Flipping through the chapters of Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, chapter 15, “Media Relations Modernised,” caught my attention (not only because of the hideous spelling of “modernised..”). Written by Adam Parker, chief executive of RealWire, he discusses the importance of an organization’s social media presence and utilization of the unique communication tools that allow all parts of the organization to engage in relevant conversations (Parker, 129). In the social media world, PR practitioners play important roles, including acting as a “change consultant” and:
- Training different parts of an organization in effective and coherent social media engagement (to ensure associated risks are managed)
- Being aware of broader conversations over social media as a whole
- Responding to any reputation issues, internal or external
- Converse efficiently and directly with publics (Parker, 129)
Though “traditional PR” is still very much alive and necessary for the practice- with personalized email pitches, press releases, print media and face-to-face interactions (who knew someday we’d consider that traditional?!)- PR media relations, or influencer relations (Parker, 130), has been and continues to be modernly revolutionized. With over 80% of journals actively on Twitter in attempts to share their stories more widely with media influencers (Parker, 130), there’s no doubt that interactions on Twitter are shaping some of the most vital conversations and interactions that relate to the media agenda as a whole.
Parker outlines which considerations should be applied in order to participate in and succeed in the professional Twitter environment, and which tools and tactics should be employed.
- Identify relevant media influencers via Twitter (this requires active Twitter participation! After all, it IS 2014).
*I totally agree with this one, even as an “emerging professional” (AKA, PR student). I follow several different PR professionals with careers that I someday will have, as well as PR firms and PR news accounts, all of which give me insight, advice and updates on the ever-changing world of PR.
- Get involved: share information and engage in discussions. Remember: public relations is all about creating and maintaining beneficial relationships!
- Look up current contacts. Media lists, my friends!
- Search: use tools like Twitter Search, Social Mention and Followerwonk to look for people who are relevant to you and your network.
- Use curated lists: Listorious and PeerIndex are sites that list Twitter accounts that have already been grouped into categories. Boom, done. Easy as that.
- Most organizations today use some kind of monitoring system to alert them of relevant mentions of brands, products, topics and/or people when they occur on media outlets’ websites, as well as similar mentions within social media communities (Parker, 132-133).
- Because the more accounts you follow the more congested your news feed will be, it’s important to filter your Twitter updates and activity by groups or topics in order to fully listen and be aware of important activity in your community.
* Twitter productivity tools, like TweetDeck and HootSuite, help you to view updates and streams side by side for easier following and listening. They also allow you to search for specific keywords and create columns on your dashboard or “deck” for categorizing different groups of influencers.
- Connect with influencers that are relevant to you and your community. However, it’s important to note that people with a larger amount of followers than those they follow are unlikely to follow you back. Ouch. If, and only if, they don’t follow you back, two problems arise:
Problem #1: They won’t see your tweets
Problem #2: You can’t send them private direct messages, because doing so requires both accounts to be following each other (hm, is this news to anyone else, or just me?)
Solution: Invest your time by engaging; get to know people you deem important to you and your community or network, and seek out opportunities to engage in conversations (listen and learn!).
If and when an influencer follows you back, it proves that you’ve demonstrated your relevance and investment in that relationship (Parker, 134). Remember: build and maintain!
So, let’s recap.
Twitter is in. Therefore, your professional presence on the social media site is vital. Many key conversations occur on Twitter, and your absence creates potential risk for missing out on that information, opportunities to learn from and join relevant communities, and missing out on playing a role in important pieces of information or updates that could shape an organization’s reputation.
Welcome to the modernized world of media relations, est. 2014. I’d favorite that.