Who are the people in your Twitter-hood?

Using Twitter for PR efforts should not be seen as a suggestion, but rather a necessity.

Now, in no way am I advocating PR professionals join Twitter and start pitching away at any and all journalists they find. This is a bad idea and will get you blocked faster than you can say, “SPAM-a-lama-ding-dong.”

What I find necessary are the useful things about Twitter that every PR person can and should use:

  • knowledge finding
  • personal branding
  • community engaging
  • relationship building
  • idea banking
  • advise seeking

If you keep some of these things in mind, I believe PR people will start to get more out of Twitter than you previously thought possible from this useful application that asks the question, “What are you doing?”

Why do I believe this? Because our organizations or clients are made up of people and not pitches. Todd Defren of PR Squared puts it this way:

In the Social Media era, getting better at Public Relations means getting better at the Relationships, not the Publicity. [emphasis added]

If PR people believe the statement above, then we can be better at putting into practice the statement below:

…public relations builds relationships and creates an ongoing dialogue of interaction and involvement with an organization’s target audiences and those who influence those audiences.

How do you use twitter? Are you using your twitter-hood to its potential?

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School districts could Twitter too

twitterI believe there are useful applications of Twitter (and other microblogging sites) for school districts.

I recently started using Twitter after listening to Geoff Livingston at a Ft. Worth PRSA luncheon earlier in the year. He was helping us understand how to integrate social media into communications plans (and sell a few copies of his book, Now is Gone, which is really an excellent read.)

I became hooked on this online tool. I started noticing many organizations using it as well for various uses (DFW Airport, CNN, Red Cross, etc.) and I began to think that school districts could (and probably should) use this microblogging tool for updates. As more and more people become aware and use social media tools like Twitter, it is imperative that school districts go where the people are to get stories out.

We setup the Mansfield ISD Twitter account and began with a few posts. We were met with mild success so far without much in the way of publicity. The only thing done at first was a soft-launch in the district’s blog. This received a mention in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Education Blog. We even received a nice tweet from a follower.

Our communities are quickly coming around to using new media tools. It is our job as communication professionals to move forward (or in some cases keep up) with the conversation.

So how do you get some Twitter love for your district? Try some of these resources:

I suggest using Twitter to post general (read: useful) happenings, articles, pages, etc. from a district’s Web site. Plus, consider using a “tweet” (yes, that’s really what they are called) to give updates in the event of problems that tend to arise. I’d like to see if others are considering or are currently using Twitter in this way.