Advice Unlimited

Twitter: PR's Little Helper

From the blog of Thomas Moylan, Advice Unlimited's Social Media Specialist.


Social media continues to grow and weave its way into people’s daily lives.  Specifically, I am talking about Twitter.  It is no longer a place where celebrities and athletes update their fans with what they are wearing that day or how good their gourmet salad was for lunch.  Businesses have adopted the social media site as a way of integrating their advertising campaigns into people’s social lives.  It is everywhere and hard to avoid noticing. Nearly every advertisement these days wears the stamp “Follow us on Twitter” at the bottom of the ad.  Posts are limited to 140 characters each; it’s not the size of the post, but the size of the audience the post reaches that matters.

 

While advertisers have taken the reins using Twitter to spread their ad campaigns, organizations can greatly benefit from using it to promote news, events, or anything they need to make public.  Websites like TinyURL.com and bit.ly will help cut your URL link to fewer characters, so your remaining post can really draw attention to what the link is for.  Bit.ly goes a bit (no pun intended) further with their free membership, giving analytics tracking of how many people clicked on your shortened link. It is so easy to write a quick title for a link to your feature article or press release and post it for your followers to view.  Having a catchy post is extremely important, because if the reader doesn’t know what it is for, they will probably skip right over it.  Using #hashtags and tweeting at other users (done by using the @ sign in conjunction with a user’s Twitter handle) can also make your post pop, attracting followers to the link provided.  Not only does the use of #hashtags and tweeting at people draw attention to your post, it can also expand your influence, increasing the size of the audience that sees your post.  

 

A substantial number of journalists and bloggers use Twitter these days, so connecting with them and making new contacts for future stories could expand your company’s reach even more.  Start following reporters you’re  interested in, retweet something they posted if it’s relevant to your area of business, and send them a private message if you have an appropriate pitch for them.   As with pitches in any medium, show interest in a reporter’s recent stories and do your research to ensure you’re targeting the correct person for the pitch in question.  My junior industry status has taught me to really do my research on reporters and their stories because it could mean the difference between making a new contact or sounding inexperienced and being discarded for wasting the reporter’s time with material that is irrelevant to them.

 

It is also important to keep a constant flow of news and updates going to your feed.  Social media like Twitter has a large mobile user base that has access to their news feed at all times, so it is important for your followers to see you posting regularly.  Posting a news story only every few weeks will drop your presence to the very bottom of your followers’ feeds, and they may forget you are there.  Having said that, quality is better than quantity, so make sure all posts are high quality and you’re not tweeting just to tweet.

 

Connecting with reporters on Twitter is a great forum for pitching your stories, but I also want to stress how important your following can be.  Anyone can have a Twitter account and have great compelling content being posted to it on a regular basis.  The key factor to a successful social media campaign is your following.  Who is viewing your content?  The content may be great, but without the proper following, that compelling content could mean nothing.  There are several ways to increase and improve your following on Twitter.  One method is to #hashtag and tweet at as many relevant contacts as possible – focus on those who have a larger following, in order for your tweets to end up on other people’s (their follower’s) feeds.  If these people like your tweet, then hopefully they will start following you too. 

 

Adding #hashtag key words can also increase your search engine optimization (SEO).  Another way of increasing your SEO is to link all of your social network posts together so they appear on every social network site you use.  With the same posts, key words, and links appearing on several different networks, search engines will have more than one place to link people to.  

 

In short, Twitter is everywhere and it is here to stay.  If you are using it already, great --keep expanding your following and releasing quality content.  If you are not using Twitter, don’t be afraid to start.  It is easy to set up and will prove to be a valuable part of your communications toolkit. I’d love to hear additional Twitter tips from other communications professionals – you can reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  And you can follow me on twitter at @adviceunlim.

2013. Advice Unlimited LLC.

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