I received a question from a college friend via LinkedIn asking me if I use Twitter and what it’s all about. My reply, “Of course, I use Twitter!” Even though there are over one million Twitter users, it is still not widely known. Twitter is micro-blogging, using only 140 characters in each post. To help you get started, check out Sarah Morgan’s Twitter Primer.
For PR professionals, Twitter can provide many applications.
- Keeping in touch with colleagues or friends. The Digital 360º team at Ogilvy PR uses it to let each other know where they are and what they are doing. They don’t all have to be on the same instant messaging program, and they feel tweeting is part of their jobs. The Digital 360º team has also created some great Twitter Tools and Best Practices.
- “Listening” to what is going on. During this year’s presidential campaign, I was able to quickly know who was writing interesting articles about the campaign. I also follow several PR people on Twitter, alerting me to new trends and ideas.
- Taking part in the conversation. When I find a tweet useful or interesting, I can quickly make a comment or reply. It’s also easy to add additional thoughts or information.
- Promote your latest blog post, newsletter or article. When this blog entry is posted, I will post a link to it on Twitter. I have Twitter feeding into Friendfeed, which posts my tweets to Facebook and Plaxo. There are other programs available, like Twirl and Ping, to help you post your tweets to the social media platforms you use.
- Connect to reporters. You can follow some of your favorite reporters on Twitter, which will help you understand the reporter’s interests. MicroPR has an ongoing list of media on Twitter. Help A Reporter Out (HARO), aka Peter Shankman, is also on Twitter. I recently forwarded a HARO posting for an interview opportunity to one of my clients. Shankman tends to put the most urgent and latest opportunities on Twitter.
- Customer service. Many companies, such as Dell, Sun Microsystems, and Marriott are using Twitter to connect to their clients and provide customer service. I recommend a recent PR Week’s article, Tweeting Your Way to the Top for additional ideas.
How are you using Twitter? I’d love to hear other creative ideas.