Should CEOs and executives tweet?

May 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

While most in the business community would readily say yes, few if any put this in to practice.

In the recent edition of Boss Magazine in the AFR an article entitled ‘How to avoid social media death’ explored the reticence behind social media adoption and provided a few handy tips on getting started and mastering the art of social communication in the digital age.

According to the article, only four of the top 100 ASX listed companies had CEO or MDs who had an active Twitter presence – News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, Wesfarmer’s Richard Goyder, Bank of Queensland’s Stuart Grimshaw and Atlas Iron’s Ken Brinsden.

As the article rightly points out, social media isn’t just about brand awareness stating that “those who get involved in Twitter and other social media will reap intangible but real benefits from being closer to their customers base and ahead of the curve on emerging trends. They will also have the chance to elevate their personal brand and their company’s reputation by displaying a human face”.

So, why such unwillingness amongst Australia’s key business decision makers? The single biggest obstacle for executives looking to become more socially savvy is having the appropriate social media knowledge, time or technical skills. Too often executives will simply put social media in the too hard basket – “it’s not for me”, “there isn’t any value in it”, “I just don’t have the time to tweet”, “people don’t want to know when I’m brushing my teeth”.

A degree of reluctance is understandable. Social media is not the easiest medium to understand not least of all because of constant state of change, new and emerging tools and the omnipresent risk of doing significant organisational and personal brand damage.

As a Queensland recruiting executive recently found out, it is very difficult to divorce a personal account from your professional career. The recruiter posted abusive messages on Twitter directed at radio personality Wendy Harmer. The executive was forced to publicly apologise and his online ‘spat’ resulted in news coverage across a variety of online outlets.

Through knowledge sharing, training and a companywide adoption, CEOs can ingrain social media into their everyday business thinking and activities.

Social media training should be a mandatory requirement for executives and senior management. It does not necessarily need to be a precursor to establishing a presence but at the very least it will give those who are charged with critical decision making the basic knowledge on how social media can affect a business from sales to thought leadership and everything in between.

Those executives who have mastered the art of social media communication have usually undertaken some form of training or digital eminence course.

Executives can undertake a simple three pronged approach to better understand and utilise social media tools:

  1. Understand the landscape – who is your audience, where are they and what are they saying
  2. Create content that is relevant to the audience – what insight can I provide that will add value to the audience and properly reflect my business and position
  3. Begin to engage with the audience through informed and friendly dialogue, providing personal experience and business insight

Social media is not the natural domain of Australia’s business elite. But those who master it sooner, undertake the necessary training and seek to readily engage with the community, will quickly find a competitive advantage and some very addictive tools!

By Thomas Tudehope social@ogilvy

The Twitter and LinkedIn Breakup

July 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Friday June 29, 2012, will mark the day that LinkedIn and Twitter decided that they are just not right for each other. After a three year relationship starting in 2009, direct integration between the two platforms has ended.

The relationship remains on friendly terms with Twitter users still able to tweet through LinkedIn via the optional ‘Share’ button. The way I see it, LinkedIn is just too mature for typical Twitter content and the younger platform has stated that it wants some space from websites and apps “that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience”. Twitter has announced that new guidelines will be introduced over the coming weeks and they will begin to more thoroughly enforce their developer rules of the road, in relation to Twitters API. Will you be keeping an eye out to see which apps will be on the chopping block?

I believe that Twitter now wants users to read and use Twitter via its own platform, not on third party apps and sites using its API. This is possibly due to that fact that Twitter makes most of its revenue from mobile ads. Twitter also has some 500 million users compared to LinkedIn’s 150 million, who are also most likely on Twitter, which begs the question – do they really need LinkedIn?

Has Twitter simply decided to focus their efforts on someone else more suited to their needs? Twitter continues to increase its Facebook integration with better hash-tag, picture and user name support which was introduced just over a month ago. Twitter “needs” Facebook, the cooler, bigger platform, with over 1 billion active users. Twitter is still utilising the lead generation from Facebook to create awareness of its brand through connected tweets and posts, which have the potential to be seen by half a billion more people.

It seems as though Twitter does not want LinkedIn anymore, maybe it was LinkedIn’s ‘slip up’ where up to 161 million users keys were stolen by hackers, but is this the wisest choice for Twitter? The social skinny points out that every second, two new users join LinkedIn, and that 49% of users have an income over $100,000, cha ching!

As Twitter grows over the coming years, will we see it dump other connections like the new Amex integration program? Perhaps we will see Twitter emerge from the shadows of Facebook where it simply buys its integrated connections if it feels a slight threat *cough* Instagram. Although Twitter wishes to remain pure to its online user experience perhaps removing a relationship with a company which is fast growing after just a short three years will see a missed opportunity of user growth surpass them.

Joel West is a third year public relations and marketing student at the University of Wollongong, currently completing an internship with Social@Ogilvy.

By Joel West.

Twitter-Crazed Tweens: Lessons from One Direction’s Australian Tour

May 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

While One Direction’s Australian tour may not have changed the face of music, it appears they may have changed Twitter as a marketing tool to engage with a rapidly growing youth segment.

One Direction’s recent Australian tour turned into a social media phenomenon, especially for tweens on Twitter – who took to Twitter in droves, professing their unending “advocacy” for the band throughout the month of April.

The traffic on Twitter was huge and it became patently obvious… Tweens love Twitter …and this presents a great opportunity for youth marketers.

An analysis of data drawn form social media monitoring tool, Radian6, clearly showed the impact on social media of One Direction’s Australian tour.  In one short month, here’s what happened:

  • There were 2,061,902 mentions of One Direction (full list of keywords used for this research below)
  • Of these, 2,059,822 occurred on Twitter (99.9% of all conversations)
  • These Twitter mentions achieved 1,557,446,086 Twitter impressions (yes – 1.5 billion impressions)

While a total reach of 1.5 billion on Twitter is surprising, it is perhaps less startling that roughly 50,000 tweets about One Direction also contained the acronym “OMG”.

What’s more, Tweens are uber content creators.  A closer look at Radian6 revealed that 61% of all of conversations were by users under the age of 20 – meaning they were responsible for 1.2 million mentions of One Direction.

When Tweens are on Twitter, they’re really, really active. In the past, we often talk about how the user demographic of Twitter skews older (53% of Australian Twitter users are aged between 35 – 53 years of age). The “One Direction” phenomenon then raises an interesting question – so if only 17% of Australian Twitter users are under the age of 18 (Source:, how could there have been so much conversation from them on the micromedia platform? Just a year and a half ago, US headlines read that youth “prefer Facebook to blogging, Twitter”. How times have changed!
So what exactly does this mean?  It’s a great opportunity for youth marketers – with young users (and tweenage #1Directioners) obviously becoming increasingly active on Twitter, it’s prime time for brands to think about what they will do to engage with these users. What kind of content will they produce? Who will they build partnerships with? And how will it be different?

Some businesses have already cottoned on to this. Two of the most popular hashtags that co-occurred with mentions of One Direction in Australia were Channel Nine’s #TheVoiceAU and Nova’s #SmallzysSurgery. Both were Twitter hashtags that achieved some decent reach by talking about and partnering with One Direction – makes you wonder about the potential of branded content.

And more importantly, will regulations need to be put in place for Twitter in line with the Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications for Children? Facebook has a minimum required age of 13, and there is currently no age requirement to be a member of the platform.

For perspective, there are 22,328,800 people currently living in Australia (a 2010 statistic by the World Bank), 5.7 million Australians under 20 years of age and 1.1 million Australians are on Twitter. That means, in April:

  • If you take the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the entire Australian population, mentions of One Direction would have reached every individual Australian seventy times.
  • If you take the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the entire Australian population under 20 years of age, mentions of One Direction would have reached each individual 273 times.
  • If you divide the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the number of Australians on Twitter, mentions of One Direction would have reached every Australian on Twitter a total of 1,416 times. One thousand, four hundred and sixteen times. Each.

You have to wonder if this means that with all the changes to Facebook, are younger users getting tired of worrying about privacy settings and moving to Twitter? Maybe, but it’s interesting to see how a previously overlooked audience is increasing in size and conversation on Twitter.

So what does this all mean? No one can profess to have all the answers, but as the impact of One Direction’s Australian tour indicates, we have seen an emerging class of Twitter uber content creators, and marketers will have to think about what their progression across multiple social media platforms means for them.

I say…let’s not ‘watch this space’; the smart marketers among us are already engaging with these users and considering their next Twitter strategy.

Keywords used


By Greg Tan.

Cutting through the content clutter

May 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

There is so much clutter out there in the social media space that one day we will combine them all – YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. We’ll call it, YouTwitFace.

Well, that’s what US chat show host Conan O’Brien reckons. He also thinks social media is good for nothing “time waster”.

Sara James, Dateline NBC journalist and MC at the recent sell-out PRIA Women in PR Forum in Melbourne, certainly put his notion to bed. She, in fact, blew it out of the water.

“Social media is not just changing how we report the news, it’s changing the news and the world,” James enthused.

“It’s fair to say that there would not have been the Arab Spring nor would there have been the Occupy movements seen across the world had there not been a world wide web and all the social media devices we count on today.”

Lelde McCoy, founder of the annual event and Managing Director of Ogilvy Public Relations Melbourne, welcomed 250 senior PR professionals to the forum and said that the ever-changing media landscape provides new opportunities for public relations professionals.

“Social media certainly is not new, however the platforms in which it’s delivered and the integration of these platforms into traditional media channels continues to evolve,” McCoy said.

“The Women in PR Forum, now in its eighth year, aims to discuss and provide answers to new issues faced by practitioners and to hear from some exemplary leaders in our field.”

To bring the point to life, on the panel of this year’s Women in PR Forum was Jeffrey Browne, Managing Director, Channel 9 and Linda Bracken, Head Multiplatform and Content Development at ABC Radio.

As consumers turn to the web for their daily news fix, online content is exploding through a variety of platforms including mobile, web and tablet.

Increasingly, we all want a piece of the action – our 15 gigabytes of fame. This is especially true for our clients and brands.

And now, audiences are heading to the web not to check dedicated online news sites, but to check their ‘feeds’ to see what is trending.

Earlier this week, photographs of Michael Clarke’s ‘secret wedding’ were posted by Michael himself on his Twitter page. The next morning, every newspaper in the country was leading with the story – the Herald Sun had it on its front page.

Consumers are actively searching for alternative and authentic sources of instant news and they’re looking to people they trust to provide it – their friends, their networks.

The creation of content and its dissemination through today’s maze of media channels has become an important part of public relations professional’s job, according to the PRIA.

The internet has changed the media landscape and it has certainly changed the job description of the public relations professional.

James explained: “The new media landscape is really the democratization of news. Of news, entertainment and the way we live our lives.

On the web you can find fact and fiction – so you need to be savvy to distinguish what is what. But also, it allows everyone to comment, to have a say and to be heard.”

Asked if the internet made it easier to know what audiences really wanted and who they really were, Nine’s Browne agreed it certainly made broadcasting decisions easier. However, there are a lot of people to listen to and therefore please.

Browne explained: “The Twitter opportunity is the chance to engage the audience in what was a previously static platform and make it a conversation.”

Take, for example, Channel Nine’s The Voice. The show currently has more than 200,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ and during the live shows, garners some 350,000 tweets a minute.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and definitely has contributed to the success of the show,” Browne continued.

“The Voice shows how free-to-air television has caught up. A lot of people think of the medium as an old fashioned medium and that no one is interested – but social media has breathed new life in TV and its audiences.”

Radio has had to adapt too – probably more so, explains the ABC’s Bracken, “Radio obviously has that captive audience where people might have it on in the background or while they are driving.

“To what we’ve been concentrating on is making our radio brand 360 degree multi-platforms. Triple J for example has been a great example of this given it is a brand people want to align themselves with even if they can’t listen to the station all of the time.”

Triple J has more than 500,000 Facebook fans and almost 100,000 Twitter followers. The station uses the channels to find talent, case studies and of course, distribute its news.

So how can PR’s harness the power of this platform explosion to give their clients the edge?

We need to cut through the clutter and information mushroom cloud with compelling stories that grab attention and can be told across a variety of mediums to a variety of audiences on a global scale.

And, as always, we need to stay one step ahead. Social media certainly doesn’t stop here.

By Melinda Varley

Stream fatigue – are consumers flooded in social?

October 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Just came across this post from a Twitter user I almost routinely ignore and was actually surprised when the link took me through to an insightful post on the clutter that consumers are becoming forced to wade through in social media.

The post focuses on a pretty interesting concept concerning how more and more brands are flooding social media networks and that there is an inevitable reaction from communities when brand’s simply run out of things to say. The consumer suffers ‘stream fatigue’ – the state of being bombarded with regular promotional content that they don’t need, aren’t interested in or simply don’t want. I’m not sure how many times we all would have read the sentence ‘it’s time for brands to rethink their approach in social media’ but I think in this instance – specific to conversation management at least – that it’s true.

What happens when you finally hit that KPI of 10,000 fans by launching a hugely successful social media competition? What happens when it’s over? How do you maintain your community? Do we know what they want now that their desire for the ‘grand prize’ has been extinguished? How many times can a loyal ‘fan’ of your page ‘like’ a post?

From research conducted it was found that the two main reasons why a consumer would interact with a brand page was due to:

  • Receiving a discount (61%)
  • Making a purchase (55%)

Conversely, research was then conducted with businesses, with the top two reasons they thought consumers engaged with their brand was:

  • To learn about a new product (73%)
  • To receive general information (71%)

According to that research, brands are getting it wrong and it’s this mixed messaging that will result in lost fans, disenchanted communities and ignored engagement posts.

With that in mind, perhaps we should be thinking of the average social media consumer as your thrifty old grandma – hunting for the bargains and wanting to make a purchase as quickly and efficiently as possible – as opposed to the friendly, loyal community member we might think they are.

Have a read of the original post here:

By Koby Geddes.

Foursquare for Business

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Social Media has changed the way businesses are operating across Australia, with consumers spending an increasing amount of their time on Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and other forms of Social Media.

Companies can no longer afford to ignore discussions online about their brand. Working in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, Ogilvy’s specialized Social Media team has created a series of tutorials to help companies take those first steps.

The latest in the series, “Foursquare for Business”, will take place on August 19 at 1PM Sydney time.

Foursquare is the hottest new social media platform that is taking Australia and APAC by storm.

Part game, part social network, Foursquare allows people to “check in” wherever they are via their mobile devices, become “Mayor” of their favourite locations, and earn fun “badges” along the way.

Foursquare presents some tremendous opportunities to brands and businesses of every size. From Microsoft’s launch of Office 2010 via a Foursquare Mayor Meetup in Australia to Dominos Pizza seeing an increase in profit through a Foursquare program, this new social media platform is proving it’s worth its weight in ROI.

Join Ogilvy’s award-winning Asia-Pacific Social Media team, including Brian Giesen and Thomas Crampton for a free 30-minute online seminar powered by Citrix GoToWebinar.

Attend this live, interactive Webinar to learn:

  1. What is Foursquare and why is it so addictive?
  2. How do you use Foursquare to achieve a communications or business objective?
  3. How should you assemble a strategy?
  4. What NOT to do with Foursquare?

Space is limited for this 30-minute Webinar* and registration is required.

Sign up here

Sam North and Brian Giesen take second place in the Ogilvy Digital Influence Essay Writing Competition

March 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

In November 2009, the Ogilvy Digital Influence Essay Writing Competition was announced.  All Ogilvy employees from Asia Pacific were invited to submit an essay on the topic of Digital Influence.  Our very own Sam North and Brian Giesen joined forces, with their essay Digital Influence taking second place out of 28 entries submitted.  Congratulations Sam and Brian from everyone at Ogilvy PR!

Digital influence

By Sam North (with sorely needed input from Brian Giesen)

At the start of 2009 Ogilvy PR in Australia makes a brave decision. No doubt some think it foolish, but at the height of the Global Financial Crisis two senior people are employed – and to newly-created positions.

One is a 57-year-old, overweight, grey-haired, career journalist, direct from a 21-year stint at the Sydney Morning Herald where he had ended up as the paper’s Managing Editor. He’s the Sam North in the above byline and it’s fair to say that when he begins as Ogilvy’s Media Director he is pretty much a digital influence sceptic.

The other is Brian Giesen, a buff, enthusiastic 35-year-old from Ogilvy in Washington DC, and a digital influence expert brought to Sydney to give the locals the low-down on this shiny new toy [Note: Giesen says that ‘’shiny new toy’’ is North’s description. Giesen describes the digital world as the most exciting, liberating thing to happen to communications since the invention of the telephone].

The two find they get on well together, but North delights in asking the hard-bitten, cynical questions of Giesen and other experts at the various educational forums run for the Ogilvy crew in Sydney. He throws around phrases like ‘’how do we see a return on investment’’ and intimates that the likes of Twitter and Facebook and Yabber are of interest only to the young and the restless who will soon move on to something else.

Giesen and North give speeches at the same new media conference in Brisbane. Giesen talks about the election of Obama and how social media is harnessed to motivate tens of thousands of usually apathetic Americans to become involved in the political process. His speech is a triumph.

North talks about how the old media is still alive and kicking. He sounds, even to himself, like Canute trying to hold back the tide. His speech is politely ignored.

Giesen and North work on a KFC campaign to promote a new grilled chicken burger. North provides some media training for the spokespeople while Giesen sets up a Facebook page for KFC.

Facebook for a chicken burger, thinks North. Yeah, right!

Traditional media virtually ignores the launch but the Facebook page, which offers a coupon for which a free burger can be redeemed, has hundreds of people lining up around the block causing pedestrian chaos in downtown Sydney.

Within a week the Facebook page has attracted 84,000 friends.  A handful of people post messages attacking KFC for the nutritional value of its products, but those voices are quickly stamped on by other KFC fans. It’s the perfect scenario, consumers standing up for the brand without any input from the company.

Giesen has the good manners not to mention North’s nay-saying.

His prejudices wounded but still functioning, North hangs on to his suspicion that it’s only the young and tech-savvy who get the digital world.

Then Giesen shows him a statistic from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. For the uninitiated, the ABC is Australia’s public broadcaster with TV and radio networks. The demographic of viewers and listeners skews towards older people. What Giesen says is that the ABC audience (in a country with a population of 22 million, mind you) downloads 5 million vodcasts and podcasts each month.

While North ponders the fact that there might just be a few older people out there with at least some semblance of technical skill, Giesen tells him that of the 8.1 million Australians who use Facebook, 700,000 are over the age of 50. I must get myself on to Facebook, North thinks to himself.

Giesen, never one to let an opportunity pass, adds that in October Facebook’s Australian users uploaded 80 million pictures and wrote 32 million wall posts and 45 million status updates.

North pretends not to be impressed by that, or by the help Giesen’s team gives him during a big announcement for Ford in Melbourne.

They set up on-line monitoring for the period surrounding the announcement and North finds himself finding out in real time what the websites and blogs and Tweeters are saying. It’s an invaluable service that gives North the opportunity to react and target the message to counter any growing trend of criticism, complaint or query. North looks good, Giesen and Ogilvy look better.

Giesen’s glow becomes even rosier when the TED organisation want help with publicising the quest by religious scholar Karen Armstrong, the winner of the 2008 TED Prize, for the world’s major religions to come together in recognition of the principle which is at the core of all faiths – compassion.

At the heart of the campaign is the Charter for Compassion, a document crafted by people of all religions which was launched in November with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond TuTu as its first two signatories. It is intended that people will access the website to join the charter and show that the overwhelming voice in all religions is one of compassion – not negativity or violence.

Giesen’s team creates a 3 minute video featuring prominent Australians saying just what ‘’compassion’’ means to them. Those giving their thoughts range from celebrity chefs through to influential food and marketing bloggers.

The video is completed in a day and a half and is sent to around 200 bloggers and Twitterers. By any measure it delivers an outstanding, authentic, heartfelt message.

The video is picked up by Australia’s major news organisation and run on its websites, with more than 20,000 viewers choosing to spend three minutes of their time thinking about compassion and being driven to the Charter’s website.

Giesen then steps right into North’s territory and builds a social media centre for Microsoft Australia’s website, to coincide with the new Windows 7 operating system. North thinks he knows something about media centres so logs on to pick holes in Giesen’s work.

There’s access to Twitter and Facebook and Ustream TV. You can click onto various Microsoft bloggers. There’s are current and historic media releases, and recent news items featuring Microsoft, not to mention the impressive image bank available via Flickr and the plethora of videos. Suddenly North is feeling that the current crop of journalists have it too good.

The year ends with North at a pitch. ‘’You should think about social media,’’ he advises the client, without even a hint of embarrassment.

North explains that in the future every campaign is likely to embrace social media and will get ordinary people involved in a brand, a campaign, or an issue, through sharing values and opinions.

He goes on about all forms of communications being about conversations and about how it’s not necessarily all about a brand interacting with its customers but as much about facilitating customers’ interaction with each other.

‘’Social media will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your customers and keep you grounded and aware of what people really think about your company,’’ he says with all the conviction of the newly-minted zealot.

A wry, tolerant smile touches Giesen’s lips as his innate good manners prevent him from commenting.

The Executives Guide To Social Media For Business-to-Business Companies

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Social Media webinar

Across Asia, social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs have redefined how businesses operate.  While the focus is often on Social Media strategies for reaching consumers, companies operating in the B2B space – consultancies, wholesalers and manufacturers – can sometimes benefit even more than consumer-focused companies.

Shouldn’t you learn how to leverage social media?

Join the award-winning Social Media team from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide for a free 30-minute online seminar powered by Citrix GoToWebinar.

This webinar will provide concrete examples, action plans and case studies, including:

· 5 key steps for a business-to-business strategy;

· How to build and engage a community of potential and current customers;

· Real-life case studies from successful business-tobusiness strategies;

· The highly popular – and now extended – Question and Answer section;

· Much more…

The seminar will be led by Brian Giesen and Tania Chew, both senior regional strategists in Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence team, and moderated by Thomas Crampton, the team’s Asia-Pacific director.

Hurry! Space is limited for this 30-minute webinar* and registration

is required.

Join us Wednesday, 3 March at 11:00am (Hong Kong time)

To register go to

MC Hammer Inside Tour

January 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Case studies, Consumer, Featured, Microsoft

MC HammerIssue

Music icon and social media guru, MC Hammer was engaged to launch Twitter on the Xbox 360 online service, Xbox LIVE, and introduce the brand new “Lips: Number One Hits” game, which features the classic hit “U Can’t Touch This”.


Ensure Xbox key messages in the coverage achieved were not overtaken by the “celebrity factor” of MC Hammer.


As the world’s 14th most influential person on Twitter, MC Hammer was credible and passionate brand ambassador, who could pull on nostalgic heart strings of media to secure incredible mainstream coverage, and then surprise them with his online savvy.

Creative Idea

An extensive media tour of Sydney and Melbourne was held, targeting every major television, radio and newspaper outlet. MC Hammer was clearly briefed to naturally communicate the key messages of the Xbox Twitter and Lips offerings,with Pulse attending each interview to ensure Xbox coverage.


The activity took place over a 4 day period, with over 30 media outlets receiving one-on-one interviews with MC Hammer. Hammer was briefed on the key Xbox messages which he reiterated in all activity.


Over 65 pieces of coverage have appeared to date on the MC Hammer media tour across high rating outlets like Rove, Sunrise, Channel 10 News, The Morning Show, Hamish and Andy show on 2DayFM, The Age, Daily Telegraph and Famous. Xbox key messages on Twitter and Lips featured in 100% of this coverage that Pulse placed.

Don’t tweet like a twit: leveraging Twitter

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Carrie Ponder

To all the PRs who are regurgitating client messaging on Twitter: STOP STOP STOP! This is NOT what Twitter is all about. Twitter is about being a PART of the conversation. Twitter is not about secretly stalking journalists.

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend MediaConnect’s Kickstart conference in Queensland. Kickstart brings together some of Australia’s most influential technology journalists to meet with technology vendors and their PRs.

I’d recommend the event to any vendor who’s interested in meeting face-to-face with journalists and who has an opinion to communicate about the technology industry that doesn’t involve flogging their own products (there was a lot of product pushing this year, which is never good when trying to cultivate relationships with journalists!).

Possibly the most interesting part of the entire conference was the last session of the event which focused on Twitter. Self-proclaimed Twitter gurus Alex Kidman, Anthony Caruana and Nick Broughall formed the panel of journalists discussing this new communication tool.

I’ve been ‘tweeting’ for roughly five months and it seems a pretty basic proposition to me: think of something quirky to say that makes you sound insightful, busy and fun and sum it up in 140 characters or less.

Easy enough? Clearly not.

Alex, Anthony and Nick gave feedback during the session that PRs need to be more willing to participate in Twitter discussions. No one is going to follow you if all you do is re-post client press releases and announcements.

I was a little surprised that PR colleagues would be doing this, but after doing a quick scan for PR tweets, it became fairly obvious that the journalists are right. Quite a few of us have ‘tweeted’ less than fifty times and the majority of our posts are about our clients. There are way too many PRs who don’t seem to understand that Twitter isn’t just a PR tool, it’s an ongoing conversation amongst colleagues.

I even spoke with a PR person from a local agency (who will remain unnamed) who suggested we develop a ‘statement’ to issue via Twitter in response to some negative tweets about a product. Clearly we’re not getting the Twitter picture!

Upon reflection, Twitter is the ‘technology-of-the-moment’ and will doubtfully last forever. Just as Facebook has left behind its niche audience following in favour of widespread adoption, Twitter will do the same. And, when it does, I venture to guess that our beloved technology journalists will move on to the ‘next new thing’. But, for now, Twitter is here to stay.

I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help you navigate the world of Twitter smoothly…

1. Engage with Twitter outside of your client work – i.e. tweet about what interests you, what you find meaningful and what you think might be of interest to others as well. Sharing links, articles and asking questions are great ways to get involved.
2. Reply to your followers/the people you are following – If you agree, disagree, don’t understand or want to know more, ask! Or, just drop people a line who you think have said something interesting.
3. If a journalist asks you a question – answer!
4. Use functions like Search.Twitter and TweetScan to find out about what journalists are saying about your client’s brand.
5. Interact with journalists, when appropriate – if you see your client or your client’s products being criticised by journalists, try to work out a way to offer them support or counsel to improve their experience. In this way you can target problems before they escalate and possibly even build brand advocates.
6. Don’t just post links to client press releases! If your client has written a blog/byline that you find particularly interesting, sure, go ahead and tweet about it. No one appreciates constant tweets about press releases and announcements.
7. Use Twitter to pitch stories in a short and concise way to journalists via Direct Message – don’t blast a pitch to your entire Twitter following, rather send it directly to the person who matters most, what a great way to get a quick reply!
8. Be careful what you say! Don’t post anything about clients, co-workers, friends, etc that you would not want them to see. These posts don’t go away people and you certainly don’t want to burn bridges!

Now get tweeting!

By Carrie Ponder.

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