Week 5 – Twitter

So last we week held part of class via Twitter. Rather than meeting in the same classroom we essentially blew the doors off our classroom and had a great discussion about class content by Tweeting.

Do two things this week –  explain to me how companies can use this strategy to connect with consumers and how as PR practitioners we need to write clearly and succinctly to be effective.We talk quite a bit in class about the essential elements of good PR writing, but with so few characters how are we able to send a clear message that is still professional?

It is vital to include the importance of writing into your responses since this is a PR writing course!

  One thought on “Week 5 – Twitter

  1. October 3, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Greetings!

    This week, chapter seven heavily discussed design and formatting for PR practitioners. I’d like to take some of the design principles mentioned in our text and relay them to writing tweets. I believe that basic design principles are equally applicable to writing online tweets. Perhaps you disagree? Let me explain.

    I love the statement made on pg.127 in our book. “It should come as no surprise, then, that design seems to be foreign to most of us.” Hmm…that sounds about right! Take out the word [design] and insert [tweeting] and the meaning remains the same. Have you ever seen those tweets that make you turn your head saying, “huh?!” For example:

    RT #somanytweets @supercali smh tysm (#cute #happy #smile #self #howboutNO) #pagirockcrew )

    Um…yeah…not entirely sure what that tweet is saying whatsoever. Are you as confused as I am? If the average 20-something-year-old college student can’t seem to figure out what a tweet is saying, how can we expect (and I mean this is the sincerest form) less technically-savvy middle-aged followers to comprehend the tweet either? The answer? Well, we can’t. This is why it is absolutely vital for companies to speak the language of consumers. I’ve learned that companies need to bypass the technical jargon and forego company syntax in an effort to reach their target audience in the most precise manner. We as PR practitioners have to learn the steps to a rather tricky song-and-dance that balances staying up to par on the “techiest” of technology while simultaneously presenting ideas in a clear fashion. “But make no mistake, whether the publication is internal or external, its design requires careful planning” (126).

    So what’s a PR practitioner to do? I was surprised that our text claims that business professionals can get by with a relatively meager understanding of basic design principles. When a company is large enough to employ its own design team, this statement is relatively accurate. Those basic design principles are balance, proportion, sequence, emphasis, and unity (130). Again, I’m taking what we are learning about design and applying it to the design of our tweets. With 140 characters or less, this is by no means an easy feat. But, if we pay careful attention to the purpose of our tweets and remain in close contact with our objectives of each tweet, composing the perfect message is in fact possible. Let’s say I work for Kodak. On Friday, I was informed that Monday marks the launch of a 15% off sale on all purchases. I’m told the offer is only valid through the following Friday. My job is to tweet the sale. Here are some examples that utilize what we’ve learned as design principles applied to the formatting of a tweet.

    My tweet onMonday: 15% All purchases this week only! Coupon code Less4more #dailydeals

    Tuesday tweet: Sale going strong, %15 off all orders this week only! #hotdeals

    You get the point. On Friday I could post something like “Final day of %15 off sale, order today and save #$$$”

    This is by no means the perfect way to market a company via twitter but, hey, I’m still learning! I’m excited to learn more about composing tweets. I’m especially looking forward to learning how to link all of a company’s social media accounts together in order to generate the biggest bang for its buck…er…tweet? One of the niftiest aspects of twitter is that as a professional, the ball is really in your court. It all depends on what you make of it. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s hard to receive feedback with social media. The important thing is to not give up and keep trucking along. Happy tweeting!

    -Kristen

    • October 3, 2012 at 3:42 am

      I love how you structured this post, by taking what we learned about design in this week’s lesson and applying it to tweet composition. It’s very true that you can use the same concepts.

      It’s definitely important to speak to your consumer in your tweets, just like you have to keep them in mind when you make a design. (TARGET AUDIENCE, right??? If there’s one thing I’ll take away from these PR classes it’s to always remember your target audience.) If you’re Tweeting for a company like Gain cleaning products, you definitely don’t want to use a lot of hashtags and twitter jargon… if you think your customer base is going to understand that stuff, you’re definitely not in-tune with your audience. It’s just like when Gina mentioned how Comic Sans font is inappropriate for a professional audience. If you think your client is going to be okay with all of your documents being typed in Comic Sans… you’re not in-tune with your audience!

      By the way, I have to know: Did you make that crazy tweet or did you find it??

      • October 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Kristen, I loved reading your post! There was so much good stuff in there. I think that there is a sort of “youth-pop culture” forming around the very flawed tweet that you made an example of. It was hilarious trying to read that thing. Well I am no pro tweeter, but it is clear that tweets like the one you showed, or those that contain just a few of the flaws it showcased, are toxic to the nature of PR. They turn people off. Just like you stated, even the small tweet requires planning, we can never just shoot them off. I included this link in my post, but it’s still pretty good. Even without the rest of the article, the bulleted list alone is enough to make this a valuable piece.

        http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/technology-web/2012/02/03/science-behind-good-tweet/

        And I agree, I want to learn more about combining all of an organization’s social media to create a “Uni-voiced” PR machine!
        Thanks for the cool post!

      • October 4, 2012 at 3:17 am

        Krystal, that was an actual tweet I managed to stumble across! Can you believe it?! Thanks for bringing up Comic Sans–if you’re using a funky font for your business you might as well use “Kristen ITC” because quite frankly, it’s childish!

    • chelseafenwick
      October 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Kristen,
      I thought it was really funny on what you said about the use of so many hashtags! This is so true when I read something that the hashtags seem to take up more writing than the actual tweet. This is not solely to twitter, but facebook now as well! It seems to be more of a “huh” than an actual status like you said. I think especially now you have a younger crowd getting on twitter and it seems they just like showcasing their own name or using an excessive amount of adjectives. Which is just plain silly!

      • October 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

        Paul & Chelsea,
        You both have quite reasonable points. Whether small tweets or facebook posts, all of our writing needs to be as clear as possible. I think the simplest way to do this is by down sizing.

    • October 4, 2012 at 1:38 am

      Kristen,

      I have to start off by saying your example of a crazy Tweet is perfect, I laughed so hard at it. No offense to the people who regularly tweet, but that’s how I feel what the average Tweet looks like to me. I also like how you mention the book and where they talk on design, because to me, most Twitter lingo is foreign. This is something I have been trying to change, because like you said, it’s vital to speak the language of the consumer, and I think it’s commonly overlooked by many organizations.

      I was also shocked on what our book said on how I can make it by with just knowing the basics, but I do think its semi-true. You could just make it by with the basics, but they do not state how long you would be employed, or how could the quality of your work would be effected. I also figured that the book is possibly a little out dated too.

      • October 4, 2012 at 3:20 am

        Completely agree Justin–most twitter lingo is indeed foreign. I think it’s best to keep the hashtags between friends. Companies need feedback and a hashtag just doesn’t seem to cut it.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      I like how you went though and did a week of marketing via Twitter, very cool, and i think you did a good job! I love when companies offer sales or offers only through social media, like a flash sale to only people who happen to see it on Twitter, it makes me feel special like i’m in a secret club. Also I feel like it gets people talking and as we know word of mouth is the best kind of marketing! I feel like when i get a sale that is only for twitter followers i am more likely to tell people because they may not know, which leads to them following the company on twitter.

  2. October 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

    First of all, I just want to say that I think tweet-ups are super fun. I’m really glad that we learned how to do them in last year’s Social Media class and I’m glad that I got the chance to use what I learned again for this class. It’s good to be able to have a quick discussion with a ton of people on a particular topic. They definitely take some getting used to but I think they can provide one with valuable information.

    As far as companies go, tweet-ups and twitter chats are a great tool for getting direct responses from consumers. I would imagine that on Twitter a lot of the feedback that companies get on a daily basis is either praise or a complaint, but nothing of real depth. In a moderated Twitter-based discussion, whoever is tweeting out on the company’s end can ask questions and get more pointed and direct responses. It’s a quick and easy way to have an actual conversation with consumers and find out what they want, what they think, and where to go next.

    It goes without saying that on Twitter messages need to be really concise. These days everyone is so distracted (I’ve checked my email three times and Facebook…. more than that…. Just in the time I’ve been writing this out) by a million other things and other people’s messages that you really need to get YOUR message out before they move on to someone else’s.

    You can be concise and professional by avoiding a million hashtags (including those random trending topics…), getting directly to what your consumers are expecting and being ACTIVE. If you tweet more often you don’t have to worry about trying to fit a ton of info into one Tweet. Pace yourself!

    • October 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Krystal, about those tweet ups. Whew! That first one we did in Gina’s social media class was a little overwhelming for the Social Media New Guy = Me. But after is all was done, I liked it. I think that it is a little easy to get swept up in the conversation at a given point and get behind, but if you’re vigilant, it’s great! One aspect of the Twitter discussion is that often they are held during live events. How cool is that? An organization can communicate with its publics while an event or big release is happening. No longer do we have to answer questions AFTER an event has taken place, we can be active during it.

      I also totally agree with the depth and type of information that a real time discussion brings. I think that the information gleaned that way is super valuable.

      p.s. I checked my email/Facebook between reading your post and Kristen’s thus further proving your theory about us all being too distracted.

      • October 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

        My homework takes me like at LEAST three times longer than it should haha.

    • October 4, 2012 at 12:59 am

      I really don’t love twitter just yet, but maybe with some practice playing around on the site, I will begin to. I definitely need to take the social media class, I need some help with a lot of the new sites that are out there. I did like the twitter chat we did for class once I understood how simple it actually was to sign on and participate. They are simple and convenient and save a lot of driving time! I agree with you that it is a good idea for companies to have tweets and twitter chat for feedback and it is probably a good thing responses are limited to a certain number of letter characters because that way people can’t ramble on and on, whether it’s positive or negative feedback, that can get redundant and annoying. Social media makes it so simple to get information out to large amounts of people very quickly. It would be silly for businesses not to take advantage of these tools. I definitely agree with you about all the distractions in today’s society, with the amount of social media and technology that is accessible today. It is difficult to focus on one thing at a time because there is so much going on. I also agree with you on not being annoying with posting a million hashtags and post every 5 minutes. Less is often more. You can get your point across more effectively and without bothering people by posting all of your information just a little less frequently.

  3. October 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Well Twitter is yet another tool that I had never tried until last year’s class with Gina. While I am certainly no pro with it yet, I totally see its value and the huge array of publics that can be reached with it. I did a little web perusing to try to find articles on how businesses use twitter as a part of their overall strategy. One site I found contains an article called “4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business”, and I thought it was very insightful.

    Here is the link if you’re curious:
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2009/03/4-ways-companies-use-twitter-for-business.php

    Anyway, the article really breaks it down well, and the first way businesses use twitter is to speak “directly” to all of us consumers, “Some companies are using Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel, much like an extension to their corporate blogs.” This type of tactic will promote new products/services and allow the company to have an efficient, direct line to promote itself to interested people.

    Another way twitter is used by businesses is through the employees. This may seem a little more human than a “corporate” tweet. By hearing real employees stories via post, the public may see a more identifiable organization. Of course there is the risk of negative tweets getting out there, especially if you hire-out your social media accounts (right Chrysler? http://www.socialnomics.net/2011/03/14/chrysler-fires-agency-over-f-tweet/)

    There are other methods such as conversing and internal communication, but I feel that the previous two are more regularly used.

    So if a company is going to tweet as a part of its social media campaign, they may as well do a really good job or not do it at all right? Well you should definitely check out this link:

    http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/technology-web/2012/02/03/science-behind-good-tweet/

    This article has a bullet-ed list that contains great tips on how to keep your twitter appropriate, high quality, and effective. We need to remember to keep our tweet’s message in mind at all times, be concise, be a part of the conversation that is taking place TODAY, and explain anything you link out to. These are all important things to keep in mind when we tweet. We as PRs will have a large part of the tweeting responsibility, and if we know how to use it well, we can create invaluable relationships with some of the online public.

    • chelseafenwick
      October 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Paul,
      Great post! I definitely see the need for a great social media person in charge becuase like you stated earlier, twitter can really turn people off. I noticed in thehttp://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/technology-web/2012/02/03/science-behind-good-tweet/ link that it really holds up to what a great twitter page or professional twitter should look like. First off, “that old news is no news” and “keep it short and simple or be to the point.” There really is a science to twitter not only now but in the future. There will be so many more sites or tools that will create new webs of social media, this is just the starting point! So the better it is laid out for companies and small businesses now, the better it will be for the future.

    • October 4, 2012 at 1:37 am

      Paul,

      I looked over the first article you posted, 4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for business, and thought to myself if this is on the internet, then how is it that companies still fail when it come to using Twitter? This article is great; it is short and very helpful. I really liked the section on the inbound signaling where they said some companies just use search tools like search.twitter.com or desktop applications like Tweet Deck, so that the company can keep what’s being said on Twitter about them an its product. After I read this, I got the feeling that this is how many companies work when it comes to Twitter. I do like when big companies have their employees tweet because of the human factor. I really dislike when companies use Twitter and really have no idea what they are doing.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:33 am

      Being an identifiable organization definitely gives the company one step up from those who are not involved in social media, or do not use it properly. Chrysler is definitely a company that is widely known of, and as they begin to use social media correctly, the consumers see that. The link you posted about Chrysler outsourcing work is pretty effective in showing companies why it is so important to bring people from the inside to do the job of connecting with the consumers. http://www.socialnomics.net/2011/03/14/chrysler-fires-agency-over-f-tweet/
      Outsourcing work like social media seems like such a scam to me! If I decided to follow a certain company, I would certainly want to hear right from them what they have to say, instead of someone from the outside who may not be completely sure of what they are talking about. Not only that, but so many people would be willing to do that job as an inside source, which is the worst part. I am so glad that Chrysler fired the employee who tweeted that post- not only was it inappropriate, but rude! No matter what situation you are in, you have to remember that you are reflecting that company wherever you post (under whatever account!) and you need to always reflect the company in what you do- you are a representation of them!

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:53 am

      Great post! Hey if you want more great Twitter articles, Ragan Communications is always posting better ways to utilize it for your company. I really like that you brought up the Chrysler chrisis. This goes to show that what we say, how we say it, and our ethical values as PR pros are extremely important. I feel bad for Chrysler actually. Because ONE employee, who technically worked for the agency not Chrysler, made a bad move all of Chrysler is getting the blame. At the same time, I think we should be putting a lot of blame on the agency. This also brings to light the idea that all employees at an organization are PR pros in some way. Whereas most employees might not always speak positively about their company, the real probem exists in situations like these when the employee speaks negatively.

    • jdotson8
      October 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      I think a lot of people in Gina’s classes, ours especially, have had issues starting out with Twitter. It takes a while to get used to, but once you know the tools of the trade, you’ll know it like the back of your hand.

      It’s great when a company has knowledge of Twitter, has someone who really uses it well, and someone who definitely knows how to Tweet in a professional manner. I’m sure that a lot of companies get tweets complaining about service. Tweets may be the modern-day phone call. Companies should handle it with class, but sometimes things can get out of hand. You may see the occasional tweet blasting the person back, or a controversial statement meant to be on the person’s personal Twitter and not the company’s. Whoever runs a company Twitter better be smart. They don’t want blood on their hands.

  4. October 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Once I got used to the idea of class in a twitter chat room, I liked it. Social media is so prevalent in today’s society, so much so, that everyone in the business field, especially the PR field, should become acquainted with the various aspects of social media. I think companies could use this strategy to connect with consumers by actively using their twitter accounts and promoting these accounts on all of their other social media sites to inform consumers how to join and become a part of their companies twitter world. They could entice consumers by offering some sort of discount or depending on the nature of the company, some type of give-a-way or something that benefits the consumer in a positive way, to ensure the loyalty of the consumers signing up or “following” the company on twitter. The companies could post new projects and ideas they are working on or currently involved with to get feedback from consumers and help better their company ways. Feedback is super important and will help a company tremendously in moving forward and improving their brand. PR practitioners definitely need to write clearly and concisely to be effective because after all, majority of the time, writing is the main focal point of our career. Although there are many different aspects of PR and many career options available, writing is a must have skill. It is definitely challenging to get your point across via twitter because of the fact you are only permitted to use such a small amount of characters. In a way it is a positive challenge because it forces you to be clear and concise with what you want to say. It is good practice for a PR practitioner to use twitter because it will prevent you from babbling incessantly and you will be forced to get right to your point. The way you present and lay out your writing is so important because your skill of writing is your most valuable asset in the PR field. It is extremely important that you are able to be professional, yet concise and still be able to get your complete point out to consumers.

  5. chelseafenwick
    October 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I have always enjoyed tweet ups and I think they are super useful. I know I have learned quite a bit on just the class ones I have participated in. I do think in the future we will have even newer tools/outlets that might even make things shorter. In other words more like a headline and that is it! I think honestly it really is about being really concise and short n’ sweet. If you can grab the attention of the audience by the subject line then you can have them hooked. I see some of my friends who have 10,000 followers on twitter because they are very good at not posting too much but also enough to keep people’s attention. (Like a few times a day rather than every hour). I also think witty/clever articles or posts make for a great following. I think companies will succeed better if they write clever and up-to-date information. PR practioners can also follow this idea and make it simple yet attention grabbing. Many companies are starting to understand this. I see a lot of companies figuring out the basic key elements to social media and I think it’s great!

    • October 4, 2012 at 12:29 am

      I actually am just starting to learn more about twitter from this class, I have had a twitter account for quite some time now but never use it. I never really saw the point of twitter unless you are a celebrity or something and the world cares what you’re doing every second of the day. It’s so much different than Facebook because on FB, you can post photos and videos and just be a lot more active on it. I am starting to see some of the positives of twitter now though. I never quite understood why it was so limiting with the number of word characters allotted and I always wanted to type more so I would get frustrated but now I’m seeing that it is actually great practice for PR practitioners because it forces you to do your job correctly- by writing clearly and concisely while still getting your points across. I agree with you that if you can grab the attention of an audience with just a short line, that you are doing your job to the fullest, and as simple as it seems, it is actually quite difficult. Social media is ‘where it’s at’ in today’s business world and all companies need to be familiar with it. It is the main source of communication for younger people and even a lot of the older generations are getting involved as well. Though it can be challenging getting used to new things, it is necessary to be successful in today’s world. Everyone should take advantage of the resources we have. Though it is cliché, the possibilities really are endless.

      • October 4, 2012 at 4:34 am

        I think it is important to separate the purpose of the tweets. For example, I think the individuals who have followings of thousands of people do need to include short witty and sometimes controversial things in their posts. However, for a company, I think sometimes less in this area is more. I think, as a book has discussed, that it is all about the message you are trying to send about your company. For example, some companies are trying to send messages that they are young, in-touch or humorous, and these are companies that need to use this wit factor to their advantage. However, some of these companies use tweets to convey very important information to their customers and for those people it may be difficult for customers to separate the witty or sarcastic from the important information that they need their customers to received. In the end, it all comes down the message a companies is trying to send both about itself and the products or service it is selling.

  6. October 4, 2012 at 1:36 am

    When I first received the email saying that we were having class through Twitter I was actually nervous, because I am not a big twitter user, and that this would only be the second Twitter chat I have ever participated in. Needless to say, I watched the YouTube video on how to use twitter chat, and to my surprise, chatting with this format was actually fun.

    Like I said earlier, I participated in one other Twitter chat before the one in our class, it was for a video game company called Activision. The company was making an upcoming game, and used Twitter to get feedback and ideas from fans on what they would like to see in the game. It was also a main form of advertising and creating “hype” for the game. What I really liked about this particular company’s strategy (use of Twitter) is that it made me feel like my opinions mattered. They answered every question or concern I had with honest answers. They made consumers feel like he/she was talking to an actual human and not an automated machine. It made me actually connect with the company, as where other companies rely on Twitter to market their product.

    When it comes to writing on Twitter, you have to be precise and clear, but through this experience, I learned that I could be a little more casual with my thoughts. I’m not saying that one should use internet slang such as “LOL’s” and “BRB’s”, or use a hash tag 50 times out of your available 140 characters; Just make it seem like you are there from more then just marketing, advertising, surveying, etc.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

      I like your point about casual writing actually providing a better experience. Obviously there is a line you can cross, like with your LOL’s, but I think you are definitely right about it being appropriate in certain environments. Now Gina might disagree, but we shall see. This got me thinking about writing for different audiences. In a way, Twitter has a different audience then a blog would. I mention this because during our class discussion on design I thought a lot about a flyer I designed specifically for kids. When you have an audience that communicates at a more informal level, you need to meet them at that level, while still keeping a balance of professionalism.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:23 am

      I have never had a twitter chat with a company before, but from what I have heard (and from what you have said) it is awesome that there are people there all the time responding quickly to questions and answering questions honestly. I hope to get this response when I have my first twitter chat with a company.

      I definitely agree with the fact that Twitter makes you realize that you have to be clear and concise, which is what we have to do as PR practitioners, so it is a good way to get used to using our words wisely. You are write in saying that we need to come off more than just a company that is marketing or selling, we need to show that we care about our customers, that we can connect and take in what they have to say. I am curious about the boundaries when it comes to being professional, and cutting down the characters when tweeting. I have looked up several articles to try and find out “tweeting etiquette” trying to find out how to shorten tweets without it being unprofessional. So far I have not found anything specifically dedicated to that, more or less twitter rules in general, but I am sure it is out there.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      I too was very nervous when I got the email that we were going to have class via Twitter. I actually created my account an hour before the chat. The YouTube video was a big help and I was able to participate in the chat without any problem. It went from a daunting task to something that was actually pretty fun.

      As for your Twitter chat with Activision, that is great when companies use social media like that. I too think Twitter has a distinct advantage because it does seem more like a direct communication and I don’t really see that with Facebook, for example.

  7. October 4, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Unfortunately I was unable to attend the live Twitter version of class. This was a shame too since I consider myself Twitter inept. Either way I have seen examples already of organizations using Twitter and live YouTube events to open up the learning experience. We talked in class about United Way hosting a Twitter chat during a broadcast. This allowed real time interaction between the organization and its publics, just like a teacher and her students. Lots of TV and radio shows host Twitter chats when their show airs to get the reactions from their audience. I also think of Itunes U when it comes to this whole concept. Teachers, students, and lovers of learning can access credible information free! If companies want to take advantage of another good PR outlet, they should post course information on their topic of expertise.
    Now on to the importance of clear and concise PR writing. The whole point of PR is to communicate with the public. This is the main reason clear and concise writing is needed. First, these days people are constantly being bombarded with information. By providing the need to know facts quickly, people are able to absorb more about your organization than they would if they saw a huge report and decided not to read it at all. Let’s face it, most of us are lucky if we get to skim an entire article. The other reason concise writing is important is due to the limiting factor of most outlets. Social media, and mostly Twitter, limit the length of writing available to get your news out. Clarity is extremely important for PR writing. The communication model shows us that a lot can happen to a message between the sender and receiver. In fact, we learned this in third grade when we played the game telephone. So it is imperitave that we create the clearest message possible, from the beginning, this way it hopefully will not get misinterpreted along the way. Clarity also helps us to follow the golden rule called CYA. By making sure you have complete clarity you can back up your information and avoid any “confusions.”
    – Megan

    • October 4, 2012 at 2:55 am

      I LOVE how you brought up iTunes U. What a great tool! And it’s amazing how far we’ve come that anyone can learn anything they want, for free. We are truly lucky to have such awesome information right at our fingertips. It would be a really good idea for companies to use that and services similar to help educate others on something they are experts in. For example, an automotive company could post content about how various systems in the car work or a pharmaceutical company could use it to educate people about various drugs and illustrate in-depth the pharmacology and mechanism of action for a particular drug… Interesting to think about! They can promote education and their company at the same time.

      • October 4, 2012 at 4:08 am

        Krystal,

        What a great idea! Rather than constantly try to sell and push products and/or services on followers, companies can instead push information. I don’t know about you but I’m interested in how car systems work! This also contributes to the overall consumer experience. Customers like to be informed buyers. Knowledge of a company, service, or product increase brand power within the customer. This builds confidence and trust in a product/company/service. If your consumers feel good about their purchases, they are going to recommend them to friends. If consumers feel close to a company they build intangible relationships that promote company wellness. I think social media is all about strengthening the relationships between consumers and companies and bridging the gap between consumer/company exchange.

        -Kristen

  8. October 4, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Twitter is a great way for people to see what others are up to, what is popular or trendy, and to follow companies, stars, professors or friends. I have not used twitter in the past, and this tweet up was the first time I had ever really engaged with Twitter. Luckily, other students around me were familiar with it, and we were also given the video to help guide us! I probably would have been totally lost without these things. Once I got the hold of it, I really enjoyed being able to use this as another form of communication within a classroom setting! I thought it was fun (probably a little difficult for Gina since there is only one of her) but it was helpful that there were so many students involved, and we could give feedback or interact with what they were saying.

    I think companies can do this the same way, by using tweet ups as a way to gain good feedback from customers in a timely fashion. Many companies who do not do this miss out on the opportunity to have that dialogue, and miss out on the opportunity to give consumers what they want. In the long run, this could possibly be the difference between a good company and a great company.

    In our Social Media course with Gina, we did research on what companies engaged on different forms of social media, and how they used it to better their product. One example that I think embodies the same resemblance of the companies we discussed in class (such as Frito Lays, Oreo, and Tiffany’s) is Mountain Dew. They are constantly holding contests for new flavors, new labels, and asking the consumers what THEY want. They even have several options for social media, such as a Facebook, a Facebook “diet” (for diet mountain dew drinkers), twitter, and other social medias so that people can connect with them. I think these are all great ways that companies can improve their products and company name as a whole. Check out Mountain Dew’s twitter feed: https://twitter.com/mtn_dew.

    • jdotson8
      October 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Good points Rachel. One thing that might be of issue is a company tweet-up. That, I think, largely depends on how many followers the company has that REALLY pays attention to that certain feed. Let’s use Art Van as an example. If Art Van has 10,000 followers but 50 pay attention to that feed like it’s a big part of their Twitter experience and wanted to be a part of the tweet-up, then that might not be so bad. If there were 1,000 people at a tweet-up, it could get out of hand. Who knows how long it would take to respond to each person wondering about something.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      Mountain Dew has used Twitter to it’s best advantage. They are already a very well known company to America and around the world. Using Twitter to it’s full advantage in a tactful way. Connecting to your users on a level where they feel they are in the decision making process is genius. Since Twitter only allows 140 characters at a time, Mountain Dew used the minimum allowed to the full extent.

      @mtn_dew
      DEW Nation, there’s only 24hrs left to cast a vote for your favorite version of the Lil’ Wayne & Mtn Dew spot. #DEWeezy http://www.deweezy.com

      They have involved a celebrity to this contest as well! Also creating a new hash tag, #DEWeezy, very clever.

    • October 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      Rachel, you made some awesome points!

      “Twitter is a great way for people to see what others are up to, what is popular or trendy, and to follow companies, stars, professors or friends.” I think most of us use twitter for those reasons alone. i really don’t think people automatically think to use it for a professional platform or even as a teaching tool.

      “I think companies can do this the same way, by using tweet ups as a way to gain good feedback from customers in a timely fashion. Many companies who do not do this miss out on the opportunity to have that dialogue, and miss out on the opportunity to give consumers what they want.” this statement id sooooooooooo how i feel about companies using twitter or any social media at that. It should be another way in which i the customer can seek help from a company. It should be a more useful customer service we all know how sucking customer service can be, this good for company who are just starting out int he social media world.

      Dee

  9. October 4, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Rachel,

    I thought the same thing about Gina! I can imagine it’s pretty difficult to host an entire tweetup alone. I wonder if companies delegate tweetup managers to increase their span of control during a twitter chat. I’m assuming they do, but I’d be interested to learn how twitter moderators work. I think it’s very true that by utilizing twitter to its maximum potential, companies can transform from good into great. The problem is that there appears to be a relatively fine line between tweeting the right amount and going overboard. Who draws the line though? Based on what we’ve learned in (and outside of) class, the consumer really holds all the power. It’s up the company to respond to such power with effective social media management and online tools/resources. The examples of companies you listed all had one thing in common: they asked the consumer what they wanted…and not just once, but like you said, all the time. What a great base concept to incorporate into a company’s objectives. Always focus on what the customer wants.

    -Kristen

    • October 4, 2012 at 4:25 am

      I completely agree with these comments. The most impressive thing was Gina running the whole tweet up. Like I said in class, I was struggling to keep up only responding to tweets that were directed at my responses or the questions that Gina asked. I can’t imagine having to monitor all of these responses. I think that is a question that I have about all people who monitor social media. Anymore, I think that the monitoring of social media for a major company must be a full time job. I can’t imagine someone monitoring all of the social media for a company whilst doing a paper/desk job at the same time. This comment also raised the question for me of; do companies hire people who specialize in different forms of social media. Are there people who are specialists on only twitter or only facebook? The presence and relevance of these mediums certainly warrants positions dedicated to them.

  10. October 4, 2012 at 4:21 am

    I was able to participate in the tweet class and I was not a big fan of how it ran. However, I was very able to see how this could be used as a vital tool for companies when connecting with their publics. This is one of the ways that twitter has revolutionized the way that companies work in the context of social media. While Facebook gives companies the ability to connect with their audience, twitter allows for “chat” like conversations to occur between an entire public. The part of the class that worked so well is that one question could be posed and members of the entire class could answer and give input. A company doing this gives the ability to pose a question or spark a conversation and instead of having to manage hundreds of small conversations with individuals, they can cater one individual conversation to their purpose. So, not only does this method make the company for effective and efficient, it also makes the flow of information 100 percent consistent.

    Secondly, of course, the most challenging part of using this medium is being succinct and still getting the message across to the audience. The part of the class that I found most challenging was wanting to elaborate on ideas but not being able to fit it in the post. Now, thinking of those posts, the fact that I wanted to or felt the need to elaborate tells me that my initial statement may not have been clear enough. it is difficult to write in this fashion and I think that writing for social media is becoming its own field of study, especially given the presence of the internet in today’s society. We have talked about the ways to write and how to write and what makes a good blog, tweet, post, etc. and I think these short conversations are creating a whole new field of writing.

    • October 6, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      Alex,

      “I was able to participate in the tweet class and I was not a big fan of how it ran. However, I was very able to see how this could be used as a vital tool for companies when connecting with their publics.” We are of kindred spirits i totally agree with this statement. \

      ” the most challenging part of using this medium is being succinct and still getting the message across to the audience.” it is a challenge which is why i feel not every company needs to have social media. Because its difficult for us just as students trying to master it i can only imagine the people who do this every day for a living. I think if and when this medium is successfully mastered it will one be a pr tool dream.

      Dee

  11. jdotson8
    October 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I think that the Twitter class we had was nice. I was able to tweet from home and could relax afterwards. I thought that it was a lot more convenient.

    In terms of ‘professional’ tweets, you don’t want to see a company saying controversial things (which there are many examples of). You’d much rather see a tweet held in a professional manner as if you were talking to that person. For example, if someone tweets about a problem with their phone to their company, you would much rather see them tweet something along the lines of ‘Call this number and we’ll make sure your situation gets dealt with’ than something like ‘Sorry, we have no idea how to help, you’re on your own’. That might be a weak example, but I think you can get my point.

    As for a clear message, a company should tweet something along these lines: (Art Van) – 15% off all name-brand chairs today from 8-8 #artvan #greatdeals. Clear message there… nothing to try to decipher (which can be an issue on Twitter because many people use slang or super long hashtags).

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Joel,

      The Twitter chat was a nice change from having to come to school. It was convenient and also a good way to get used to a fast paced engaging conversation, which is what a lot of companies use today.

      Social media is something that started in the non professional sense. You are right in that a company Twitter should stay professional at all times. Any time there is a “slip” of some sort, I’m sure there is tolerance when an issue like that happens. It’s very important to remain in the “company’s head,” when writing for them. This is something we all have to remember one day. We will be working for a company or be working on a project and we have to stay in the idea of that company’s vision and should not stray away. Just as journalism teaches us to stay neutral, fair and objective. PR is similar in that you don’t bring personal to the writing when it’s for a company.

  12. October 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I personally do not like tweet ups. It’s a great idea if a business is trying to get a message about something new that is going on. example like a sale or a link to a coupon. Twitter is good for if you are having an issue with customer service and you mention the company’s twitter name and the assists you with further help.

    But, as a way of communication i do not like the idea of it. If could be i am also a communication major too. I feel we just keep moving farther and farther a way from person to person communication. Its difficult for instructors to meet needs of each student in the classroom let alone then to move to a social network yikes! Social media has evolved but it does still have its limitations.

    Though i see many annoyance and limitation with social media but what do i know right?

    i stumbled across an article called The Marketing Tactic that Social Media Marketers Often Forget.
    http://www.business2community.com/social-media/the-marketing-tactic-that-social-media-marketers-often-forget-0293064

    these are the key elements i took away from the article:

    1.”Social media marketing cannot be ignored. It is the marketing of the people. Marketing has been democratized. It is “native marketing” that requires no payment to third party channels (such as TV or radio) to promote your business. All you need is the content and the followers on your own social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, to distribute and share your brand message with and of course some marketing tools, skills and resources.”

    2.”That danger is that other marketing strategies, skills and basics are forgotten or ignored in the glare of social media’s buzz and popularity.”

    Totally agree social media has become very popular but not every business needs it because some are just doing it off the buzz of other success. Each company should way the pros and con before joining the social media world.

    I’m slowly not liking social media because some companies do social media well while some don’t or the have paid promotional tweets. They don’t put the work in to because success and connect with the needs of their customers. Why have social media outlets and not use them if your page is just field with complaints. then that aspect of social media is a fail because you may just be a great company but you social media outlet say something different. These outlets should help make you more well rounded a company for the people it should hinder you your business. Not say no company should ever have anything negatively said about them because there will always be negative.

    There is a lot of trial and errors when it comes to business taking that the plunge into social media. But i think companies should keep at it don’t like these outlets just sit and go unused keep trying or simply disable the pages till you can handle these outlets.

    When you have a 140 characters it is hard to clear and to the point yet get the right message across. I think the best solution is to link thing out in tweet give a short description then provide a link to your company’s website or a blog. because you will drive yourself crazy trying to fit it all in a 140 character tweet.

    Dee

  13. October 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Twitter is a growing social media site, gaining new users every day. Companies are jumping on as well because it is another strategy to reach out to a whole new band of users. The difficult aspect of Twitter is the minimum space allowed to send out a message or “tweet.”
    This is a problem I actually came across during our tweet up the other day:

    @KT_SUMMS
    F/U A #prwrite314 Dissonance Theory: ppl tend 2 seek only msgs that match their attitudes. Juxtapose: change minds using dissonant attitude

    I remember having to go back and re-read what I could make shorter, but not too short so that it didn’t make sense.

    This is a new quality of writing that requires listening, learning and understanding how Twitter works. The type of writing a company does for Twitter should be very different than what they post on Facebook or blog about. Social media allows a company to remain versatile and up to date with new users, even though the company name may have been around for years and years before technology.

    Twitter is important for a company to not only share information to their users, but to see and understand what their users are saying about them. The hash tag is a new and genius tactic. Like Kristen said it has become over used and silly for the everyday user. For a business as big as #Starbucks or #Ford, people are talking about them in daily tweets. This causes conversation, re-tweets and engagement. These hash tags allow a company to see exactly what users are saying, whether it be good or bad.

    • October 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      I love the hashtag, except when the hashtag is completely pointless. During my internship now the intern running the social media sometimes uses these “awful hashtags” and I just cringe when i’m interacting with our company twitter, I feel bad saying this but hey its the truth. This leads to your next point… conversation, companies need to have conversation which can be followed through a consistent hashtag which is hard when a company has a billion hash tags. The hashtag is in my opinion the best part of Twitter, as long as it is not abused.

  14. October 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I first just want to say that I LOVED! our class via Twitter i thought it was both super cool and fun! I think that companies are now more often then not using Twitter to connect with their consumers. By using Twitter companies are now able to connect with their fans on a personnel level, people can follow their favorite companies or people and see what is going on every day. I’m always scrolling though my Twitter feed to see what companies are doing what, and I’ve found that their are even special offers for people who follow and actively participate on social media.

    PR professionals need to be “short and sweet” for many reasons but mostly I feel like people now do not want to read a lot of words to get information. Time is money in the world and no one wants to read a novel when they can get the same information in a few sentences. This is why I think people like Twitter so much, because you have to make it 160 characters.

    I think Twitter is becoming the social media norm, short and sweet yet informative, as well as updating every second. It is everything that people today crave because we need that instant gratification. I am excited to see how the Twitter company relationship evolves over time.

    • October 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      I too loved experiencing class via Twitter chat. It was a great experience and forced me to learn more about Twitter. Since recently joining Twitter, I too see the direct and almost personal connection between companies and their target market. As for the “special offers” companies use, I think this is great. Over the summer, a friend who uses Twitter fairly often told me about this event Faygo was putting on at the farmer’s market right down the road from me in Ann Arbor. We went to the event and got a bunch of free Faygo and got to taste test their new flavors before release. I just thought that was so cool and love when companies do things like this!

  15. October 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Twitter is a PR’s dream come true. It allows anyone the opportunity to directly talk to a company or organizations PR team. Instead of having to go through multiple steps to eventually get your message across, you can do it in 140 characters (more if you double tweet). And vice versa; companies can cut out their middlemen and directly speak with the public via their twitter. With speaking directly, they can give a broad communication, or a personal one, depending on the message; and that’s pretty ‘cutting edge’ (as far as PR goes). Ideally it’s great because PR can communicate immediately to get messages out. However, I’m not sold on Twitter. It’s too easy to create a twitter and yell “You Suck” at a company or organization. And what do you do with that? Do you address it? Ignore it? With everyone being able to talk about you without any control then that could possibly create a problem. Twitter isn’t perfect, but it’s the best available right now. There have been some great strides in the use of twitter as a company tool over the last few years, which is good, but newer technology and communication methods must be developed.
    Being clear is the keystone of communication. If a message is vague or unclear, then its meaning could be lost or wrongly interpreted. And because you are representing an organization, you must make sure that you act, and present yourself in a professional way. There is no room for spelling mistakes or grammar errors; because that reflects the image of whom you work for.

  16. October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Twitter has evolved into a great new tool that companies can use to directly connect with their customer base. As a newcomer to Twitter, I have noticed several advantages that Twitter has over other social media outlets. The main advantage that I see is the direct and almost personal connection. When companies use other social media sites to connect with their customers, it always comes off as a one way channel of communication. Sure, Facebook users can make a comment on a company’s four-paragraph-post but comments are rarely, if ever, responded to and I suspect, rarely read by the company. Since using Twitter, I’ve noticed less of a one way communication style but more of a two way, interactive conversation. This may help companies to build a better and more personal relationship with their customers, if used correctly.

    Being clear and getting to the point is important in all PR writing; when applied to Twitter, it is everything. The character limit on Twitter is the first thing I had to get used to. When we held class last week via Twitter, that was one of the first times I had used the site and learned a great deal about being direct and concise. At first it was a challenge to get all of my ideas into one tweet but once I got the hang of “trimming the fat” I began to see that I was muddying up my message. Companies using Twitter are forced to do the same. In my opinion, this is great for the target market they are trying to connect with because most people are more willing to read 140 characters than a four-paragraph Facebook post.

  17. October 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    This weeks comments make me SO PROUD! You have all made great contributions and really thought about the complexity of Tweeting. So often we are faced with “social media is so easy” yet we know better.

    I just had a conversation about this very topic today and the idea that what we do as practitioners, more so social media practitioners, is easy infuriates me.

    Why then I ask do so many companies fail miserably at it? (rhetorical question)

  18. October 5, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Social media is continuously growing in today’s world of public relations. The advancement in technology has demanded for firms to use sites such as twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. By using social media this helps broadcast the topic or topics to a wide range audience. However, practitioners must learn how to write messages effectively! Writing effectively is key. You must write clear, concise, and to the point. I know many have trouble writing their message in the few characters that are given in the textbox on twitter. Therfore, many have to learn how to break their messafe down to where it fits and has a clear message. Also, the use of hashtags are helpful as well. Hashtags are very helpful when trying to receive feedback from your audience.

    All in all, social media is becoming mainstream in today’s society. Therefore, pr practioners must learn how to become savvy with sites such as twitter and Facebook. Also, the importance of writing a clear and concise message is key.

  19. October 5, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Social media is continuously growing in today’s world of public relations. The advancement in technology has demanded for firms to use sites such as twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. By using social media this helps broadcast the topic or topics to a wide range audience. However, practitioners must learn how to write messages effectively! Writing effectively is key. You must write clear, concise, and to the point. I know many have trouble writing their message in the few characters that are given in the textbox on twitter. Therfore, many have to learn how to break their messafe down to where it fits and has a clear message. Also, the use of hashtags are helpful as well. Hashtags are very helpful when trying to receive feedback from your audience.

    All in all, social media is becoming mainstream in today’s society. Therefore, pr practioners must learn how to become savvy with sites such as twitter and Facebook. Also, the importance of writing a clear and concise message is key.

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