08 April 2013
Alice Baker, Account Manager

The importance of Twitter within the PR landcape

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If you are a bit of a nerd, you'll love these stats about Twitter. You could even tweet about them...

- There are 75 million Twitter users worldwide.
- Twitter's active user base generates 140 Million "tweets"
per day.
- The average Twitter user has 27 followers.
- Twitter users are more educated than the general population.
- Twitter users have higher incomes than the general population.
- Twitter users tend to be "early adopters".
- Twitter plays an active role in purchasing decisions.
- 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy brands that they "follow".
- Companies that use Twitter average two more leads per month than those that do not.*

*Source: HubSpot - 10 Essential Twitter Stats [Data] by Marta Kagan

Hip hip hooray!

Love it or hate it, Twitter is here to stay. Seven years' on and it has proved to be a platform that can stand the test of time - well, at least in social media terms. While others like Bebo and MySpace have disappeared off the edge of the World Wide Web, Twitter has remained steadfast and is a common staple within the communications space.  

Whether you use it for reading the latest news and weather or to shamelessly stalk your favourite celebrity, the outcome is the same; Twitter has become the place for keeping up-to-date. Its features (free, easy to use, freely accessible on multiple desktop and tablet devices) have made it an obvious choice for businesses to utilise and one which PR agencies have championed to maximise results via integrated campaigns.

There is no denying the importance of Twitter within the PR landscape, but what have we learnt during the last seven years about how best to use it? Has it all been plain sailing? And, what can we learn for the future? Here are Westgate’s seven top tips in honour of the Blue Bird’s recent Birthday:

1. Social media requires client approval too. You wouldn’t send a press release to a newspaper without checking it or seeking client approval. Why would tweeting be any different?

2. Is twitter the right platform for your campaign? Not all campaigns require a social media presence. With so many options available to PRs these days, it is tempting to jump on the bandwagon and launch a fully integrated campaign, but it is not always needed. Twitter is, however, a cost effective solution for many small businesses.

3. Twitter invokes transparency. If you open yourself up to Twitter, there is an expectation that you will be transparent. If you are not totally confident in your company communications or if you don’t have a robust crisis comms procedure in place, Twitter could open you up to all sorts of trouble. So only tweet if you’re confident in your approach and if you have an expert PR leading the way.

4. The importance of a joined-up approach. If you start an integrated campaign, be prepared to keep it integrated i.e. make sure the right hand knows what your left hand is doing. For example, if you post something on Twitter, make sure that it is in line with your company’s other media messages, viewed on other communications platforms too.

5. Interaction is key. You can’t remain static online. You need to keep interacting and your tweets can’t be one-sided.  Not only will it help to improve your presence online but it will also demonstrate how engaged you are in your industry.

6. Thinking things through. Don’t just type and tweet. Think about what you are saying and how it could be misconstrued. The promotion of Susan Boyle’s album party on Twitter, which included a hashtag with a rude double entendre, is a recent example of how things can easily misunderstood online.

7. Time is of the essence. Twitter is real time information. A failure to understand this will hinder your presence online. Responding to tweets quickly is key and offering instant updates on events, openings and the news agenda, will generate interest and engagement.

With all that being said, the question that really remains is: where will Twitter - or indeed social media - be in the next seven years? That's an answer we don't know at this moment in time, but the important thing is that PRs continue to keep their finger on the pulse to ensure we're always one step ahead of the communications curve.



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