What the HECK do my clients think? Spending a bit too much time on Twitter…?

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ScreenHunter_03 Oct. 18 15.51Please tell me I’m not the only one. You sit at your desk, trying to hold in the giggles from something brilliantly funny that just popped into your head. “I have to tweet that! I’m a genius!” you say. (Ok, that’s a bit far from what I say to myself, but you get the point.)

But wait! My client Scooby Doo Scuba Gear follows me on Twitter . . . Shoot! I can’t tweet that. They will see it. They will think I’m nuts.

*Nudge, nudge* How about they will think: “what the HECK is my PR firm doing with the time I’m paying them for?” (This applies for those who don’t operate their client’s social media.)

I truly believe PR pros view their involvement with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter very differently. But have you ever gotten that feeling like you might be in trouble for it? With client or boss?

Here’s my $.02 on why (take a deep breath with me now) it’s ok for us PR pros to spend time each day on Twitter:

  • The media landscape is changing. Where we’ve lost many print outlets, it seems online news outlets aren’t taking the hit as bad. Where are many of these online (and print) news outlet editors and reporters? Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, MySpace.
  • I don’t know about you, but I found out about Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win from Twitter. News spreads fast on social media sites. If I find a fantastic article on, for example, mobile marketing that can be applicable to one of my mobile website building clients in that realm of service, my time spent on Twitter has been worth it and I’ve possibly found a new writer I can pitch.
  • So many local, small-business start-ups don’t have the budget just yet for advertising. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five local businesses in my area that I haven’t seen a single advertisement for. But I know what they do and I’ve built a relationship with them via Twitter . . . a better relationship than an ad would have produced. There! I now have a possible new vendor or even customer for one of my existing clients.

Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely those who spend far too much time on Twitter (and frankly, if you aren’t putting in those occasional late evenings and weekends, I’d be a bit cautious). I myself wonder if their clients panic at their Twitter feeds. But overall, I have not run into any real issues and find the benefits outweigh the negative.

I’d love to get your feedback on why you think your time spent on Twitter, Facebook, etc. during your day is ok . . . even beneficial (or not). Express your fears or doubts here as well. Anyone had a client talk to them about their presence on Twitter? Anyone simply block a client?

Nota bene: this blog post was written after-hours. ;)

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  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    I have definitely had meetings with clients where we both confess to Twitter-stalking each other. I mean, if you want to know how someone spends their day, Twitter isn't perfect but it does give you some insight into what people care about and who they know.

    Clients, on the whole, like seeing me on Twitter but that's because it's my job to be on Twitter and lead by example. For other flacks, it might take some convincing to show clients that this is part of our job now.

  • tracybb

    I get that you're supposed to be on twitter but do you censor yourself? Are you all professional? I guess another way around this dilemma is to have another Twitter persona to tweet the silly stuff. How many people do that?

  • http://twitter.com/KOttavio Kate Ottavio

    I definitely censor myself. I never swear and I seriously consider “this will be in Internet land forever” when tweeting. Not everyone remains professional and sometimes I can get goofy (please see: Baby Katie). I’d prefer to only have one account representing myself and my professional input. Otherwise, I bet it can get complicated. Some do though – and some carry it well.

  • http://twitter.com/PRCog PRCog

    I don't get it…another twitter account?

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    I don't curse on Twitter, but otherwise I just act normal. Sometimes that means reminding myself that normal people do not shout “XYZ” in a room full of strangers, friends, and clients, because that's what Twitter is.

    (Not that I talk like a sailor in real life! But. You know. I live in New York.)

  • prnicolev

    Yeah, I don't really understand having two Twitter accounts. It seems too difficult and kind of pointless. You just need to know how to censor yourself because you are representing the company you work for as well as yourself. Having two accounts just creates a disconnect and kind of ruins the transparency of social media.

  • http://www.kristinaallenpr.com/ Kristina Allen

    As long as I'm using my Twitter account responsibly (following the 80/20 rule and creating conversation rather than tweeting out “just got out of the bathroom” “just heard a song I like” “just made a sandwich”) I feel perfectly fine with clients seeing my Twitter stream. As TJ Dietderich said, I'm leading by example, networking, catching breaking new stories, and having a little fun!

    -@allenkristina

  • http://thebuzzbymikeschaffer.wordpress.com/ Mike Schaffer

    Excellent post, Kate!

    It is a delicate balance, especially since not every PR pro “gets” what we are doing on here.

    Your points outlining why it's important for us to spend critical–and billable–time online are excellent.

    I like to say that publicists are network nodes, meaning we are supposed to be the most plugged-in of anyone…and Twitter time is increasingly important to achieving that goal.

    I taught an internal company seminar called “Living the Plugged-In Life” a few weeks back. It really is a lifestyle, not something you turn off and on.

    If we learn how to use the technology, we can help our clients get the most out of it…and you can't understand it if you don't use it!

    While several coworkers (and my wife) say I spend too much time on Twitter, the connections I've made personally and professionally, and the real, tagible results for clients, are well-worth the investment.

  • http://twitter.com/KOttavio Kate Ottavio

    I definitely censor myself. I never swear and I seriously consider “this will be in Internet land forever” when tweeting. Not everyone remains professional and sometimes I can get goofy (please see: Baby Katie). I’d prefer to only have one account representing myself and my professional input. Otherwise, I bet it can get complicated. Some do though – and some carry it well.

  • http://prbreakfastclub.com PR Cog

    I don't get it…another twitter account?

  • http://twitter.com/tjdietderich TJ Dietderich

    I don't curse on Twitter, but otherwise I just act normal. Sometimes that means reminding myself that normal people do not shout “XYZ” in a room full of strangers, friends, and clients, because that's what Twitter is.

    (Not that I talk like a sailor in real life! But. You know. I live in New York.)

  • http://www.nicolevanscoten.com Nicole VanScoten

    Yeah, I don't really understand having two Twitter accounts. It seems too difficult and kind of pointless. You just need to know how to censor yourself because you are representing the company you work for as well as yourself. Having two accounts just creates a disconnect and kind of ruins the transparency of social media.

  • http://www.kristinaallenpr.com/ Kristina Allen

    As long as I'm using my Twitter account responsibly (following the 80/20 rule and creating conversation rather than tweeting out “just got out of the bathroom” “just heard a song I like” “just made a sandwich”) I feel perfectly fine with clients seeing my Twitter stream. As TJ Dietderich said, I'm leading by example, networking, catching breaking new stories, and having a little fun!

    -@allenkristina

  • http://thebuzzbymikeschaffer.wordpress.com/ Mike Schaffer

    Excellent post, Kate!

    It is a delicate balance, especially since not every PR pro “gets” what we are doing on here.

    Your points outlining why it's important for us to spend critical–and billable–time online are excellent.

    I like to say that publicists are network nodes, meaning we are supposed to be the most plugged-in of anyone…and Twitter time is increasingly important to achieving that goal.

    I taught an internal company seminar called “Living the Plugged-In Life” a few weeks back. It really is a lifestyle, not something you turn off and on.

    If we learn how to use the technology, we can help our clients get the most out of it…and you can't understand it if you don't use it!

    While several coworkers (and my wife) say I spend too much time on Twitter, the connections I've made personally and professionally, and the real, tagible results for clients, are well-worth the investment.

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