Journalists, move over. Companies and organizations breaking news via a tweet is the new “normal” of public relations, media relations, and social marketing.
When SEOmoz announced the rebranding move to just “Moz”, Twitter was part of the social PR strategy from perception to reality.
Not only did they use Twitter as part of its official news announcement strategy, but Rand Fishkin's Moz team orchestrated a smooth move with its Twitter following and branded handle. On the day of the announcement, @SEOmoz became @Moz with all 217,000+ followers neatly in place and transitioned over.
The Tweet Goes on, Grows up
The 140 character social networking and microblogging service launched in 2006 and is growing up and taking flight. Twitter is now part of mainstream media and an integral player of many organization's news and information cycle whether you're a mainstream media personality, local journalist, small business, personal brand, agency, CEO, or Fortune 500 company.
Twitter is making and breaking news at a pace of 400 million tweets a day with a community of 500 million users 200 million active monthly users with 60 percent accessing tweets via a mobile device.
Websites are now taking a backseat as social media networks offer more control. Since 2010, the number of people who follow a brand or business on a social media network has doubled from 16 percent to 33 percent and is expected to grow to 50 percent in the next year.
A 2013 TekGroup online newsroom survey reports a 45 percent increase of journalists flocking to Twitter with the intentions to follow company news announcements and track follow developing trends.
Twitter PR Tips to Increase Media Coverage
- Make sure to announce news on Twitter at same time as other company news channels.
- Keep your company's online newsroom Twitter-friendly and up to date with fresh content.
- Have an easy landing page showcasing your Twitter stream for easy access.
- Create a Twitter account specifically for news and automatically publish all content from your online newsroom. You'll reach one in 10 journalists that way!
- Upload an image with a news tweet to stand out in the Twitter feed.
- Optimize news with relative trending hashtags, keyword here is relative.
- Avoid abusive hashtag highjacking, using a hashtag in a tweet that has no relation to the hashtag subject or event matter. Beware: this can seriously backfire and potentially cause severe reputation management problems.
- If you haven't already done so and start monitoring activity via a platform such as Tweetdeck.
- Be selfless and helpful. Interact with the media when you don't need them by favoriting some of their tweets, congrats on a success or share information they might be interested in that has nothing to do with you.
Speed Pitching, Better Than Speed Dating?
While Twitter is known to be the fastest social network to break news, it can also allow for speed pitching with the media via direct messaging or @messaging reporters tidbits of story ideas.
Even though 90 percent of journalists say they still prefer email as the primary way to receive company news, nothing beats the instantaneous gratification of a direct message with a reporter via Twitter.
Check out a Twitter pitch by Lisa Grimm, PR Media Director at space150, that resulted in media coverage. (Warning, this typically works best when there is a relationship already established.)
Twitter Cards Hand out Engaging, Visual and Lead Gen Power Play
Pick a card, any Twitter Card. What started out as a character only text-based microblogging service with little visual opportunity, Twitter is dipping a tweet into the visual social media world. A plus for brands and marketers investing time and resources to visual images in blog posts and web pages.
Twitter Cards helps to richly represent content within tweets across the web and on mobile devices. This visual-oomph gives users greater context and insight into the URLs shared on Twitter, which in turn allows Twitter to send more engaged traffic to your site or app.
There are eight card types that can be attached to tweets, each of which has a beautiful consumption experience built for Twitter's web and mobile clients:
- Summary Card: Default card, including a title, description, thumbnail, and Twitter account attribution.
- Large Image Summary Card: Similar to a Summary Card, but offers the ability to prominently feature an image.
- Photo Card: A Tweet sized photo card.
- Gallery Card: A Tweet card geared toward highlighting a collection of photos.
- App Card: A Tweet card for providing a profile of an application.
- Player Card: A Tweet sized video/audio/media player card.
- Product Card: A Tweet card to better represent product content.
- Lead Generation Card: The most recent addition to Twitter deck of cards, allows users to share their emails with brands in a tweet.
Prediction: Twitter will Switch to Display Media by Default
Should brands need to be red alert? One industry expert says yes.
“Within 12 months, Twitter will flip the switch to display pictures, video, and associated web content in an effort to compete with media heavy rivals such as Facebook. Currently they are collapsed, hidden behind links such as View Media or View Photo or View Summary,” predicts Jeff Cohen, MDG Advertising's Director of Social Media.
Tip: If you use PitchEngine, your tweets will automatically render with Twitter cards! Tweet from a Pitch and it'll render a summary in the Twitter feed - check it out.
Twitter Timing is Everything
Let's face it, social media is time consuming and can easily result lost producivity, effort and resources. Getting the most visibility, publicity and exposure is key with any social media network, so taking timing into consideration will leverage maximum.
Timing can make a difference and Dan Zarrella studied timing in his recent book “The Science of Marketing”. He reported that:
- Tweeting later in the day gets a higher click-through rate than mornings.
- End of the week tweets get more clicks than Monday to Wednesday tweets.
- Weekend are made for tweeting and get higher CTR - tweet it out and see.
Timeout: The Twitter timing gospel this is definitely not. If anything, use Zarrella's findings as a starting point or inspiration to see the times that work best for your brand's Twitter news stream.
Hot Twitter Apps and Platforms
Making our lives easier and creating a better content experience for our followers, isn't that what we strive or? Ok so maybe not in that order, but both are important.
- Followerwonk: If social growth is your focus, this Moz app is worth checking out with a free version so no excuses and all wins. Followerwonk helps explore and grow your social graph with Twitter analytics to find, optimize and analyze for maximum social growth
- Twitterfeed: Part of the bitly family, this free tool makes it a no brainer to tweet the last posts published in a blog via the RSS feed.
- Buffer: You're new twitter content strategy friend! Buffer makes it super easy to automagically share posts for you through the day.
Getting the most out of Twitter without Twitter getting the most out of you is a daily challenge for consumers, journalists, media and brands small and large. But following Twitter best practices can ease the pain and increase the exposure rate.
It's no secret, the tweet goes on with or without you.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!