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How can public relations professionals not have a Twitter account?

Twitter-for-PR-Public-RelationsThis morning Melissa Higgs, in public relations for LexisNexis UK, issued a press release regarding a couple LexisNexis iPhone and iPad apps which will make legal information more accessible to lawyers on the go.

I picked up the release because I follow the term, ‘LexisNexis’ in my my Google News feeds on Mr Reader. The subject of the LexisNexis release is the type of information I like to share with my followers on Twitter.

As is my practice, I took a quick search to find Higgs’ Twitter handle. That way when I share news of the apps via a quick hit of the Twitter share on Mr Reader, I can give Higgs attribution of getting the news out there.

As with all good news and public relations people, I know that Higgs must want to know who’s spreading word of their news and releases. She can then build relationships with those folks for further releases and let her company know how the news is breaking.

God knows the majority of LexisNexis target audience prone to use these apps is receiving of such news via social media – Twitter, blogs, and Facebook – not traditional legal publishers who might be relying on press releases.

The way I let Higgs know I’m ‘sharing the word’ is to do a quick attribution in my tweet by including her Twitter handle. I do this with all my Tweets – I include the news or public relations person’s Twitter handle.

I couldn’t find Higgs Twitter handle. Nothing on a general Google search except for a Melissa Higgs, also in the UK, who says her tweets are personal. No one by the name of Melissa Higgs on Twitter who says they are working for LexisNexis. Not seeing any tweets referencing LexisNexis from folks by the name of ‘Melissa Higgs’ on Twitter, I didn’t want to give an incorrect attribution by guessing. I went to Higgs LinkedIn profile, where most folks include their Twitter handles. Nothing.

I don’t get it. Some reporters and public relationships pro’s get their Twitter handles up front and center. They’ll include it in the byline for a story, in the press release contact info, and in their LinkedIn profiles.

While others who do not understand social media or are unwilling to play by the new rules social media dictates, whether they like or not, hold back. They’re just making it difficult for others to spread news they’re looking to get spread.

Time to get with it folks. Time to make it easier on people like me who are trying to help you do your job.

Here’s a powerpoint from Dr. Corrine Weisberger of St. Edward’s University on using Twitter as a public relations’ tool. Though you can’t glean the most from a powerpoint alone, Dr. Weisberger includes some nice points in her presentation.

  • http://www.jaffepr.com Melanie Trudeau

    The most common excuse I hear from PR professionals who don’t have a Twitter account is, “I don’t have time.” Comparable to saying, “I don’t have time to do my job.” Enough with the excuses; social media is not going away.
    Thanks for bringing attention to the issue, Kevin.

  • http://simongoldie.blogspot.com/ Simon Goldie

    Hi Kevin

    Here is my response to your post.

    It throws up several dilemmas for PR professionals.

    I hope you don’t mind me posting the link.

    http://conversation.cipr.co.uk/posts/simon.goldie/when-public-relations-becomes-the-story

    Simon

  • http://JacksonandWilsonMedia.com Melissa Higgs

    Hi Kevin,

    LexisNexis UK has a corporate handle @LexisNexisUK which I manage. The release was tweeted about from this account on the day that the release was sent.

    I do have a twitter account which I use in a personal capacity to pursue other interests. I don’t feel it’s appropriate for my employer to be associated with my personal tweets, which tend not to be law-related. I use twitter regularly and have done for a year.

    I don’t feel that the story is about me, and therefore have made the decision not to publicize myself as a PR professional via twitter.

    I wonder if the title of this blog should be “Should a PR professional have a solely personal online presence?”

    I do agree with you, however, that the @LexisNexisUK handle should be added to press releases, which is something I have suggested that we add to press releases from now on.

    Very interesting, if odd, to find myself the subject of a blog in America!

    Best wishes,

    Melissa

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin O’Keefe

    Thanks for the comment Melissa. Guess I could have looked for the LexisNexis Twitter handle, frankly never crossed my mind. I’m always thinking of Twitter as personal in origin when it comes to relations with the press.

    I did see a personal Twitter handle that might be yours (turns out it was), but seeing that you shared political views, I did not feel comfortable using it in my Tweet – especially if I possibly referenced the wrong Melissa Higgs.

    I follow many reporters and bloggers on Twitter on their personal handles. The reason is to get to know them as people – both in the work place and personally.

    For example, I follow Kara Swisher of the WSJ for the info she shares on Twitter. I also saw an amusing Tweet she made about beating up on a car sales person she bought a car from on Saturday. She told us all to go buy a car from him.

    If I am sharing a WSJ story of Swisher’s on Twitter, I share her Twitter handle, not the WSJ’s Twitter handle, so as to give her the personal attribute and so that she will know I tweeted her story.

    I presume that if I attribute a company Twitter handle, as in this case @LexisNexisUK, that you would never see my Tweet. I have no idea who is monitoring or tweeting on behalf of LexisNexisUK.

    You may presume it to be LexisNexis UK PR, but for all I know its corporate leadership, editorial, or customer service. I have no idea.

    PR professionals, if they are going to build relationships with the press and bloggers, are going to need to use personal Twitter handles. Perhaps they’ll have personal Twitter handles for work related items and another for truly personal items, but we need to know who we’re talking with.

    Ideally, PR person would have one personal Twitter handle. In this day where we people do not trust corporate brands, people do trust other people — if they know they are real. For a company looking to get its message out, the company is going to need to use real people who are unafraid of not dividing the world into personal and professional. That’s what social media, a very real concept, is all about.

    It’s this personal relationship that breeds trust. And it’s this trust that moves media and information today.

    Good exchange and great to make your acquaintance, Melissa.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin O’Keefe

    Thanks for the comment Simon, I think you missed a few points as it relates to how most people view Twitter. I shared my thoughts in a comment on your post.