Twitter: The New Best Friend of PR Professionals

We’ve heard a lot about social media the in-thing, digital PR is taking over and traditional PR is past. It may be so, may not be so soon. That’s best left for time to decide. What’s clear and unquestionable is the need to adopt new tools, change with time. And twitter is one such tool that can prove to be the latest ammunition for the new age PR ninjas. Here’s the WHY and HOW of twitter for PR…

Twitter brings along the power of posting, helps build fresh list with instant connect potential, you get to explore unique ways of contacting journalists, can create Twitter cards, participate in chat groups, can post six-second videos, cool GIFs and sky is the limit as far as the potential of twitter is concerned.

All said, you’ll have to segregate hype from information. It’s not like you have to spend hours on twitter and without subscribing to services like Hootsuite, Topsy and Tagboard, PR is not possible. Just that Twitter is an amazing tool that can help immensely in connecting and amplifying your story to a wider, mass audience.

Why should a PR professional use Twitter?

  • For Announcements – New business, product, upcoming launch or event, expansion, funding, M&A, etc. It can be used to update your audience and also communicate in times of crisis.
  • For Research & Survey – To gauge public opinion and check the conversation happening around the brand. 
  • For Networking – Make new connections, interact with influencers and media. Engaging with consumers and even the competitors.

How can a PR professional use Twitter?

  • Connecting with Journalists

More and more journalists are coming and getting active on twitter. They are doing story research, seeking quotes, opinion, doing polls and requesting for feedback on twitter. It’s good to connect with them and start communicating. Only caution to exercise is that some of them may not be as open and comfortable in interacting via Twitter. Don’t bother them much. Give time. They too are learning to use it in a better manner as we are.

  • Pitching?

Pitching on Twitter may or may not be a good idea. You have to take that call in view of your experience and relationship with the journalists. Pitching on Facebook is a strict no as that’s a more personal kind of social media platform. Pitching on LinkedIn is considered to be ok, it being a professional platform. Twitter falls on the grey line between the two.

  • Add Twitter handles to your Media Lists

The best way is to create industry wise and beat wise private twitter lists. This way you can easily keep a watch on conversations around the subjects and remain updated. Many journalists are turning to twitter for finding ‘source’ for stories. There are groups where they post their requirements. Follow such groups and lists as well.

  • Research & Data gathering

Twitter is turning out to be an excellent tool for data collection in short span of time. You can ask questions, do a dip-stick, try opinion poll and other survey methods. Professionals from communication field are also open and frank in sharing from their experience on twitter. You can also gain from their wisdom and knowledge.

  • Announcements

With twitter comes the ease and opportunity of communicating way extensively and acting ‘personal’. That’s not the case with any other tool of communication. Think beyond the standard announcement tweet. Do the build-up. Behind the scenes, ongoing preparations and even the start of arrival of guests, etc. make for interesting communication on twitter. Tagging people and retweeting them is advisable.

  • Crisis Communication

As the saying goes, a quick response is the best response, in times of crisis. One-hour rule is suggested to be followed by most of the experts. What better way can there be to communicate in times of crisis than Twitter. You can be quick and at the same time you have to be brief. Who wants to be and can afford to communicate in detail while the crisis is on?

These are just some of the ways a public relations professional can use twitter to produce better results. More you explore you’ll find many more ways of using it to your benefit. It’s not only about reaching out to more people, having another tool to connect and communicate. It’s also about saving a lot of time which otherwise is spent in long mails and calls. Think of a world when every stakeholder is active on twitter. Life may become much easier and better.

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Reputation Today is India’s only print magazine for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals. It is the official magazine of PRAXIS - India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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