Friday Wrap #30: A new social media news release template, Ford’s mobile push, content builds trust

Posted on December 21, 2012 9:25 am by | Advertising | Augmented Reality | Marketing | Mobile | Social networks

Friday Wrap #30
(c) Can Stock Photo
With this installment of the Friday Wrap, I’d like to wish everybody a warm and fulfilling Christmas (or whatever you may celebrate). Interestingly, there has been no shortage of news despite the impending holiday, and some of the items I found most intriguing are collected here. You can always see the complete list of stories and posts I collect at

SHIFT is back with Social Media Press Release 2.0

SHIFT Communications created a stir five years ago by releasing a template for a Social Media Press Release. While several notable voices blasted the idea, several organizations adopted it. Press release services offered their own spin on the concept and standalone services, like PitchEngine, were able to launch based on the concept. The Social Media Group set up a task force (eventually handing it over to IABC), and a set of standards were published. But the flurry of activity and commentary has died down as the idea of the Social Media Press Release has just sort of evolved into online press releases that contain many of the template’s elements. This week, though, SHIFT was back with version 2.0. “So what does the modern press release look like?” SHIFT’s marketing VP, Christopher S. Penn, asks. “Social is now embedded in it fully and wholly, and it’s one and the same with your traditional press release. Tools for sharing have made distribution of news and media much simpler than they were in the first version, back in 2006. Most important: every piece of the new social media press release must be independently shareable! Let’s look at some of the core features of the content.” Elements include sharing buttons, short headlines, YouTube videos, mobile-friendly shareable audio, and a Flickr photo gallery set. “Note that this social media press release fits on one slide,” writes Penn. “You can embed it on your site with any of the slide sharing services, as a PDF, or as an image if need be. Again, really important: all of the pieces of media in this press release aren’t just part of the press release alone; they’re independently shareable to social networks so that your news gets maximum exposure in as many formats as possible.” A downloadable PDF of the template is available from SHIFT.

Ford innovates new mobile engagement strategy

Ford Motor Company has been at the forefront of digital innovation for the last several years and continues apace with a new program that taps several mobile technologies to engage race car fans. Working with agency Team Detroit, Ford is using SMS (text messaging), mobile web content, email and augmented reality in its work with Ford Racing Group. Writing in Mobile Marketer, Lauren Johnson quotes Team Detroit VP of mobile and tablet strategy Aaron Smith: “We conducted research around how race fans use their mobile devices and tablets, both at race events as well as at-home watching race coverage and it was no surprise that race fans are some of the most passionate fans in sports. Tapping into their passion for an at-race experience as well as their affiliation with the drivers, we wanted to deliver something that makes fans feel like a part of the event.” The AR app allows fans to take pictures next to their favorite racing stars; the app works by pointing the phone at a Ford logo. As for texting, users can enter keyword FORD to short code 95323 to get a personalized autograph from Trevor Bayne, a NASCAR driver. Ford’s racing website has been configured for mobile, as well.

The state of web use and mobile ownership

If you’re still in the unenviable position of needing to convince management to make the move into digital content, it’s useful to know where your audience stands. Forrester Research has published its annual State of Consumers and Technology report, a good starting point for demonstrating the widespread adoption of digital technology. Reported by Frederic Lardinois in TechCrunch, the study shows that 84% of U.S. adults now go online at least daily. Smartphones and tablets account for the growth from 78% in 2011. “Half of U.S. online adults now own a smartphone and two-thirds even own multiple connected devices,” Lardinois writes. “Tablet adoption doubled since 2011 and is now at 19%.”

Content creation leads to higher trust levels

Marketers who create content that encourages people to interact are more likely to build trust, according to a new study from Wildfire. Reported on the Brafton blog, “Online consumer recommendations are the second most trusted source of brand marketing. Eighty-three percent of consumers say reviews or user-generated content impacts their purchase decisions at least sometimes. More, 80 percent of survey respondents have changed their minds about purchases after reading negative online content.” Enabling customers to create their own content—such as reviews—have to establish communities to make it easy to share with other customers who share the same interests. That could be a Facebook group or a private, white-label community. Content created by the brand spurs engagement, but “brands also benefit when readers take their opinions and start conversations with their followers on their own walls and news feeds.” The article sites Bazaar Voice, which concludes that 51% of Americans trust user-generated content over other online resources, and 84% of Millennials are influenced by user-generated reviews; many won’t make a purchase without checking user-generated content about the product or service.

Creating YouTube content gets easier

You have to have an iPhone or iPad (which leaves me out), but if you do, you can shoot and upload a video to YouTube in three clicks. In fact, you can post the video directly from your device not only to YouTube, but also Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Advanced features of the service—called Capture—include color correction, editing for length, and adding music. While it seems odd that the service was introduced by Google—which owns the Android platform—it’s still a step forward in sharing videos as quickly and easily as you can now share photos. The rationale could be that Google is stepping up its efforts as Apple is scaling back its support for integrated services. Casey Newton has the details in a report for C|Net. There’s no word on a compatible Android tool.

A different take on “brands as media companies”

It has been a couple of years since I embraced Tom Foremski’s observation that “every company is a media company.” That is, every company must become its own producer and distributor of content, just as if they were media companies. When Jay Habegger—CEO of OwnerIQ—talks about it, though, he means something different. In an Advertising Age column, Habegger writes, “Large consumer brands are repackaging their online audiences and their onsite browsing behavior to power third-party advertisers’ display ads.” The focus is on retailers, he writes. Given limitations on reaching customers, manufacturers are leveraging “an existing symbiotic business relationship with the manufacturer.” Habegger offers the example of a “well-known manufacturer of wireless routers” that accounts for about 2 million consumer visits monthly to its site; half the visitors intend to buy a router within a monthly. “Retailers that sell this manufacturer’s product, online or in-store, are understandably interested in putting an ad for the product in front of this audience whenever they are on the web, to try to capture that potential purchase.” As a result, the manufacturer can generate revenue by selling ad space to retailers that carry its products. “That world is already being born,” Habegger asserts.

Research reveals link between online interaction and offline activities

Over half of the users of the top five most popular social platforms have taken offline action directly as a result of online interaction. That’s the finding of Beyond the Click, a study released by ACTIVE Network and reported in Bulldog Reporter. “The findings suggest that, by connecting online behaviors to offline activity, organizations can grow their customer base, increase revenue and drive greater participation,” Bulldog concludes. The three most popular actions that followed online engagement were contacting a person directly, attending an event, and participating in an activity, like a class. Of those five networks, Facebook drives the most offline actions, leading to direct contacts and in-person meetings; Facebook users are also likely to donate to a cause they learned about on the network. “While Twitter drives the second fewest offline actions, the engagement it does inspire is active in nature — 25% of Twitter users have participated in an activity and 30% have attended an event as a result of online interactions according to the survey,” according to Bulldog. Intriguingly, Pinterest is the second most likely platform to prompt a job change (after LinkedIn, the obvious top job-change catalyst).

Complete HTLM5 definition released

Code monkeys rejoice. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the complete definition of the HTML5 specification, according to Wired’s Webmonkey site. While adoption of the standard isn’t expected until 2014, “the move to what the W3C calls ‘Candidate Recommendation’ (CR) status means that the spec is largely stable, features are frozen, and testing can begin,” writes Scott Gilbertson. “In other words, the W3C is on track to publish the final version of HTML5 by 2014.”

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