It’s no secret PR professionals have an unhealthy relationship with Twitter. Despite the existence of countless other social networking platforms, including Facebook (which actually has much higher numbers than Twitter), people working in PR seem to naturally gravitate towards the micro-blogging service more than anything else. We give out our Twitter handles at networking events and print them on our business cards, which is especially interesting considering LinkedIn is probably the most professional social media platform out there. However, professionalism doesn’t have everything to do with it- Twitter is as much for creating friendships as it is for forming business relationships. So why are all of us flacks such hopeless (and I mean hopeless) Twitter fiends?
1. We’re Natural Born Networkers: Networking is such a huge part of our business, whether it be on behalf of our clients and company, or for a personal desire to move up in the industry. Twitter provides the perfect platform for networking since it is meant to connect new people instead of friends and family members. Any PR professional can attest to the powerful hand Twitter has had in increasing their network, and many can even share a story of how it helped them get an interview, job, or a new contact that benefitted their client.
2. We Love to Spread Information: Who are we kidding? Flacks are suckers for a good story or piece of information. The media IS our business. Not only that, it’s in our DNA to promote and spread the story of the companies and brands we work for. Twitter arguably provides the best platform for us to do this. Sure, you can share a link on Facebook, but that piece of information will undoubtably exist in a bubble unless you accept every single friend request you receive. Think about the amount of links you see on Twitter on a daily basis- it’s becoming the biggest source of news for many of us.
3. It’s Where Our Demographic Hangs Out: Even though Justin Bieber is literally CONSTANTLY trending, it has been proven time and time again teens aren’t on Twitter yet. I have a 13-year old sister who swears she will never join. This is a great indication Twitter just isn’t completely mainstream at this time, which means most people aren’t being followed by absolutely everyone they know (parents, grandparents, etc.) like they are on Facebook. We as PR professionals have been able to turn Twitter into our little sphere where we can discuss the business without getting a “huh?” comment from that family member that just loves to tease you- for the most part at least. This probably won’t last forever, but it’s nice to have in the meantime.
4. We Understand the Importance of a Public Image: Our business is all about branding and image, and most flacks I know are very smart about what they broadcast through social media because they know it affects how people see them. It’s really hard to limit what people see on your Twitter account (without going completely private) which means you have to think about every tweet before you send it. This is why we tend to use Facebook for our personal lives and are very selective about who we friend (that way only our friends get to see our embarrassing photos!). Thanks to Twitter’s public nature, it’s a better platform to share with business associates.
5. We’re Fantastic Researchers: In order to be a great PR pro, you have to posses exceptional research skills. Twitter has turned into its very own search engine due to the large amount of information that is broadcast and shared on a daily basis. This fact has been recognized by Google and Bing, who added tweets into their search results not too long ago. It’s a fantastic resource for discovering the top news of the day, gauging the sentiment of people towards a particular issue, finding out hot topics, etc. Additionally, the other great researchers- journalists- are using Twitter just as heavily for the same purposes, so it makes it a great place to connect with them.
These reasons help us take a tiny step towards understanding why Twitter has become such a lifeline for PR pros. Why do you use Twitter more than any other social networking platform?
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