The practice of public relations has existed as long as organized enterprise. Every company needs to remain in good favor with its customers in order to continue selling its goods and services. Likewise, customers need to feel that the manufacturers of the goods they purchase with their hard-earned money are listening to what they have to say about the products. Public relations are an essential business function and the original form of two-way communication between a company and its clients.
Now that the world has entered the digital information age, public relations have had to evolve to keep up – it had to go online. Press conferences and scheduled events may have gained a company airtime in the past, but marketers now have to compete with a myriad of influences attempting to capture their target audience’s attention. Second screens and virtual applications distract viewers from TV spots. In an age where attention spans are shorter than ever, public relations evolved into online reputation management, in essence joining the chaos instead of competing with it.
Micro-blogging as the New PR
To continue its work in the most effective space possible, public relations went digital. When choosing a site, it makes sense to create memberships where the database is sizable. Twitter is the third-largest social site, next to Facebook and YouTube, the second-largest search engine. The service gained popularity by limiting user posts to a mere 140 characters, forcing users to relay their messages as creatively – yet concisely – as possible. What sets Twitter apart is not that it limits its messaging space, but that it directly appeals to the decreasing attention span consumers boast today.
Several other social networking and blogging site exist, so why join Twitter? Here’s a quick list of reasons:
- Twitter is cost-effective: physical, financial, and time investments are minimized on this platform. Signing up for an account is free, and populating it with content takes minutes.
- It is community-based: The Twitter system of adding hashtags allows easy searching by grouping users of the same interest. To join the conversation, brand marketers must simply add the hashtag to their tweet in order to immediately participate in the continuous discussion.
- Twitter provides a real-time report of how many times a tweet was liked or re-tweeted by readers. This immediately visible statistic skips most of the analytics done today, and immediately shows the marketer whether or not the tactic was effective.
The popularity of Twitter gave way to a trend of concise, witty wordplay in online branding and reputation management. The site continues to afford businesses the opportunity to drive traffic to their online assets. Any business that wants to take a piece of the pie should waste no time in joining the bandwagon and taking advantage of its benefits.