Persuasive Picks for the week of 02/08/09

Open Source FundingThe Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan – Open Source Funding
This first pick strays a bit from the social media, PR and marketing space that I typically draw from, but its certainly relevant in these tough economic times. Mark Cuban shares his idea for “Open Source Funding” and invites businesses to present their plans directly on his blog! Startups that have been finding it hard to attract VC funding might benefit from this alternative route. Just be sure that your business meets the rules stated in the post!

Making Social Media Work (for your business to business marketing)
David Libby from the Inspiring Dialogue blog shares 5 tips to help B2B companies start getting their social media efforts working better for them.

Leading by Example
Scott Monty (head of Social Media at Ford) shares two stories that show how some simple gestures from CEO Alan Mulally have gone a long way to help build long-lasting relationships with a few customers.

Video – Participation Marketing, Social Media and Teams
Sports Marketer, Jason Peck shares the basics of Alan Rosenpan’s take on “Participation Marketing” and why it matters to pro sports teams and other businesses alike.

Feedly Mini Updated: Now with More Twitter and FriendFeed Interaction
If you’ve taken the plunge into social networking and are an active user of Twitter, FriendFeed and Google Reader, then you might be interested in taking a look at Feedly. Its a nifty little plugin for Firefox that not only allows you to more easily share blog posts back out more easily, but also allows you to see how many other people have shared it in Google Reader or Digg. It even tellls you how many people have had conversations about the post on FriendFeed – neat! This post from Sarah Perez on ReadWriteWeb gives a great overview.

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.