Twitter has quickly become a baseline tactic for PR initiatives seeking to engage audiences in online conversation. It can be a good tool to connect with company stakeholders, including media.
In addition, Twitter can be an excellent tool to try out different brand strategies to reach specific consumers, says Nancy Martira, senior interactive strategist at Ketchum.
The firm has tried several types of Twitter initiatives for its client Skinny Cow to generate awareness for the brand, including a coupon giveaway targeted at Martira's followers, which are largely mom bloggers, and then her followers' followers.
“It's of relatively small cost,” Martira says. “It's not like launching a national broadcast campaign, but if you succeed it has the opportunity to really ripple.”
Chris Gale, VP of EVC Group, notes that Twitter is an excellent source to create opportunities for face-to-face relationships and deepen connections with already interested media.
For example, EVC Group aids it client Comarco, a mobile power source maker, on Twitter as its IR AOR. When it noticed a key publication for the company, Wireless Week, Tweeting about Targus Group, it let the outlet know of Comarco's new exclusive distribution deal with Targus, and an article resulted.
“Comarco is a turnaround company, and because they're small, sometimes it can be difficult to get news out about their successes,” Gale says. “[The Wireless Week story] helped lay out what Comarco's achieved.”
Some companies also use the site as an additional customer service function, responding to consumer complaints and requests. Examples include @comcastcares and @BofA_help. That type of promise to a consumer, however, carries a significant commitment, so a brand must decide whether or not it is the right step for it.
Olympus Imaging America at @GetOlympus, for example, notes that the company's Twitter page does not handle service requests. However, Michael Bourne, VP and account director at Mullen, which handles the account, says he uses monitoring tools Techrigy and Twitterholic to help him decide to jump into conversations that involve the brand.
“That gives me the ability to know who is talking about us, competitive products, or subjects important to the brand," says Bourne. "In terms of their influence factor, I can decide if I want to engage."
Frequent updates and following news alerts can waste time for a PR professional managing a brand on Twitter, Gale adds.
“The point is… not to preoccupy yourself with putting out content or the number of people following you,” he says.
Utilize Twitter to build relationships with target demos and key media
Check out what competitors are doing in the space
Respond to every brand mention or criticism
Provide more quantity than quality updates