If I could only choose one social media account to keep it would be that of the little blue bird. I don’t understand the psychology of it but it’s got to be something to do with what drives you. I’m more driven to know what’s going in the world than what’s going on in the lives of people I know. Like many PR pro’s I find Twitter especially useful for keeping up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry. Here’s my Top 5 Reasons a PR peep can benefit from Twitter:
- Networking - I’ve set up meetings with almost everyone I’ve met in the local industry beginning with informal engagement on Twitter. It has also put me on “Twitter friend” level with people in other countries.
- Learning - for those of us living across a sea from London (AKA the centre of the universe), often we can’t afford to make it to the big conferences or training events. Hashtags enable us to feel as though we’re there. #commschat is a weekly industry discussion not to be missed. #PRfail will also teach you what to avoid!
- Peer Support - there’s nothing better when you need to let off steam than doing so among people who understand your woes and who can support you through it. The only thing Twitter can’t do is give you a cup of tea and a bun.
- Humour - linked to support, when working in a highly stressed industry, it can be hard to find humour relevant to your role. Not so on Twitter, where you can share in-jokes with a plethora of virtual friends which is great if you work alone, as many PRo’s do.
- Inspiration - we will all spread an idea or image around the internet if we think it’s worthy and Twitter makes it easier than ever before to find out about campaigns, awards and viral happenings.
Of course Twitter on it’s own won’t provide you with all this. The trick is to find the right people to follow. And then engage. You get out of it what you put in, so to speak. I got to this point by trial and error. I searched for relevant hashtags, local bios, I checked Twitter handles of good articles I was reading, I found other blogs on WordPress. Then as more local people entered my timeline, they would share their contacts and content and it grows from there.
My timeline is now a great treasure trove of local news, lobbying information, PR humour, inspirational campaigns, viral happenings, PR fails and general chit-chat about the industry. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite ‘Tweeters’. Obviously I don’t want to leave people out but we’d be here all day if I didn’t whittle it down! So I’ve made my shortlist based on people whose accounts are almost solely related to their niche, with little personal information mixed in…
For internal communications: It has to be Rachel (@AllThingsIC) a consultant, CIPR Fellow and blogger. If internal communications is even a tiny part of your role, you will learn something from following her.
Communicators in the Voluntary Sector: Consultant Zoe Amar (@zoeamar) is your best bet. You may already have seen her articles as she blogs for the Guardian but she also tweets links to relevant industry issues and viral campaigns, particularly around making CEO’s more social.
For great industry blog posts (because you’ve read all mine!): (@dmhwhite) Donna White (a PRo with The Prince’s Trust) and author of PRimeTime blog in the UK is one of the best because she takes the time to break down campaigns and explain what might have worked better. Her latest piece on the cast of Friends joining a PR firm was pure hilarity!
If you want to be the first to see the best and worst campaigns: Andrew Bloch, Group MD and Founder of Frank PR, is your man (@AndrewBloch). 99.9% of the time he will be the first to tweet a screenshot from a company or a funny highlight from traditional press hours before it makes the mainstream news. Retweeting him in the morning will make you look ahead of the game!
Likewise: Another guy who sits jointly with Andrew is Rich Leigh (RichLeighPR) who originally founded the fantastic PR examples blog and has now co-founded Bloggabase, a blogger outreach tool for marketers.
For the digital among us: I know most of my highlighted accounts are in England but actually, for SEO etc., you’d be hard pushed to find better information, links and funnies than our very own Barry Adams (@badams) who recently won the DANI Digital Person of the Year award. I can’t claim to understand everything he tweets but I’m learning!
For Public Affairs and Lobbying: One of the best locally is definitely Chris Brown of agency MCE (@CB_PRandPA). Once named a CIPR 29 under 29 on his timeline you’ll find out the relevant legislation, political news and changes regardless of what sector you work in, and you’ll hear it first.
If you just want a laugh: @AnonymousPRgirl may well be anonymous, and a publicist as opposed to generic PR, but on her timeline you’ll experience the most joyous of gifs and memes to make you smile through the sore head you got after banging it on your desk, yet again!
For CIPR news and industry discussion: The President himself Stephen Waddington (@wadds) is so active on Twitter I’m not sure how he holds down a day job - and he has a pretty important one! For everything CIPR, social media, professionalising the industry, branding, literally, for everything - wadds.
I’ve tried to include as many different aspects of industry work as I could, including a decent mix of Northern Ireland versus our big brother across the pond. I hope anyone I left out understands and stays friends with me! I’d love to hear who you think I should follow on Twitter…