistakes, and join the conversation. Perhaps blogs are the biggest most influential force that will drive corporate America to become forthright and truly customer-oriented.