Archives for May 20, 2009

10 Ways to Apply Twitter to Public Relations

Twitter Cupcakes by Bakerella via Flickr. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Twitter seems to be everywhere these days. Sam Champion and Chris Cuomo (and they are obsessed) from Good Morning America are on it and so is Oprah.  But what’s all this tweetness about? And how can you, as a public relations professional, get “in” on all that Twitterful action?

1. Set up a Twitter Account

Simple and easy to do.  You cannot have a piece of the action, if you have no pie to throw around.

2.  Understand it

Originally started, and used, by people in the technology and social media industry, Twitter has emerged as a premier social networking site. Facebook has even tried to buy it.

Messages (aka “tweets”) are 140 characters long. Be concise, be direct and say what you mean. Twitter streams in real-time, which means as it happens, you’ll find out about it.

Twitter-Jargon:

  • DM = Direct Message (send a direct, private message to another Twitter user)
  • RT = retweet (to retweet means to repost someone else’s tweet)
  • # = is a hashtag. Hashtags are associated with specific trends and topics. For example, {Rules of PR} Making Your Brand http://bit.ly/FbUgy#jobadvice #pradvice”
  • Followers = the people who “add” or “follow” you on Twitter
  • Following = the people you have “added” or are “following” on Twitter
  • @ = comes before someone’s Twitter name and is basically their Twitter address. For example, @SashaHalima
  • Pls = Please
  • EM = email
  • BTW = by the way
  • w00t/wOOt = expression of “yay” or some type of excitement
  • TYT = take your time
  • WTF = What the F***
  • WTH = What the Heck
  • TIA = Thanks in Advance
  • Tweet-up = an in-person meeting/gathering of Twitter folks
  • ppl = people
  • IMO = In My Opinion

3. Communications 

Twitter is a great way for public relations professionals to keep in touch with the latest trends. Whether your topic of choice is news, social media or straight PR, there is something for everyone as long as you know where to look.

Also, there are a lot of journalists on Twitter. It’s a great resource for them as well. My favourite Social Media guide, Mashable, created a great guide you can reference here.

If you live in Australia, click here or here for two different sets of lists. If you live in the UK, try this one.

Josh Copeland also uploaded a list of PR agencies on Twitter here.

4. Direct & Real

The beauty about Twitter is that because it is in real time, it also can serve as a great tool for direct and prompt customer service. Just two days ago, the Hyatt hotel brand’s CEO, Mark Hoplamazian, announced the debut of a Twitter concierge service.

5.  Networking & Establishing

Think about it this way: PR PEOPLE = SOCIAL = TWITTER

It’s pretty simple: extroverted, social behaviour is a common trait between the two. Therefore, Twitter is the perfect place for public relations professionals to network with other PR pros, but also to establish themselves as experts in their field. This, however, doesn’t just apply to PR people it can apply to anyone who is driven, passionate and knowledgeable about what they do.

For example, every Monday night from 8-10 p.m. ET I participate in a TweetChat (a chat via Twitter) called @Journchat. Run by, @PRSarahEvans, it’s a weekly chat for communications peopole by communications people. The thing is, it doesn’t end there. There are thousands of other chats like this on Twitter, you just need to know where to look. (see #9)

6. I am human, I come in peace

Just like everything else on the Internet, there is an ample amount of bots and spammers alike. Twitter is no exception to this. Therefore, in order to make yourself legitimate, make sure you include your real name and a photo of yourself. (For your own personal safety, DO NOT post up your phone number, home address or personal email.)

Be creative and be unique. Your Twitter likeness doesn’t need to go overboard with a ton of colours and graphics, but it should reflect who you are and what you do.

For example (click images to see Twitter pages):

 mashabletwitterbckgmar09_small

sashahm_twitter_may09_small

Also, here are some specs to keep in mind, when making your custom background etc.

  • Try to make sure it is viewable on most resolutions. To do this:
  • …make your background 1925w x 1159 h in pixels, then
  • …on the left-hand side, make sure that your “me box” (as I like to call it) is no bigger than, 177 w x 535h

While, these may seem like strange measurements, they actually are rather simple and allow for almost every resolution to see your information.

What good is putting a whole lot of information out there, if it only gets cut off?

Stick to basics — Name, Blog and/or Website Link and a one sentence description. Think in terms of 140 characters.

7. Share! Share! Share!

While, we all want to get our messages out there, Twitter isn’t a repository for press releases.  Share pictures and links to information and items you find interesting as well as your own. Remember people — public relations is all about the LOVE. It’s a two-way communication street.  (Thank you professor Shipka!)

8. URL shortners

140 characters IS NOT a lot of space to communicate your ideas. And we’re PR people we like to talk. Most of the time, unlike our journalism counterparts, we can’t get our point across to you in less than 140 characters. But guess what? Twitter is going to make us do that.

Choose your words carefully and wisely.

  • Remember to leave at least 5-10 characters of free space, just in case someone else wants to RT your tweet or in case you wish to add a # to it.

Include links too, but get them shortened: Bit.ly or Tiny URL are great tools.

9. search.twitter.com

This is the official search for Twitter. It’s a great resource to find out if people are talking about you or the brands you represent as well as what they are saying.

After setting up a Twitter account, venture to the search tool to get a feel of what you need (or need not) do.

But remember, it is always important to be PRoactive, rather than reactive.

10. Applications to Manage

Right, so, you now have Twitter, you know how to search for your brand, and heck, you may have created more than one account, so now what?

You get an application to help you deal.

If you have FireFox — check out TwitterFox. If you have Adobe Air — try TweetDeck. Other popular management applications include Twhirl, TweetGrid and TweetChat.

Now get going! There is a whole new world of social media out there for you to explore!

 

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations and an M.A. in International Administration.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Arlen Specter By DJ Whelan. All Rights Reserved 2009.

By: Rachel Steinman, guest blogger

I do not have to remind anyone that Senator Arlen Specter changed his party affiliation after decades of being a proud cardholding member of the GOP.
There have been speculation on why Specter would change, especially now that he has single handily gave the Democrats an overwhelming majority in almost every branch of the United States government.
Some have argued that he did not like what the Grand Old Party was turning into, while others saw it as his ticket towards reelection.
While an entire blog (probably even a thesis) can be used to explain the reasoning of why, we have to look at the big picture:

  • Democrats own our federal government.

From the leader of the free world to both chambers of Congress is consumed with Democrats.
It has been a very long time since the Democrats had this kind of control in the government.
John Stewart on the Daily Show remarked that this was the first time of complete and total domination of Democrats since President Jimmy Carter.
He also added the punch line that we saw how well that worked out.
Democrats can prevent filibusters in Senate, control the agenda in the House, and basically do whatever they want.
Now with a Supreme Court justice David Souter stepping down from court, President Barack Obama has almost free reign to put any left-leaning judge on the bench without criticism from an opposing party.
Now for the Democrats to maintain power they need to be able to work together.
Since the inauguration Congressional Democrats have argued that they are not just following Obama’s orders and sometimes have argued vocally against the President.
The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats need to work together and make sure that they do not abuse their power.
The American people did not like the corruption and the lies they were told by the Republican majority, Democrats do not follow in their footsteps!

Rachel Steinman is currently a International Relations and History major, with a minor in Art History, at the University of Florida. She is the 2009-10 UF Model United Nations president and she hopes to enter law school in fall 2009.  

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Using the Internet to your advantage

Photo by Z. Stephen. All Rights Reserved 2009.

By: Keira Gillett, guest blogger

It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re an author or a blogger or in a whole other field entirely, using the internet to your advantage is a must, must, must.

Email Signatures

How many emails do you send out a day? How many are to the same people? How many to new people? I bet it’s a lot, as email is the new letter. We use it all the time for communication. Your links to your website, your profile, your Twitter account, etc. should be in your email signature. If they’re not, you’re missing out on a huge readership.

WordPress

WordPress makes a great free blog and website. You can design your whole site around this free open source code. It’s simple to use and install, which makes this platform great for beginners. With hundreds of coders actively creating plugins to help optimize it, WordPress makes the most sense to use. In addition to plugins, there are tons of free themes to choose from that with a little tweaking can look brand new and totally your own.

RSS Feeds

Use them! Take your website, blog, Flickr, Twitter, etc. feeds and channel them all over the place. Your blog should post to Twitter. Your Twitter should post to Facebook. Both your blog and your Twitter should be posted at any Ning group you’re a part of in your profile. Trust me it’s worth the set up to get your content out there where people are spending most of their time.

Yahoo Groups!

Got a newsletter? Yahoo Groups is a great way to collect your readers and email addresses all in one place. It’s automated for joining and withdrawal and depending on how you set it up or want to use it, your group can also become a meeting place for others to join in the discussion.

 

Keira Gillett runs a book review blog for readers by readers on romance novels entitled Love Romance Passion. Visit her for an inside look into consumer reactions to products place on the market. She has a B.F.A. in Art from the University of Florida.

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.