Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Twitter and PR

Twitter is so commonly used in public relations sector to help organizations raise awareness of their brands and  communicate with their target audiences in time.  In this blog post, I will talk about some uses of Twitter in public relations and suggest  what organizations should do in terms of ensuring a successful Twitter PR.

1 - One -way Communication or two - way Communication?
Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton set up Twitter pages. Obama has more than 6 million followers whereas Hillary has only less than 20 thousand. The reason why Obama is more popular than Hillary on Twitter, despite the fact that one is the president and one is the secretary of the state, Obama interacts with his followers from time to time and gives feedback - my friend was followed by Obama on Twitter and he was so excited! On the other hand, Hillary Clinton follows zero people and never interact with her audiences. From this case, we can learn that it is a bad idea that organization set up a twitter page just giving out information without receiving any. This kind of one way communication is doomed to fail.

2 - Customers Service
When a man called Jonathan Fields tweeted some doubts about American airline JetBlue, a few minutes later, he soon got the feedback from JetBlue, and solved the problem. JetBlue uses twitter as a monitor and tracking tool to answer customer' s queries in real time and also keep customer updated about the flight information and all relevant news. Using Twitter to solve customers' problem, to a great extent, shortens the response time for organizations and  it is much cheaper than using traditional customer service.

                                                            3 - Evaluation and monitor tool
Twitter helps a lot of organizations monitor comments made by customers about the brand, product or services. These voices of customers could help organization to get to know what they think, what they like, what needs improving and etc. Moreover, by monitoring organizations could sense whether crisis is going to happen and make early preparation for crisis.

4- Carry out PR campaign on Twitter
Taste live! once hold a PR campaign on Twitter. The company provided 5 different kinds of wine to people for free and chose a fixed date to discuss with people on Twitter how they feel about the wine. Don't even need a venue for wine tasting, people could share opinions without considering any constraints, such as location, and transportation etc. The company had a chance to have in-depth conversation with its customers and at the same time more potential customers were discovered through the influence of Twitter.

So the most important rule of using twitter in PR is to let your audiences know your existence and at the same time interact with them. Also, one last hint - don't tweet TOO much otherwise people would unfollow you!



  1. I agree that Twitter is a useful tool for public relations. However it would appear that practitioners are not using it to its full potential. In an interview published in PR week (http://www.prweek.com/news/1062949/Big-Interview-Krishnan-Guru-Murthy-Channel-4-News/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH) top UK journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy stated that he had never been pitched to, via Twitter, by a PR with a story that he wanted to do. Twitter provides a perfect platform for PR to interact with journalists and yet it would appear that we are not taking advantage of this.

    Another article that I came across suggested that not all UK organisations are as good at customer interaction as JetBlue. A study which asked direct questions on the Twitter pages of 25 of the biggest UK retailers found that 75% did not reply at all.

    Twitter is a public platform which has the potential to aid the practice of public relations in a multitude of ways - it is time that we made the most of this opportunity.

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