The rise of Twitter as a powerful social media tool as seen its deployment in a wide variety of marketing, journalism, and propaganda campaigns. Recently many companies have also begun to use Twitter as a Public Relations tool. From real time communication to brand reputation, Twitter can be used for public relations, but only if your PR team is wise and careful. Here are three factors to keep in mind:

Twitter creates a real-time dialogue without taking on dangerous newscasts

Almost like having your own global LP Chat software, Twitter creates a running dialogue with the world that can be updated so rapidly it begins to take on characteristics of real time communication. This can be extremely beneficial for time-sensitive events related to product releases, political campaigns, and even international stock market tips. With the world more connected than ever, the ability to spread information efficiently and instantaneously allows companies and public entities to address issues concurrently with network news cycles.

You should Tweet informative links that show that your company is working on the problem

Because Twitter allows you to share links with thousands, even millions of followers, what you say has added importance. Especially given the truncated nature of the message, when using Twitter for PR it’s important to remember to use your tweets wisely. After the 2010 oil spill, BP used their Twitter account to keep people updated about the efforts they were making to contain the leak and protect the coastal inhabitants and ecosystems. Links to reports on their efforts were probably far more effective at conveying information and reducing anger than a press conference full of lawyer-written canned responses.

Be careful not to add fuel to the fire

A recent McDonald’s campaign about new efforts to make their fast food menu healthy backfired when Twitter subscribers began to lampoon the global icon about the quality of its ingredients and health benefits. The campaign quickly became a joke and likely caused damage to the brand. If your company is perceived a certain way, don’t use Twitter to try and reverse that image. You’re setting yourself up for disaster. Twitter is for subtle branding adjustments, not a complete reputation overhaul. Tweets are composed of only 140 characters, but that doesn’t make them any less powerful as satirical weapons.

As you can see, it’s not just marketers who are using Twitter as an online tool. Corporate executives also use it as a PR strategy, and for good reason. Twitter can be a powerful vessel for information, but it must be used wisely and carefully.

About the author
Guest post by Nick Jameson. He is a freelance writer specializing in business and marketing

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