Boosting Your PR Efforts With Twitter

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Have you noticed a lot of journalists and other media professionals on Twitter? They’re there because Twitter is an extremely timely platform for news, trending conversations, and gossip. It’s where everything happens and everyone goes to complain. So how can a brand leverage this for its benefit? This week on the chat, we invited PR writer and consultant, Michelle Garrett, to chat with us about how you can use Twitter in your PR efforts effectively.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Michelle Garrett
Topic: Boosting your PR efforts with Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Does your Twitter presence impact your PR efforts?

Our guest believes it does. According to Michelle, a lot of journalists will first look at a brand’s social media activity before deciding to cover a news story about the brand. With so many journalists using Twitter as their primary social platform, they tend to look at and assess a brand’s Twitter presence.

Not having a presence or not posting for extended periods of time doesn’t reflect well on your brand.

As our friends from VirtuDesk added, a well-maintained Twitter account can improve your brand image, increase the visibility of your brand, and make your brand feel more human and relatable.

Q2: Why do PR professionals prefer Twitter over other social channels?

Because that’s where most journalists spend most of their social time. As a short-form and fast-moving platform, it’s hardly a surprise that journalists are attracted to Twitter. It’s certainly a good place to break and catch the latest news. That’s why it’s invaluable for PR professionals to be on Twitter.

As Pavel pointed out, Twitter is a public space. This means PR professionals can directly engage with and learn about a whole range of people, including journalists, customers, prospects, and influential figures.

Q3: How can you connect with media professionals on Twitter?

Simple. Follow them and engage with their content. Treat them the way you’d want to be treated: With respect and professionalism. Media personnel are humans, too, and they like human things just as much as you and I do.

Being strategic doesn’t hurt either, as Madalyn explained. If you’re trying to build media relationships, thoroughly research them first. Know which journalists you want to connect with, and then start engaging with them. If they participate in Twitter chats or Spaces, join in and share a conversation. Being strategic doesn’t mean you should be fake, though. Be genuine in your efforts to network and build relationships.

Q4: Share some do’s and don’ts for engaging with media professionals on Twitter.

Do engage with a reporter on Twitter. If you notice that a reporter you’re trying to build a relationship with is tweeting about something, and you have something valuable or interesting to add, by all means, go for it.

That said, don’t overdo it. Replying to a random tweet is great, but if you start liking and replying to their every tweet, or message them incessantly, you’ll quickly look like a stalker. The last thing you want to do is to make a reporter feel uncomfortable about you and your brand.

Q5: Should you pitch to journalists on Twitter?

You’ve probably seen people who say in their bio that their DMs are open. This means that they’re open to receiving messages from you. However, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re open to receiving pitches in their direct messages. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but when unsure, you’re better off asking them how they’d prefer to receive a pitch. Most journalists still use email as their main communication medium. Be thoughtful in your pitches. Research and identify how best to pitch to each journalist. The more you engage with a journalist, the more you’ll know about their preferences.

Before you go on a pitching spree, however, it helps to remember what Lance said: Provide real value and make sure that the journalist’s specialty is relevant to your industry or story.

Q6: When engaging with media professionals, should you use your personal or brand handle?

Tricky question. In most cases, your personal handle should be fine, but if you don’t receive any response on your personal handle, then try your brand handle.

Our friends from Hootsuite suggested using your personal handle if you’re representing yourself. If you’re reaching out on behalf of a brand, though, the brand’s handle might be the better option.

That said, if you’re representing a brand but you personally have a rapport with the journalist you’re reaching out to, you might have a better chance of getting a response on your personal handle. See what I mean about it being tricky? Use your judgment based on the situation.

Q7: Can you land a media mention just by building relationships on social media?

You sure can. As our guest explained, journalists post about their social media connections. Building your network gives you a good chance of getting a mention.

Follow journalists you’d like to engage with. If they’re looking for a source, and you don’t have anyone in mind, you can still retweet and spread the message. They’d appreciate that. If you’re looking to land a story, have a look at #JournoRequest where media professionals seek sources.

As Carrie added, don’t think that you should always get something from media personnel. You’re not entitled to their attention. Be a genuine supporter, instead, and they’ll do the same.

Q8: What do media professionals expect from a brand’s social media presence?

Share any news or stories you have about the brand. Media professionals expect to see a brand’s handle talking about its latest releases or updates. If you have new content, share that around as well.

If you’re exhibiting or speaking at an event, share that, too. Journalists who’re attending the event might stop by to chat. Be sure to include the event hashtag, and if applicable, tag the event organizer.

As for what to avoid posting on social media, stay away from volatile comments and controversies.

Media professionals also look for information about who you are as a brand and what you stand for, as Christine said. Make it easy for them to understand your offering and to contact you.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Michelle, have a look at this Twitter thread. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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