Twitter is useful for SME’s, individuals and not-for-profit’s to reach out to their customers, media and industry to share news and interact on subjects of interest.
It is also a great way to ‘break news’ and is often used to supplement traditional media channels for official announcements so add it to your DIY PR tool kit.
If you don’t have a news announcement, you can still interact on Twitter by commenting on a current topic that is trending or post a research question for your followers to answer. You can also upload photos, link to webinars, promote upcoming events and re-tweet relevant and interesting information that other people have posted.
If you have decided it’s time for your business to have a presence on Twitter, then read on to discover top tips for getting started.
1) Sign up!
The first step is to create a Twitter account for your business. It is simple to join and in no time at all you will be up and running. Depending on your preference, you can post tweets under your business name or your own name. Some businesses have multiple accounts for different staff and some have just one for any tweets coming from the business. The choice is yours! You can sign up to Twitter here: https://twitter.com/signup
2) Say it simply
There is a 140-character limit for each post on Twitter. This means you need to get your point across succinctly! A good starting point is to post the who, what, when or where of your news—and add links to your website or online press releases so people have a place to find out further details.
3) Use a social media browser
A social media browser like TweetDeck will help you keep track of conversations and you can post your tweets using this application. It also has an inbuilt URL shortener (via Bitly) so you can make those 140 characters stretch a little further! For more information visit: www.tweetdeck.com.
4) Learn to use Hashtags (#)
Hashtags help you search for topics and keep track of conversations. For example, if you want to tweet about your product add a hashtag after the product name e.g. myproduct# and you will later be able to pull up all comments related to it by searching for myproduct# on Twitter.
5) Follow the media
Follow journalists who write about subjects relevant to your business and re-tweet articles that you find interesting. Over time this can help to build a relationship and will get you noticed if the journalist searches their conversation thread for re-tweets. By following what journalists post on Twitter you may also find opportunities to contribute information to stories they are researching. A simple Google search for ‘Australian journalists on Twitter’ will bring up contacts to get you started. Never spam or ask a journalist on Twitter if they have read your press release or announcement, this is simply not appropriate.
6) Responding to a journalist
If a journalist requests further information via Twitter on news you have posted, reply via Twitter, provide a link to further information if it can be found online, and suggest a phone call for a more in-depth follow up (depending on the nature of the request). The most important thing is to respond quickly and engage with the journalist to assist them where possible. And remember, if you release news via Twitter you need to be on Twitter so you see any requests when they come through and respond in a timely manner.
Twitter is all about interaction and the sharing of ideas. Post your own content and provide comment when an industry conversation steers into an area of your expertise. Twitter can be a great place to network and share information with like-minded people. Follow thought leaders in your area and you may just find that they follow you back.
These are just a few tips to get you started on your Twitter journey. You’ll pick up many more along the way. For further information on using social or traditional media, take a look at PR Guru’s DIY Publicity Guide.