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The Power of Twitter in Public Relations

August 24, 2022

Social media, in general, lives in a gray area between marketing and public relations (PR). If I had it my way, all social media would live within a PR strategy. However, we frequently run into companies that employ a content manager (intern or junior level employee) to manage social media. While I agree that younger employees can be more skilled, the truth is if you’re not engaging correctly on the various platforms, then you’re wasting time and resources and doing your company a disservice. The most challenging outlet to educate business owners on is Twitter, and its influence on a company’s audiences.

According to TechTarget, Twitter is a free social networking site where users broadcast short posts known as tweets. These tweets can contain text, videos, photos or links. This is all true, but Twitter is so much more than that, and should be treated as an integral component of any PR strategy. Below I’ve outlined a few best practices when utilizing Twitter for business:

  1. Treat it as a news source. When breaking news hits, the fastest and most up-to-date information is blasted out over Twitter, in 280 characters or less. If you follow news outlets, such as NBC, ABC, FOX, CNBC or any other major media outlet, you’ll notice that on a regular day, news stories are blasted out every 30 minutes or so. Now consider how fast news comes in when a major event happens. Consider treating Twitter as your company’s major news source. If you work in a space that requires crisis communication, Twitter is a place to share news fast – as it happens, and as appropriate. If Twitter is used to share company news and values, determine an appropriate amount of posts per day. Remember, Twitter shares news and news travels fast. If you’re seldomly posting, your followers will most likely miss what you have to say.
  2. Define your niche and target audience. Provided you’re not on Twitter just to troll other people, Twitter is a great place to connect with your audience and share your news with them. Just like you build a LinkedIn audience, full of business colleagues, consider who you need to interact with on Twitter. If it’s for company updates, employees should be included. Business announcements? Add your clients or customers. News to share? Engage with reporters as way to not only engage with them, but keep them updated on your company’s positions on specific topics (i.e., Roe v. Wade, etc.) Twitter allows companies to make a stand in a short number of characters. Don’t be afraid to speak out on important topics (if your company is comfortable doing so).
  3. Use hashtags every time. Speaking of reporters, oftentimes, reporters follow hashtags when trending events are happening. If there’s breaking news or if you have commentary on a topic, insert the appropriate hashtag. This creates an environment for a reporter to reach out to you on a specific topic.
  4. Slide into a reporter’s DMs. Because reporters are frequently on Twitter, monitoring and/or sharing news, it’s also a great channel to communicate with them. In doing reporter research, find out if a specific reporter you like is active. If they are, connect with them, and don’t be afraid to pitch stories or angles. In my experience, response times are often faster than sending an email.
  5. Create Twitter lists. Just like creating a database, Twitter allows you to create categorized lists. Take advantage of this by building out lists for your various audiences. The news you want to share with one group may not hold any value for another audience segment. Take the time to make sure messages are targeted to the groups that find value in them.

There is still a lot more to share about Twitter, but I’ll recap with this. Post consistently, pin important topics to the top of your tweets and use images and multimedia where possible.

Are you looking for a PR firm to help with the integrating social media into your PR strategy? Reach out to Paige Donnell at paige@paigepr.com to get the conversation started.