Changing public relations, 140 characters at a time

Public relations pros are using Twitter as an inexpensive way to get their message out. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON – In a world where effective advertising costs money on TV, radio, online, in magazines and on billboards, it’s hard to beat the price of Twitter.

“You’re able to get out your message quickly, smartly, for no money – that’s effective,” says public relations professional Marc Silverstein, owner of On The Marc Media.

Even more importantly, Silverstein says a small business owner deftly managing a Twitter account can provide excellent customer service for little cost.

“You can respond to those who are happy and those who aren’t happy,” says Silverstein.

A prompt Twitter response to a customer complaint is crucial, he adds.

“You can tell them that you’re sorry – ‘Contact us, we’ll take care of it,” Silverstein says.

“You can be clever, you can be polite and you can turn an unhappy client, or patient or customer, into a happy one.”

Silverstein acknowledges most printed or emailed press releases are thrown away or deleted without being read.

Twitter allows a communicator to more precisely target those he or she wants to reach with the use of hashtags.

PR professionals can try to rouse a reporter’s interest in covering a story with a creative tweet.

For a small price, Silverstein says, Twitter’s promoted tweets are a good value.

“You set the budget – it can be as low as $10, $20, $50 – and your post shows up on a lot more pages,” says Silverstein.

More importantly, he can hone in on the people or groups he hopes will hear his client’s message.

“We get to pick out who sees it, who their followers are, locations, what their interests are,” Silverstein says.

“You’re able to micro-target it so specifically for your clients that the right people see it.”

According to Twitter, the Nielsen Brand Effect for Twitter survey tool shows “exposure to a Promoted Tweet impression drove a 22 percent average increase in message association to users not exposed to Promoted Tweets.”

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