The Social Media Release was a concept started two years ago by PR 2.0 mavens Todd Defren and Brian Solis. The form took on several iterations and has been experimented with by several marketers. It has been discussed quite frequently, has encouraged the wires to engage social media elements, yet has failed to really take off. But Ford Motor Company and its agency the Social Media Group (SMG) have taken the Social Media Release (SMR) to a new level for various products like the Ford Focus and F150.
Ford’s innovations in the SMR include a new storyboard approach, which focuses less on the possible conversation value of social media press release, and more on catalyzing content creators to take parts and develop their own content. It also assumes that some readers will want to engage in certain media forms, and not all of them. Further the revised SMR delivers “digital snippets of information.”
The resulting smorgasborg of social media creates easily digestible “snacks” that allow for readers’ choice. Rather than issuing the SMR with all of their media on the wires, Ford and SMG are leveraging existing social networks like Flickr and YouTube to ensure they provide easily access to content from a variety of ways. Ford’s social PR effort is truly liquid.
BB: Are all of elements essential? Can companies plug and play as they need to?
MF: All elements are not essential, but if the story is not something you expect to have evolve over time, and you haven’t got rich content like video or images, this platform really isn’t a good fit. I’d recommend a "regular" release.
BB: Will standards be developed, or a WP template for the SMR?
MF: Standards are in the works, and our backend development is wrapped up. We’re pretty happy with the platform, but will continue to improve and customize it to accommodate the needs of different clients. A WP template? A possibility down the road.
Last week, Todd Defren indicated SHIFT is working on a new SMR template, too. It’ll be interesting to see how the dialogue evolves. One issue that will likely be debated between the two camps is should the actual SMR be comment enabled, or just its elements. This is the storyboard versus conversation piece argument. All of this progress is good. I look forward to learning more from these great innovators.