Using Twitter in PR

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Currently there are 288 million active users on Twitter, 80% of which are using their mobile phones to access the site – meaning that they will be receiving the latest updates whenever and wherever they are. Because of this, many organisations are integrating Twitter into their PR programmes, and for those that recognise the platform’s unique offerings and use it correctly, it has the potential to be a very powerful PR tool. Here are some of the ways in which you can use Twitter for PR purposes.

Crisis communications
During times of crisis, people are going to have a lot of questions that they want answered – immediately! By failing to maintain a constant stream of communication with the public during such times, it can seem unprofessional at best, but at worst it may appear that you are deliberately trying to hide something! Twitter is a useful tool for crisis communications since it not only allows you to keep people updated regularly with easily digestible 140 character tweets, but you can also respond to any questions which come your way in order to maintain maximum transparency.

Special offers and competitions
Using Twitter to promote special offers that are only available to online followers will encourage people to follow your account – this not only creates exposure for your brand but also creates a sense of community among your customers. Competitions are excellent for this as well, especially since you can use hashtags to promote the competition. Additionally, if your competition requires photo entries, people can have a great time looking through other entries, providing some lighthearted entertainment and make people feel part of a community.

Establish relationships with journalists and bloggers
Communicating with niche bloggers and media personnel using Twitter is a great way to open a non-invasive dialogue (as opposed to cold-calling them which automatically puts them on the defensive). By retweeting their tweets and joining in with their discussions, you can establish a positive relationship which will make them more responsive when you have a good story to pitch. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, would refer to this phenomenon as the law of reciprocity – when you do something nice for someone, they feel compelled to repay you!

Promote blog content and infographics
Twitter is a great way to promote your digital content, driving people back to your landing page, creating inbound links and ultimately boosting your site’s SEO. All blog posts should feature social media functionality, allowing people to retweet your content at the click of a button. Imaginative Infographics also spread like wildfire on social media, and because of the size restrictions on Twitter, it pays to include a thumbnail of the infographic in the tweet – this encourages people to come to your landing page to view the entire thing and maybe explore the rest of your site too!

Updates from the CEO
While your marketing or PR specialist might have all the rhetoric and technical knowledge for maximising social media usage, having the CEO of the company personally post a tweet will automatically give it a higher level of credibility. While most CEOs have more pressing duties than managing social media, one of the reasons that Twitter is so ideal for CEOs is because of the short character limit. CEOs can literally post bite size updates whenever they have a free moment, allowing them to communicate important information to their audience without taking their time away from other matters.

The possibilities for using Twitter in PR are endless. In addition to the idea mentioned above, Twitter can be used for promoting company news, product launches, getting feedback from a community about a campaign, promoting videos and infographics, sharing curated content, generating interest for an event and web conferencing. No other platform gives you such a direct, real-time channel of communication with your audience. Twitter is a highly effective communication tool in the age of information.

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