This is Part 1 in a three-part series.
Twitter is a mixed bag. Some days it’s a political minefield, other days you spend half an hour trying to figure out why “30-50 feral hogs” is trending. Googling “Why Twitter is” will result in autofill options of “Why Twitter is good,” “Why Twitter is bad,” and “Why Twitter is important.” Everyone you ask will have an opinion along this spectrum, and I’m no exception. I’ve been on Twitter since 2008, and after a decade+ of its platform updates and my own life changes, I’m still a loyal contributor to the social media site, both for personal and professional use.
Whether you’re a Twitter devotee or you can’t remember how many characters are allowed in a tweet, having a presence on Twitter is worth it for all PR pros. Here’s how to develop your Twitter for your personal PR goals:
No matter how you use Twitter, the platform sees its roughly 321 million active users per month gravitate to certain areas of interest. Whether that’s memes, breaking news, or TV show finales, there’s place for everyone on Twitter. That’s equally true of PR and journalism.
Almost every reporter or editor I’ve worked with over the past few years has a Twitter account. While email addresses or LinkedIn profiles can be hard to find, a journalist’s Twitter profile is almost always linked in their author bio. If you’re looking for insights on what a journalist’s interests or beats are, always check out their Twitter – they’re not usually shy of sharing their work!
This is even more valuable when it comes to local journalists. I follow several IndyStar reporters I’ve worked with before and whose stories I like and have had interesting and informative conversations with them right there on Twitter. Even if I’m not pitching them for anything, I love seeing what local journalists are talking about, what’s important to the community, and what’s making headlines.
Brag about yourself.
#HumbleBrag is a hashtag for a reason. Don’t be afraid to show off the awesome work you’re doing – and the awesome coverage you’re receiving – for your clients or company overall. If you spent several weeks coordinating an interview for a client, share the link and spread the word!
If you have a Twitter account you use for both personal and professional reasons, you may want to add some context to sharing client coverage. If you usually tweet about superhero movies, a tweet about healthcare facilities management may feel out of place. A quote retweet tagging your client and your company, though, provides plenty of details as to why you’re talking about this subject.
Somewhere in the 500 million tweets sent every day, you’re bound to find something inspiring. Most news channels have Twitter presences, and just about every author, comedian and actor does, too. What are news channels in your client’s HQ city tweeting about? What news is capturing the attention of a large audience? What client keywords are seeing a lot of activity as hashtags?
PR pros have many tools at their disposal to build press lists and measure media coverage impact, but few tools are as effective as good ol’ research. Twitter lets you get in-the-moment insights into what’s important to different audiences and thought leaders just by being present and following a few key individuals or organizations. Keep an eye on clients’ competitors, journalists you’ve worked with before, and the general news across the city, state and country. You never know where your next newsjacking or byline opportunity might come from.
Is Twitter for everyone? Maybe not. However, it should be a place all PR pros can go to make connections, tout their work, and get inspired for new story angles. As long as news breaks on Twitter, PR pros should be there to keep up.
Interested in how Twitter can play a role in your public relations strategy? Contact Lauryn Gray to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.
This is Part 1 in a three-part series.