Dutch financial services group ING released the results of a survey last month on the impact of social media in The Netherlands in 2012.
The depth of information ING has published is comprehensive and paints a fascinating picture of attitudes, opinions and behaviours regarding social media in Dutch society based on a survey among 1,500 consumers, with a major focus on financial news.
A handful of metrics from the report:
- 55% of consumers come across information regarding the financial sector in online media such as news sites and newspaper websites at least once a week.
- 33% of consumers see financial information posted on social media like Twitter and Facebook at least weekly.
- Nearly two-thirds of consumers (65%) said they find the information posted on online media to be reliable.
- 40% of consumers find posts made on social media to be trustworthy.
If The Netherlands is a country in which you have a keen interest in how social media is used and want to see trends for predicting future use, ING’s research will be of particular interest to you – you can download the detailed report as a 99-slide presentation PDF.
Interesting though ING’s information is, what struck me more was the medium they used for their message – a social media press release.
It was created and published with PressDoc, an Amsterdam-based company that describes its service as “an online platform for engaging press releases.”
It’s a particularly good example of presenting content elements as defined in the social media press release template version 1.5 created by Todd Defren‘s SHIFT Communications in 2007. That template evolved and refined the concept from SHIFT’s original template version 1.0 created in 2006.
Don’t look at the layout so much – there is no rigid definition of what a social media press release has to look like – as it’s more about many of the key elements that ING includes in its social media press release:
- Tweetable content summary.
- Survey highlights as bulleted texts.
- Narrative content as concise text paragraphs.
- Links to rich content: infographic, Slideshare presentation.
- Quotes with relevant sound bites.
- Image links.
- Twitter hashtag and widget with latest tweets.
- Concise description of company.
- Highlights of recent other news with links to that content in ING pressroom site.
- Company contact info, names of press contacts with their contact info, RSS link and Twitter handle.
All text content is easy to copy and paste into another document, eg, your word processor as you write up your story on the subject.
I’m a great believer in press releases in this format, not necessarily to replace the traditional press release – the mainstream media still isn’t wholly ready for that – but to complement it.
But here’s something new – version 2,.0 of the social media press release template has just been announced by SHIFT’s Christopher Penn (which I discovered in my prep when writing this post).
It is a next-level evolution, Penn explains:
[...] So what does the modern press release look like? 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.
Penn explains that because social media and earned media are one and the same now, the days have gone where you need separate communications for someone who is in the mainstream media and separate for someone who is a blogger, adding:
[...] If social media isn’t fully and wholly integrated into your overall earned media and marketing plan, you’re fundamentally asking to be ignored. It’s not enough to put links to your Twitter account or Facebook page on your press release, or even enough to provide suggested content. Today, you must have your social network (or your PR agency must have one ready for you) prepared, with relationships built and in place, long before your press release even hits the wire.
I wholeheartedly agree that the social media press release is one element in a holistic communication and engagement endeavour. And, unquestionably, online relationships are key.
It seems to me that ING’s communicators understand evolution pretty well.
Maybe the medium is the message today.