Home > Uncategorized > Public Relations and Twitter – It’s not about you!

Public Relations and Twitter – It’s not about you!


This is an open letter to all my PR counterparts – okay not all, but certainly most of them.

Simply put, it isn’t about you. PR folks RT’ing client news and client’s articles mixed with a number of self-indulgent ‘going to write a press release now’ or ‘leaving work, it’s been a long day’ tweets are not helpful to you, your clients or your followers.

Public Relations is embracing Twitter and rightfully so, it is a very powerful tool. But while the industry has jumped in with both feet, I’d like to take a moment and discuss the role of Twitter in PR.

Disclaimer: Six months ago I didn’t even think PR folks needed to use Twitter, so take the following comments with a grain of salt. Six months from now, I may have a different opinion entirely, but this is how I feel today. Time will tell if I’m right. Also, I’m a tech PR guy, so the following is about tech PR folks. Your mileage may vary.

Transparency – PR folks should be tweeting for the company’s they represent, BUT this means that PR needs to become company spokespeople. We should not be tweeting for other, if PR folks are tweeting it should be under their name or the company name – it should not be done as the company CEO or other executive. We can write quotes, speeches, and articles for execs, but on ongoing conversation (which is what Twitter is) should not be ghost written.

Value – add some. ‘RT@otherPRperson NYTimes article’ is NOT of VALUE. RT is valuable way to pass on a piece of info. But if over half your tweets are just RT of popular news article. You are not being helpful.

Relevant – This doesn’t mean that everything needs to be about your company or about the industry in which they operate. It means that I don’t care if you are just leaving work at 8 p.m., and I’m not so interested if you are watching the Red Sox game. 140 characters is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t tweet just to tweet. Odds are you are not being missed if you’re not tweeting every few minutes.

Interactive – This is a conversation. Provide thoughts, ask questions and don’t just tweet – you should also include blogging and replying to blogs as a part of your social networking experience. 140 characters is an interesting limit, but shame on you if all your thoughts can be captured in that limited space. You can’t be that dull. Get involved.

Steve Farnsworth provides some very good advice on his well read blog most notably comparing tweeting to a conversation as a cocktail party. No one will want to talk to you or follow you if you’re uninteresting or boorish (or self-indulgent).

Speaking of self-indulgent, that reminds me that I need to tweet this blog entry. This brings me to my final tip.

Think for yourself – there is a lot of social networking advice out there. Take it all with a grain of salt.

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