It is indeed instructive reading a contribution by Ben Murray on Common Mistakes by Public Relations Practitioners on Twitter. Though Twitter is a social network that is open and free for all users but PR practitioners and communicators are expected to use it professionally than nominal users. According to Murray, Twitter is by no means a new platform, yet for some reason, many PR pros—and professionals of all stripes—continue to misuse, misunderstand and not fully take advantage of it.
In an effort to address the challenges of using Twitter, the writer listed four common mistakes PR professionals are making on Twitter, and how they can fix them.
With their clients, co-workers and other peers following them, many PR pros fear being too personal on Twitter. However, it is certainly possible to remain professional and showcase your personality at the same time. The fact that we are using twitter for purely professional purpose doesn’t mean we don’t have our own personality. Basically, a professional PRO should live his life doing public relation weather formerly or informally. Revolving our personal lives around our profession shows our passion and affection for it. As a matter of fact, incorporating our personalities into our writing enhances it, and the same holds true when restricted to 140 characters.
Maintaining two separate accounts:
One apparently for personal and the other account for professional usage—may have been acceptable years ago, but it has since become largely frowned upon, and for good reason. A PRO may feel he has the right to occasional informal way of life especially via the social network but all the same a level of decorum is supposed to be ensured. After all, if you’re saying something to your friends on Twitter that you wouldn’t say to your colleagues, you probably shouldn’t be saying it on the Internet at all.
Playing fast and loose with manual retweets:
As PR pros, we know that we don’t just write tweets—we craft them. Everything down to the punctuation is intentional. Thus, if you’re going to manually retweet a tweet (meaning copying and pasting a tweet with “RT” in front of it, as opposed to hitting the “Retweet” button), don’t change the original tweeter’s writing. This in a nutshell means, quoting a tweet will identify the PR Man as the owner of the tweet and at the same time acknowledging where the tweet is copied from. More so, if there is need to modify the tweet, there is need to acknowledge the original and also need to use to use “MT,” which stands for modified tweet, to clearly indicate that changes have been made.
Direct message abuse:
For active Twitter users—which most journalists are, as well as many consumers—a Twitter direct message inbox is more personal than an email inbox. After all, you can only send a direct message to a user who is following you. So if you’d like to reach out to a journalist or consumer on Twitter, tweet at them; don’t spam their direct message inbox. Doing the latter is more likely to get you an unfollow than a positive response.
Fully taking advantage of Twitter and using it correctly will undoubtedly improve your performance at work. It’s time for all PR pros to take Twitter seriously.