Does PR Need Twitter?

According to Twitter, it has 271 million monthly active users and a total of 500 million tweets are sent per day, but how much does Twitter matter when it comes to public relations?

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The average user may only turn to Twitter for personal reasons, to keep up with the news, her interests or friends, so it doesn’t matter how many followers she has or how many people her 140-character messages reach.

On the other hand, Twitter use in terms of PR has a completely different function.

Robert Wynne, PR practitioner in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and contributing writer at Forbes said there are only three purposes Twitter serves for PR professionals and entrepreneurs.

  • Announcements — communicating the brand’s message to the public.
  • Research –- learning the interests of clients, competitors, media and influencers.
  • Networking –- meet new clients, competitors, media and influencers to follow and vice versa.

Twitter, however, is an exceedingly difficult platform to use successfully, he said.

“Like a marriage or the last season of ‘Downton Abbey,’ Twitter takes a lot of time and effort, and there’s some frustration involved,” Wynne said.

It is easy to fall into Twitter’s “hype” trap, meaning that the inactive users, follower bots and other fake accounts create the appearance of success because they increase an account’s number of followers, but these specious followers do not make a campaign or company more influential, Wynne said.

For example, 18.4 million Twitter users follow Kim Kardashian, but of those 18.4 million, 38 percent are fake, and another six million are users with inactive accounts, according to a study by author Andreas Ramos using StatusPeople.com.

If media queen Kim Kardashian and other celebrities and politicians can’t gain an authentic following, how can a startup or new campaign possibly create a successful Twitter presence?

Wynne expressed his disenchantment for Twitter several times throughout the article, but he gives the platform a fair shot, suggesting five crucial tips for those who insist on using Twitter for PR purposes.

  1. Know what Twitter is and how it works.
  2. Research how other PR people use Twitter and develop a strategy.
  3. Learn how to get the right followers.
  4. Decide if your company needs to use a dashboard like Hootsuite and find one that works for you.
  5. Make a game plan for contacting journalists — but know that Twitter isn’t the best way to reach every reporter.

For more in these tips click here.

What do you think of Wynne’s suggestions? Is Twitter a necessary tool for PR?

If you’re on the fence about Twitter’s helpfulness after reading those Kardashian stats, consider Taylor Swift’s latest record, 1984.

She kept fans on their toes as she hinted to different tracks with photos of lyrics, convincing her fans to pre-order the album on iTunes and certifying her latest single “Shake it Off” as platinum all with the help of Twitter, The Washington Post reportsScreen Shot 2014-10-17 at 5.40.14 PM

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