Twitter’s march through Japan’s business landscape continues as PR News launches Social Release, a service that uses Twitter streams and Facebook pages to distribute press releases.
While companies pay to have their press releases pushed out onto the service, Twitter users spread the word for free by signing up for a separate service called Social Post. By doing so, these users allow PR News to distribute press release links via their Twitter streams. Users can choose the genres they’ll shill for and the ratio of their tweets that they will allow to be PR. The default setting is to send out ads for all topics, frequently. The tweets come up with “[Social Post]” tagged at the beginning or end, lest followers wonder why you’ve suddenly started speaking PR-ese and spouting random links.
The service is included in the price of putting out a conventional release on PR News, or, as a separate package, starts at ¥38,000 for a single blast. Monthly rates are around ¥70,000.
PR News says that more than 65,000 Twitter and Facebook users have already signed up to be part of Social Post. This must sound attractive to companies needing exposure, but initial reaction is mixed. One user who experimented with it complained that the system was “uzai” (annoying); another said he wanted to disconnect his account from it, though at least a few more PR blurbs went out after his WTF tweet.
The potential benefits on the company side, however, are clear: Their messages will be coming out in semi-natural sound bytes, from the virtual mouths of thousands of users at once. It will be interesting to see who is willing to give a portion of their content over to spontaneously posted, luck-of-the-draw links, though we can see this as perhaps appealing to understaffed corporate Twitter accounts or niche news accounts as a way to bulk up their chatter. PR News says it’s aiming to have 1 million accounts spreading the word by March of 2011.
It strikes us as a bit like giving people a pile of flyers and asking them to hand them out to their friends, again and again. For free. To sweeten the so-called deal, for a limited time, PR News is offering registered social posters the chance to win a book voucher worth ¥500. Would this be enough for you to carry a sandwich board? If so, you’ve got until July 26 to sign up.