Is Twitter really the right tool for PR?

In a former post – What’s in for B2B marketing in Twitter? – I was making a reference to Matt Rhodes listing 8 ways to use Twitter for PR in its post “How to use Twitter for PR“:

  1. Tracking
  2. Monitoring
  3. Live-reporting
  4. Journalism
  5. Activism
  6. Public Relations
  7. Political
  8. Communications
  9. Crisis Communications.

If, I do agree on the first two and the last one, I’m skeptic as of the others.

  • Live reporting and Journalism: well 140 characters might be a little short to do this. It’s barely headlines -just like the one scrolling at the bottom of TV News show –  that is all title effect and no much meet to feed on.
  • Activism and Political use of Twitter: I guess recent use of Twitter by the democrats is a good sample of Activism. To me it is more an application of a communication to early-adopters and a project communication to a group, that is focused, short term, rooted in time. I’m not sure the link with the large-scale group can really survive the project. The link to the early adopter group will likely stay.
  • Communication and Crisis management: understanding communication as basic way to send messages then yes, Twitter is one way to route short messages.. Crisis management seems to have happened lately a few time. Same use as SMS here but with wider audience and Web relaying.

It’s pretty basic to say so as it is always the case in marketing, but with Twitter, one needs to know the group being targeted and it’s interest in order to send the right short messages and maintain the link. But this is not enough: Twitter is a new tool and as reported by Marketing & Innovation Blog in this post (french content) – Twitter, un outil à manier avec précautions… Cas pratique ! – there are really two main profiles in Twitter’s followers:

  • fierce Twitter users: they are early adopters, well versed in Twitter etiquette and requiring real personal content,
  • occasional users: they twitt from time to time in addition to email and other social media tools, mainly testing it.

In this post, Marketing & Innovation Blog is giving real feedback on a communication campaign having used Twitter as one of the tools to promote a buzz. In this campaign, including the Twitter fierce users in the target revealed to be a bad move. They perceived the communication as SPAM, not following the rules and reacted to it strongly. This category of Twitters users being versed in Web tools, the net reacted as a soundboard and amplified the negative feedback.  Targeting error lead to missed operation. – See at the end of Marketing & Innovation ‘s post their suggestion for avoiding this type of mistakes.

So bottom line, I think Twitter is really interesting in monitoring a brand, in testing an idea, in maintaining a link with early adopters (testing an idea, beta testing) and also for time limited and project oriented short reporting. In my opinion, Twitter is not the right tool for PR in term of reaching an open-wide audience and real time must always be handled with care.

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4 Responses to Is Twitter really the right tool for PR?

  1. Kashif Aziz says:

    Have recently used Twitter to aggregate the proceedings of Long March in Pakistan:

    http://twitter.com/longmarch09

  2. […] Thinking Bamboo Blog comments on whether Twitter really is the right tool for PR. (From: […]

  3. […] Thinking Bamboo Blog comments on whether Twitter really is the right tool for PR. (From: […]

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