Tag Archives: social media

A New Way to Crowdsource a Campaign

The Social Media Club of New York City (SMCNYC) hosted an event last month  showcasing Ford Motor Co. on the floor of the New York International Auto show to reveal Ford’s fun, new marketing campaign for its fuel-efficient vehicle C-MAX.

Team Detroit, Ford’s agency, came up with print, TV and digital banners using the Italian “La Linea” character, but they needed social too. This is when the social group at Team Detroit stepped in to create a concept.

C-MAX Live Social Campaign

The group describes C-MAX Live by saying: “Imagine yourself in a live crowdsourced Instagram animation.” The concept they came up with integrates traditional, media, and social media in a way that hasn’t been done before by creating a live, crowdsourced animation, which is done through Instagram.

The Process Behind the Concept

Team Detroit needed to bring the “La Linea” character to life, so they decided to literally bring people into this character’s world. The group wanted to create an animation that would incorporate real people interacting with the character, but first they needed to create a story.

Team Detroit started storyboarding it out and seeing how many frames it would take to have people interacting and doing certain scenarios with the “La Linea” character. Shilo studios joined the project by doing the math that was necessary to figure out frame rates and make sure everything worked in size and scale. They had the line drawing put together into a storyboard. From that storyboard they pulled 68 individual frames that had people interacting with them. Those 68 frames were then used for traditional out-of-home buys, such as postings in malls, movie theaters, and events all over the country in their top C-MAX markets.

How People Can Interact With the C-MAX Live Boards

What they are asking people to do is to literally line their bodies up with the dotted line on the boards (see images below). Once you line yourself up with the “La Linea” character in the background, you take your picture through Instagram and apply the hashtag “C-MAX,” and through object recognition they are able to pull that animation and stitch it back together in real-time live.

You then go to a landing page and you opt-in through Instagram, and you can see yourself in the animation with people from all over the country in real-time. The animation is always dynamic and changing, so you will always see yourself but everyone else will change because it is pulling in those people from all over the country who are interacting with the boards. In addition, if you have an Instagram friend participating in a different city and at a completely different board, then you will see them in your animation.

This campaign launches on May 1 in various cities. Here is a list of the cities, along with a link to the animation: social.ford.com/cmaxlive

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

Social Media Club NYC Recap: Social Media Measurement

Last Thursday, Social Media Club NYC met to discuss the topic of social media measurement.  Doh Young Jung, data scientist at Brandwatch, was one of the speakers at the event. The second speaker was Martin Murtland, vice president of platform management at PR Newswire. The moderator for the evening was Howard Greenstein, president and organizer of SMCNYC.

Q: What is your role in your company?

Murtland: I am responsible for developing the roadmap for a lot of the products. Some interesting research is that 56 percent of brands and agencies are equating the value of their social media activities to their business outcomes. So we need to know how to show businesses the value of what they are doing with their social media activities. I am a firm believer that the key to this is for practitioners to talk the language of business, which isn’t necessarily talking about all the metrics you can have but more about trying to understand how you can link to those metrics with what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective.

Jung: I am part of the analytics team. We do a lot of consulting services with clients, and we try to help them understand social media as well as how to use our tools better. In addition, I do a great deal of reporting for clients when they have specific social media questions.

Q: What are we talking about when we say social media measurement?

Murtland: It goes back to what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective. You can look at it like a marketing funnel which you flip over, and then you have to push your leads through the different areas. And you have to work very hard to get them through. Try to think about what you are doing with your campaigns; what metrics are appropriate in each of those general areas, as well as what you are trying to do inside the marketing funnel. For me, it is important to look at where the industry is going and what companies are doing to create these tools to enable users.

Jung: Our goal is to always deliver relevant content in a timely manner. When we talk about relevance it is about understanding our client’s objectives in terms of the data that they want and knowing when they need that data. We always want to make sure that our tool is easy for the practitioner to use and the reporting is easy to understand. Many of our clients come from PR and marketing agencies, and then we also support their clients. In addition, we have some larger financial clients that use social media monitoring for their product offerings.

Q: Why is social media measurement more difficult than just turning on these tools that you offer and letting them do the work?

Murtland: The software providers know part of the puzzle but it also takes work on behalf of the user to understand what issue they are trying to solve. It is important to know what you want to achieve consistently over time. One of the key things from a measurement perspective is to benchmark yourself. Don’t worry so much about what metric you use in the beginning, but try to benchmark what are you doing — otherwise you will not know what’s having an impact and improving. If you are able to do it well then include in your benchmark some of your competitors. You want to try to create reference points to see how well you are doing. From there you can think about what kind of metrics you can cover and what metrics you should be covering from a business perspective. Then look for an overlap between these two groups of metrics, and that should be the metrics you use.

Q: You (Jung) are a data scientist, so what is the science of what you are doing?

Jung: We deal a lot with numbers. We do want to show the different trends going on with social media data. As companies start to collect this type of data and look into it, the more accurate of a vision they can have of relating it back to their business purposes, such as the their marketing or financial results.

Q: Do you consult with companies about the purpose of the stats they are collecting?

Murtland: We do have a team for that. The first question to ask is: What are you trying to achieve from a business perspective? No metric or tool will resolve your business problem, you have to start by identifying the problem and then let everything else drive it.

Jung: Our starting point for every discussion is helping clients ask the right question. For example, if there is a case where a company is starting with zero awareness about whatever they are releasing then we have to do competitive research. So if they are releasing something on the market that already has competitors, we go into competitive data sets and see how they are doing in the market and then we tell the client what the competitor is doing successfully or wrong. This gives them some type of strategy.

Q: Now that we have established a baseline and know what business goal we are trying to achieve with our social, what’s next?

Murtland: The next step is to understand some kind of cause and effect. It is important to log and record the type of activities you have been doing. You want to show that what you are doing is actually driving the change.

Q: Can you have a tool where you are can both send out your social and measure it?

Murtland: We have a product that is an engagement console where you are able to track some of your activities. Likewise we have different tools for more earned media. You are able to log your activities in there.

Jung: We started out as a monitoring tool, so that is our core focus. We have seen more requests for engagement, and this is an area we want to venture into.

Q: Not all the networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.) make their metrics available, so how do you bring all this stuff together into one global picture that you can start to understand as a marketer?

Murtland: Work out what metrics you can measure and what metrics you should be measuring. The other thing to try to validate is where that data is coming from and what it means. I think there is a lot of jargon and ways to express different things, so try to understand it.

Q: How do you view a single metric vs. combo metrics, because the combo metrics seem more accessible?

Jung: It depends on your business goals. Also different types of clients have different things they are more interested in, so there is no one easy formula. PR agencies are more interested in influencer identification, which is trying to identify whether a tweet from a personal account is different than a tweet from a more influential account. They want to find those Twitter handles that have more influence and impact on social media.

Q: How do you determine what is influential for that particular brand?

Murtland:  What is important to me is the contextual influence, so what is the person’s domain and whether they are influencers around that. You can also check if they are an influencer by seeing if their followers are active; look for retweets.

Jung: Our tool can collect historical data as far back as two-and-a-half years. We begin by identifying Twitter handles or any sort of users that mention a relevant brand or marketing campaign topic. We then delve into what they are posting about and look for the topic in their conversation.

Q: How much semantic or sentiment analysis are you doing, and how do you decide if it makes any sense?

Jung: We do have built-in universal sentiment engines and they are based on things like swear words. We are able to customize syntax and understand the language better of certain conversations that have been surrounding positive or negative topics. We can manually change the rules, tweak it, and make sentiment more reliable.

Murtland: There are a couple things you want from a sentiment tool. They are: 1) automated sentiment, looking and analyzing large volumes of content and identifying trends inside it; 2) manually being able to override the scores.

Q: What do we need to do next to tie what we are doing (getting inquiries, selling products, etc.) to some sort of a business metric?

Murtland: You need to start by looking at the peaks and troughs, and try to see if there is a correlation between them. You can try to see the causes and effects that are happening and the correlations, then you can begin understanding and seeing what’s working and not working. Do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working. Repeat and then see the effect.

Jung: As a company becomes increasingly savvy about social data, one thing they can do is set a target to reach. For a lot of PR agencies, the target is often key message penetration. They want to see that a message they crafted is actually being delivered through social media to the audience that they want to reach. An increase in key message penetration has resulted in positive/negative business performance.

Q: How do you keep out confounding data? An example of this was when the “Old Spice Guy” first came out and there was a huge spike in sales, but then someone noted that P&G had a major couponing campaign going on.

Jung:  Our entire app is based on Boolean, so if we see a peak we are able to delve into it. We can cut it out and see what the marketing volume was about as well as the coupon conversation. Then we look at the relationship there, and if we see both things increasing then that can mean both have worked.

You can watch a video of the event here:

(If you’re unable to view the video on this page, please go to: youtu.be/TXGg6rXLMcs)

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

Vulnerabilities in Social Media: The AP Twitter Hack and How They Recovered

Hacking happens. Today it resulted in the following false and malicious information being tweeted from the @AP Twitter account: 

“Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”

S&P 500 dips drastically after @AP Twitter hack.

S&P 500 dips drastically after @AP Twitter hack.

Unfortunately the Associated Press, a normally very credible source of information, was victim to a hack and the results were devastating for the stock market. According to Bloomberg, the malicious tweet tanked the S&P 500 by $136 billion within two minutes.

@AP quickly tweeted that their account had been compromised and it was soon suspended and remains so now. The stock market regained strength and I think a lot of people nervously took their first breath after several long minutes.

Who should we blame?

Of course there are lots of people playing the blame game. At the top of the list is of course is the hackers themselves, and I agree! But who else holds responsibility for this crisis? The AP? Re-tweeters? Twitter?

The fact is, we’re all as vulnerable as the AP. I recently attended a panel featuring Eric Carvin, social media editor at the AP. He spoke of the efforts they put into securing their social accounts and gave some very sound security tips.

They were doing their due diligence. Unfortunately, there are always people out there who can get around almost any online wall.

The tweet was retweeted thousands of times within minutes. All of us with the power to retweet or repost messages ‘must’ be more vigilant about confirming through a second and even third sources, information that seems incredible.

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used for good, and which can easily turn to evil by our very own laziness to verify what we’re posting.

Is Twitter to blame? Perhaps Twitter can put better security measures around its service, but in the end, online vulnerabilities are everywhere, and that includes all social media platforms. Not just Twitter.

After securing our passwords and linking social accounts to something other than an easily hacked free email address, part of doing our due diligence is to have a plan of action in case such a crisis occurs.

The AP made the right moves to recover quickly today:

1. They quickly caught and countered the false tweet on their own twitter account, @AP.

2. They had AP journalists with strong Twitter presences Tweet out that the tweet was false.

3. They put out a media advisory with information making sure the story was clearly represented.

4. They told their own story on their own web properties.

At the end of the day the stock market was stable and I don’t think anyone questions the AP’s credibility as a source of news anymore than at the beginning of the day.

UPDATE:  The AP Twitter account is back up and running this morning.

Victoria Harres

Victoria Harres is VP, Audience Development & Social Media at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

Social Media Club NYC Recap: A NXNE Roundup of SXSW

The Social Media Club NYC event began with a quick discussion of any new tools or websites in the social media industry, as per usual.

  • Vine, the mobile app by Twitter, is an amazing tool and you can do a lot of things in a six-second video. Even Tribeca Film Festival is holding a Vine competition.
  • Shutterstock introduced Spectrum, which is a tool that categorizes and catalogs all of their images by color.
  • TaskRabbit is a helpful tool for making reservations and completing errands.
  • Google Reader is shutting down. However, Listly has a crowdsourced list of RSS readers instead of Google Reader. And so far, Feedly has been the most popular option and has received the most attention.
  • There is a new app called Mailbox that is replacing Apple Mail. This app doesn’t help if you like to put your stuff into labels and organize your email, but it is useful if you just want to get rid of mail. Warning: There is a very long list of people waiting to download the app.
  • Another email app called BirdsEye was built specifically for tablet use, and is based on your Gmail.
  • Tempo app connects with your accounts and shows information about your schedule for the day in either a calendar or list view. It is a very useful tool if you have a meeting, because it will provide you with all the information for that meeting on one screen.

Past SXSW Experience

  • It was interesting to see how SXSW had a dedicated health track. It was especially interesting how everyone was embracing Quantified Self-Improvement. Quantified Self-Improvement is self-tracking by using data for a specific purpose, i.e., tracking your sleep pattern, steps taken, foods eaten.
  • Great show for everyone to get together and learn about the different trends.

This Year’s SXSW Experience

  • A lot of the show is about meeting up with people on the fly. It is difficult to plan prior to the event and the sessions are very booked. You need to make sure to get to the sessions 30-60 minutes before each one.
  • You meet many great people at the show, especially in places that are a little quieter and less crowded.
  • There is something for everyone at the show, and you can make it what you want it to be.
  • Here is a post on how to prepare for SXSW by Tim McDonald, community manager at HuffPost live: bit.ly/15L11fj
  • If you look at SXSW as a festival vs. conference and go for the people, then it is a great place to go. McDonald said, “It is the utopia of networking.”

What Trends Were Present at SXSW

  • MakerBot: Many people talked about MakerBot, which is a 3D printing device that lets your print 3D shapes in plastic. MakerBot comes with many pre-made shapes and things that you can utilize as well as easy 3D tools.
  • Google Glass: People talked about Google Glasses, but nobody saw any pairs at the show. About Google Glass: Google’s Glasses allow for an unobtrusive interactive experience. The glasses make it possible to be engaged in the moment while experiencing the digital aspect of it. Mark Hurst wrote a post about the dangers of Google Glasses, which discusses another side to these glasses. Watch this video to learn more about Google Glass:bit.ly/X6tgXy
  • Multimedia Screens: There were unique things going on with multimedia screens and view prompting based on various social actions. For example, the Twitter party had screens up on a wall and you could make a rocketship fly by if you tweeted a specific hashtag.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): There was a lot of NFC at the show. Samsung was really promoting NFC, and they set it up so you could use it to get into VIP and some of the lounge parties.
  • Car Service Apps: Uber and SideCar are services you can use to “virtual hail” to get a car to pick you up, and they were big at the show. The HAIL A CAB™ app was another great service which enabled you to find a nearby taxi.
  • Quantified Self: An example of Quantified Self is Fitbit. The added social aspect of these apps and devices help reinforce the tracking of your heath, which can be a good type of social pressure that helps you stay on track. Social is a big part of medical adherence, so tracking of health can really help enable people digitally.
  • Memes: The Grumpy Cat hashtag trended more than anything else that was tech-based. The obsession with memes may come from people automatically connecting because they all recognize the meme. Also, memes are something anyone can do and start.
  • People were often looking for places to charge their devices at the show. There were lounges at the show where you could charge up. In addition, one solution for this issue are the Duracell portable power packs.

Trends Not Seen at SXSW

  • There were no Windows tablets seen at the show.
  • The Leap Motion Controller is a company that creates a gesture-based interface for computers, and the product wasn’t really seen at SXSW.
  • There wasn’t anything different mentioned at the show regarding Social TV. Social should be an integral part for reality TV shows, but it really isn’t.

Other Interesting Discussions from the SMCNYC Event

  • Warby Parker allows you to buy glasses and you are also buying glasses for someone in the developing world. The glasses, which are typically plastic, come to you in the mail and you can chose a pair you like from the 3-5 options. You send the other ones back. They even have a Web interface where you take a picture of yourself and you can see how you look in the different frames before you even order.
  • Pebble is a watch that connects to your Android or iPhone, and one of things it does is show you who is calling when a call comes through and lets you answer on your watch. You basically don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket because you have the watch on your wrist. It pairs with your phone and uses its data. It is another alternate display.
  • There is a privacy issue where people don’t read any “terms and conditions,” and then this causes a real fear in users over their lack of privacy. For example, loyalty cards can track what you bought and where you bought your items, but at the same it is purposeful for marketing. If you want to see who is tracking you in real-time you can download a Firefox add-on called Collusion. This add-on will tell you everywhere and to who you’re information is being reported after visiting a site. You can also use Private Internet Access, which will make the VPN appear in nine different countries and zones in the U.S. It tunnels your IP address to another place in the world and comes out the other side. The Onion Router (TOR) is another service that makes it difficult to track your information.

Whether you’re a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email — all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

images courtesy of Stephanie Grayson

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

4 Reasons Brands Shouldn’t Rely Solely on Social Media to Communicate

I wasn’t the only social media denizen who scratched their head and said “Really?” in response to the SEC’s ruling a few days ago that cleared the way for public companies to disclose material news via social networks. It turns out I was in good company, as many others looked in askance at the ruling too, including Fortune’s Dan Primack (“SEC’s new social media policy falls short.”)

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Fundamentally,  I support brands using social channels to communicate.  I am completely and utterly convinced of the efficacy and utility of social networks as a means to communicate with key audiences.

twitter tos textBut I also know from my experiences in managing several of PR Newswire’s social media presences for the last couple years that social networks are not perfect communications channels.  For a variety of reasons, I’ll never rely solely upon them as key communications channels.  Here’s why.

  • Reliability – If you’ve ever used Twitter, you’ve probably seen the Fail Whale that appears when Twitter is over-capacity.  Facebook users experience problems with their API and delays in getting content to post all the time. Simply put, you never know when your social network will slow down – or even grind to a halt. Call me cynical, but Murphy’s Law dictates that at some point, you’ll encounter a service problem right at the moment you absolutely, positively need to post something.
  • Service & platform changes – The social networks all reserve the right to make changes to their services and their platforms, without any prior warning to users, and change they do.  Over the last several years, we’ve seen the networks start and end relationships with search engines and each other, change how user content is displayed and an increase in the commingling of ads within streams of user-generated content.  All of these changes have affected (in some cases significantly) how and when social content is shared and viewed.
  • Feed management algorithms — It may come as a surprise to some, most social networks employ manage what content their users see.  Using algorithms, they bias news feeds, tweet streams and the updates they display to users, surfacing content that’s proven popular and/or is from those closes to the users’ social graphs.  More mundane posts are buried. Point is, just because a company posts content to a social network, there is no guarantee that all their friends, followers and fans will see it.  In fact, one can be fairly certain that relatively few members of your social audience will see your message at the moment it’s posted.
  • Security – Social networks can be hacked, and while they obviously try to protect themselves, it’s not at all uncommon to see spammy messages spewing forth from hacked accounts.  Company accounts are not immune, and the stakes go up if you’ve cultivated a particularly influential and well-connected audience populated with analysts, bloggers and journalists.

facebook tosIf this post has you sweating a bit, it might be a good idea to take a quick look at the various terms of service the social networks require us to agree to in order to establish accounts.  None contain service level agreements and guarantees that you get from a paid vendor.  (Note:  PR Newswire is a paid vendor.  We build security and redundancy into what we do, and we consider uptime a requirement, not a nice-to-have.)

So, while I don’t consider myself to be a Chicken Little, and indeed, I think it’s great that companies can safely add communicating via social networks to their communications mix, I do believe that brands need to be cautious about becoming over-reliant on social networks, from which they have no guarantees and over which they can wield no real control.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .

Social media, the SEC & the impact for public companies

Author Scott Mozarsky is PR Newswire's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

Author Scott Mozarsky is PR Newswire’s Executive Vice President and
Chief Commercial Officer.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued guidance yesterday that permits public companies to disclose material information such as earnings through social channels — such as Facebook and Twitter – as long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information.  The SEC guidance related to an investigation that it has completed concerning a post by Reed Hastings (Netflix’s CEO) on his personal Facebook page that contained material information regarding Netflix’s performance.

So, is the SEC guidance a good thing or a bad thing, and what is impact do we expect this guidance to have on disclosure and the investing public?

We believe fact that the SEC is embracing social media and encouraging companies to use social channels to disseminate information is a very good thing.  Companies benefit by disclosing information as broadly as possible.  Using social channels in addition to company websites and press releases to distribute material information ensures more engagement with a broader audience.  In fact, PR Newswire is encouraging our customers and other public companies to complement their disclosure of material information by using social channels in addition to press releases, their websites, emails, etc.

That said, similar to the guidance that the SEC provided regarding web disclosure back in 2008, yesterday’s statement by the SEC was ambiguous and could be read to permit disclosure of material non-public information solely through social channels.  This would not be a good thing for companies, investors, capital markets, analysts, traders, journalists, or anyone else with a stakes in public companies.  We believe it is highly unlikely that companies will use social channels as their sole means of disclosing material information.  Doing so would limit severely limit the audience.

What does this mean for our customers?

The SEC has clearly stated that the purpose of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) is to promote broad and simultaneous disclosure of material information.  Investors should have an even playing field.  Selective disclosure is not a good thing and is prohibited by Reg FD.  Given that the internet and social channels have become a central part of everyone’s lives, the SEC wants to encourage companies to use their web sites as a core part of their overall disclosure strategy and this now extends to social media.

Companies that use their websites as the sole means of disclosure run the risk of uneven disclosure that disadvantages certain types of investors.   The SEC has been clear that the idea that investors might have to go and look for the information rather than getting it through a broader distribution is far from ideal.  The SEC has also previously noted that some investors don’t have easy access to the Web.  Additionally, law firms have consistently been advising their clients that the only way that such clients can be certain that they are meeting their disclosure obligations is to push the information to investors using press releases and other online distribution.

For more on the implications and risks of this ruling for the financial markets and investing public, please see Scott’s discussion on the Building Investor Compliance blog titled, “PR Newswire applauds SEC guidance on social media.”

How Content Distribution Drives Message Discovery (and Results!)

Like any business, sometimes our own story needs telling.  Earlier this year, we decided that we needed to do some PR for our MultiVu business, which focuses on the production and distribution of multimedia content.   It’s cutting edge stuff, with some truly unique aspects, and it sits right between PR and marketing, and we needed to offer some explanation and raise awareness of these services.

So what did we do?  We did the same thing any of you, our customers, would do.   First, our team brainstormed the messaging.  They outlined the key points we needed to convey from a brand standpoint, and then approached the messaging from the opposite context – the questions our audience often asks has about producing video and other multimedia content, and the various struggles that can complicate these projects.

“The hardest thing to do is to distill what you do into a short-form, engaging video,” noted Bev Yehuda, vice president of web engagement products for MultiVu.  “We had to apply what we tell our clients all the  time regarding developing a video: if you don’t take the time out during the process to determine what your elevator pitch is, you run the risk of creating irrelevant content.”

With the messaging drafted, it was time to determine the medium.   Since this was about MultiVu, we knew we needed to use multimedia messaging.   We wanted to show our expertise (and our personality!) in a fun and friendly way, so we went with an animated approach.

Upping exposure with distribution

Once our animated video was done, we packaged it into a multimedia news release (“MNR”,) which combines a variety of distribution strategies and channels.

mv mnr explainer

Here’s a snapshot of the MNR we created to promote the MultiVu video. Click on the image to see the whole thing.


Of course, we could have simply shared the video socially – and we did post it directly to a number of social sharing sites – but the distribution component that is built into an MNR is crucial, for a number of different reasons:

  • Distribution drives discovery, delivering content to relevant audiences across the web – on channels, via news web sites and in industry niches.
  • Discovery seeds social conversation, amplifying your message, and increasing exposure to relevant groups.
  • Social conversations deliver third party credibility that can spur people to take action.
  • Distribution increases the number of digital touch points for your brand, and if your audience values the content, it will gain visibility in search results.  Search engines are informed by user activity and interactions around a piece of content.

How Content Distribution Drives Social Interaction

Prior to the release of the MNR, we shared the video itself on PR Newswire’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. More than 1,400 of our Facebook fans saw the video, and it was liked by 6 and shared by 3.   It fared better on LinkedIn, where it was seen by 1,983 people, generated 30 click-throughs and 8 shares.  Decent exposure for the two minutes (if that) required to share the video with PR Newswire followers.

mv distribution effect on social

However, if you need proof of how distribution drives social interaction with content, you needn’t look any further than the sharing numbers the MNR generated.  Readers of the MNR shared it with their Facebook friends 196 times (as of this writing.)

Distributed content reaches qualified, interested audiences.  And social shares have a strong viral effect, triggering more shares.

Overall Multimedia News Release Results

The social sharing was just one aspect of the visibility the MNR generated for MultiVu.  Over all, adding distribution paid off for this project, tallying thousands of reads of the press release — and tens of thousands of video views.

mv explainer Multimedia News Release Results

It’s very satisfying for us to put on a “customer” hat and use our own services to promote our messages, and witness first-hand how our networks deliver lasting results and visibility.  And based upon the results of this campaign, you can look for more from these animated characters created by MultiVu – several more videos are in the works!

Want to explore creating your own “explainer” video or learning about how multimedia distribution can increase discovery of your brand’s messages?  We’d love to hear your ideas, and help turn them into reality. Contact us for more information.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .

Content We Love: A Message in a Bottle (and a Multimedia News Release)


Sending a message in a bottle across the ocean, hoping for it to be found by someone faraway, is an idea as old as the Ancient Greeks. Christopher Columbus did it, NASA has done it, The Police sang about it. We all recognize the romance, the adventure and the endless possibilities of communicating with the unknown. So it was only a matter of time before a message in a bottle got its own Twitter account: @solosoftdrink.

Norwegian soft drink company Solo has launched the World’s Largest Message in a  Bottle into the Atlantic from the island of Tenerife. Their perfect press release combination of a fun story, great images and an accompanying Multimedia News Release made sure that a good idea caught all of the attention it deserved.

solo mnr

Click on this image to access the full multimedia press release for Solo’s Message in a Bottle campaign.

The best content has to quickly grab readers’ attention as you have only around ten seconds to convince them to keep looking. Solo’s use of images in this release is a perfect example of engaging content. People will want to see the largest bottle in the world, and get answers to: “How big is the world’s largest bottle?” “Will it float?” “How will it sail?” Note the dramatic Norwegian icescape, the promising ocean blue and the magnificently over-sized bottle.

The videos are action-packed, showing exactly how you go about building a two and a half ton bottle complete with a 12m2 letter, satellite tracking technology and the ability to survive the Atlantic Ocean. Then there’s the glamour footage – the sun soaked island, and the inevitable presence of Miss Tenerife, who obliged by falling off the bottle and getting a soaking.

This story will run and run, thanks to clever use of social media. The bottle is live tweeting its journey across the ocean and fans can chart progress on Solo’s great looking Facebook page. Additionally, on the MNR an Instagram widget displays Solo bottles in attractive and fun settings, making the page even more visual and interactive so viewers are more likely to click the Follow button. These are all great examples of engaging people with a campaign and letting them have their say, which is essential if you want readers to stay interested in what you have to say to them.

Author Andrew Woodall is one of PR Newswire’s social media ambassadors and is  MNR & operations manager for the PR Newswire EMEA team based in London. 

Not Yesterday’s News: Social Media in the Newsroom

Would you like to know what’s happening around the world, in real-time? Search Twitter for “WTF was that,” says Andy Carvin, senior strategist at NPR’s Social Media Desk. It’s a common question people will tweet in the event of an earthquake, for example.

Andy Carvin (NPR), Ayman Mohyeldin (NBC News), Meredith Artley (CNN Digital) and Jim Frederick (Time International)

Andy Carvin (NPR), Ayman Mohyeldin (NBC News), Meredith Artley (CNN Digital) and Jim Frederick (Time International)

Carvin was on a panel at SXSW which discussed how media organizations are approaching news gathering in a real-time world. Others on the panel included Jim Frederick, Editor, Time International, Meredith Artley, Managing Editor, CNN Digital, and Ayman Mohyeldin, foreign correspondent for NBC News based in Egypt.

Of course you’ll get lots of tweets and lots of twitterers during a natural disaster, but that’s where traditional journalism tactics come into play. Carvin figures out who his trusted sources are and puts them into a Twitter list (brilliant!), then proceeds to collect information and verify. “You end up using a lot more sources,” he said, “and you have to figure out which characters work best in that moment.”

One problem brought up by Frederick which is prevalent during major news events like Hurricane Sandy is all the misinformation and outright lies that can go viral via social media. Think of the fake photos that were being tweeted and posted during Sandy, like sharks swimming in the flooded streets of Manhattan.

Mohyeldin offered that the public has a certain responsibility along with the media, especially when they have the power to instantly feed bad information to hundreds or thousands of people via Twitter and other social networks. “You have choice as a user to decide what you trust and you should be responsible in reposting things.”

And what of the responsibility of governments and others that hold great power in controlling how information gets shared?

“The first couple of days of the Egyptian Revolution cell phone connection was cut off by the government,” said Mohyeldin. But governments have become wise to the power of social media and are now using it to communicate with the masses, and surely to ‘listen.’ “You wonder how the regimes 2.0 will use these tools.”

But back to news organizations, what are the social media tools they see making a splash in how news is reported in the future?

Carvin gave a brilliant answer to this question. “Whatever gives critical mass the opportunity to have a voice.” How true. A tool can only be powerful when it empowers the people. And that’s where the stories come from.

And what about money? “Can news organizations monetize social media?” asked Frederick.

Artley said this is a subject that is frequently brought up. “Social media attracts new audiences and that is value. Also, clients and advertisers want to do business with companies that are doing things in the social space.”

Carvin added that rank and file journalists now have to think about the money side of journalism more and more. They use their personal brands to promote their work and the organizations they work for. They drive traffic.

Does this mean news organizations have a claim on a journalist’s personal social media accounts?

“That was a conversation that happened years ago when Twitter was new,” said Carvin. A personal Twitter account has the value to the brand of helping to drive traffic, but it still belongs to the individual journalist. “Authenticity [offered by personal brands] can pay off dividends.”

“We have a vibrant social media team that projects an experience, what it’s like to be a reporter,” said Mohyeldin. “That is translated into viewership.”

But social media has also given new power to the audience. They have greater awareness and expectations.

“Social has broken new grounds, we now can be exposed if we’re not covering events, conflicts around the world,” said Mohyeldin.

But the most interesting change social media has caused in the newsroom is in how they start their day. They listen to the audience.

“When we meet in the morning, we talk about what people are talking about in social and what is trending,” said Artley. “We also find stories that way which are unique and we wouldn’t have heard about in another way.”

This of course leads us back to how the panel started, with Carvin speaking of using social to learn what is happening in real-time during a major news event. Social as a listening tool seems to have the greatest impact of all for the media.

What impact has social media had on how you do your job?

Victoria Harres is Director of Audience Development at PR Newswire, the main voice behind @PRNewswire, social media lead for @Business4Better and a frequent speaker and writer on social media for business. 

Headline Hashtags & Other Tweetable Press Release Tips

Press releases generate multiple tweets per minute.

Press releases generate multiple tweets per minute.

A post on the Forbes CIO network titled “#Accounting: Why Finance Teams Need to Get Social” garnered an unusual amount of traffic when compared to other posts on that channel.  With a current tally of more than 430,000 reads, this particular post is a real outlier.  A quick scan of other posts on the site suggests that reader tallies in the low four figures are the norm.

This anomaly was spotted by Lou Hoffman of the Hoffman Agency, and he highlighted it in a blog post titled, “The Role of the Hashtag in a Forbes Headline Attracting Over 400K Views .”

“The one element that makes this Forbes post different from other executive byliners lies in the headline and the use of the hashtag #Accounting,” he noted in his blog post.

I think Lou is on to something.  According to HubSpot’s new LinkTally tool, the article was shared 1,200 times on social networks.  And, as illustrated in Lou’s blog post, Google is differentiating between the search terms “#accounting “ and “accounting.”    While I am not willing to ascribe the success of this post on Forbes entirely to the presence of the hashtag in the headline – after all, it is a well-written discussion of a timely topic – I do think that the headline format had something to do with the article’s success.

press release quote

There’s certainly no doubt that press releases are important grist for Twitter’s information mill.  A look at the live search results for “PRNewswire” on Twitter shows that people are tweeting the press releases we issue multiple times per minutes.   And there are a few things you can do when writing press releases to help encourage people to tweet and share your copy.

  • Try using a relevant and popular hashtag in a Tweet-ready headline – keep it to about 100 characters, and make it interesting.
  • That obligatory quote?   Craft it for Twitter by dropping the hyperbole and editing it down into a 100 character statement that makes a key point.
  • Encourage tweeting by including the Twitter handle of anyone you quote in the press release.
  • Don’t forget visuals.  Twitter.com displays media in tweets, and we know that visuals do a great job of grabbing reader attention.

You can also use ClickToTweet to embed pre-loaded tweets in your messages, though I would caution against relying solely upon an embedded tweet to generate engagement.   People use lots of different mechanisms to tweet, including browser extensions and social media management dashboards.  You’ll be most successful when you cater to a variety of user preferences.

Why 100 characters?  I thought Tweets were 140 characters?

While you can put as many as 140 characters into a tweet, there are a few reasons why limiting tweets to 100 characters (or even less) is a good idea.

  • If you’re adding a URL to your tweet, allow 20 characters for Twitter’s URL shortener.  All URLs on Twitter are converted to Twitter URLs automatically.
  • You’ll also want to leave space for other people’s comments and Twitter handles, to encourage re-tweets.
  • Research by PR Newswire shows that press releases with long headlines (longer than 140 characters) experience a significant drop in online views, so writing a Twitter-friendly headline can help boost overall results.

sarah avatarAuthor Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.”  Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .

Want to get more visibility on Twitter for your news?  Try SocialPost – our Twitter-based press release distribution service, delivering exposure via carefully-curated, subject-specific Twitter presences.