I’ve had some interesting discussions recently with a friend and Twitter connection of mine regarding the often contentious topic of social media and public relations (believe me, we are not the only people only Twitter discussing this). This has been the topic of many debates on twitter, on blogs and in other forums, with companies drooling at the viral nature of Twitter and individuals crying foul at companies blasting self-promotions and news via any social outlet they can get their hands on. Indeed there are no rules set in stone and everyone has their own views as to what’s cool and what’s not. And so, I’m pleased to share with you some words from a former product marketing manager regarding her feelings about the use of Twitter for PR… an interesting take! Thanks to Karen Morley for sharing her take.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a PR person, though I have had some experience with the press. My background is product management and marketing in the geospatial industry. Recently I waded into the twitter pool out of curiosity. At first I didn’t get all the hype about it but then I found some people I know and it got more interesting. It got even more interesting when I started finding people I didn’t know through other twitterers with like interests. Way cool. Then I found other tools, got help from some more savvy folks on searching etc. Now I’m hooked but I did not join twitter to accomplish any specific objectives. Though as a product manager and marketing person – what an invaluable tool to learn what people in your industry are talking about and join the conversation!
Tech sector and geospatial companies in particular don’t understand the value of public relations. PR to many, simply equals press releases. I think that’s a serious mistake and now the PR people are joining twitter and using it as if it were a press release service. In fact, one PR person was happily twittering away and had no idea that twitter allows for @Replies! How much of a conversation can that be? If these folks don’t understand that marketing and public relations is about establishing relationships (um hence the word “relations”), adding social media to the checklist won’t improve their efforts. Don’t call yourself a social media expert because you’ve got thousands of followers. It’s not about the number of conversations but the quality of the ones you do have. So go ahead and use Twitter or other social media to send your announcements but I won’t be listening until you’ve established a conversation that I respect.
Karen Morley (@GeoKaren)
Other interesting takes on this topic: