When the micro-blogging site Twitter first appeared on the scene, few people knew what to make of it. It was a combination blog site and social network, and people quickly set out to find out how to leverage the hot new service. Fortunately for PR professionals, Twitter has proven to be an excellent avenue for public relations and even media relations.
Here are just a few ways that PR pros are using Twitter:
1.) Promoting Companies or Products – The 140 character Tweet is at the heart of Twitter. People tweet about everything from what they had to breakfast to jokes to a problem with a company. Savvy PR pros can use the 140 character Tweet to build buzz around companies, products, services or individuals. Suggestions for Tweets include hinting about new products, offering special promotions to Twitter followers, or hosting contests such as allowing Twitter followers to name a new menu item to win a free meal or offering a prize to whoever comes up with the most creative Tweet about why they love your product.
2.) Answering Questions – While Tweeting about your product can often fall into the realm of marketing, answering questions is where PR pros shine. Use the http://search.twitter.com website to set up various searches with your company, product names, services, industry, or competitors as the keywords. When someone asks a question about your company or your industry, jump in to answer it. You will be perceived as helpful and probably gain a new follower and thus a target for your PR message.
3.) Getting on Top of Bad Press – When bad press strikes, it can go viral in seconds thanks to social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Fortunately, Twitter can be use to fight fire with fire, pointing your followers (which always tend to increase during a time of crisis) to your response to the situation and quickly answering questions and diffusing rumors.
4.) Monitoring Reputation – Twitter search (http://search.twitter.com) can also be used to monitor what people are saying about you. If someone consistently raves about your product, you might want to offer them a freebie or special treat. On the other hand, if you notice a segment of Twitter speaking unkindly of your company, you are on top of it and can form a plan of action to nip it in the bud.
5.) Meeting Reporters and Bloggers – Reporters and bloggers have taken to social media like ducks to water. They often search for sources on social media or Tweet about the types of stories they are working on. This can be a goldmine for PR pros. Further, according to the Journalists Speak Out on PR newsletter, many reporters and bloggers prefer to be pitched via Twitter because it forces PR pros to get to the point in 140 characters or less.
The most interesting thing about Twitter is that people are developing new ways to use it every day. PR pros should follow lots of people, including industry leaders, competitors, influential Twitterers, and the general public, and learn from them when it comes to taming this new technology for your PR efforts.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.