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Published by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog

Twitter for public relations : LexisNexis and O'Keefe engage

February 20, 2012

public-relations-twitter-social-mediaI blogged last week that PR professionals ought to have a Twitter account. My post was prompted by a LexisNexis UK press release from Melissa Higgs. 

This morning Higgs let me know through her personal Twitter handle that she had left the below comment on my blog.
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,
Simon Goldie (@Simon_Goldie), Head of External Relations at LexisNexis UK, also responded to me in a blog post regarding public relations and Twitter on the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) site. (interesting to use ‘independent association’ for your own company message)
What Kevin missed in his search is that there is a LexisNexisUK feed [@LexisNexisUK]. It gives him all the information he needs.
Goldie raised a few additional questions, including:
  • Should bloggers check their facts before posting? (misguided dig of me)
  • Should all PR people have Twitter feeds wit their names instead of using corporate handles?

Goldie and Higgs miss a few critical points when it comes to how most people, not corporations, view Twitter.

One, I’m not looking for ‘a LexisNexisUK feed’ to give me all the information I need. I monitor the term LexisNexis from Google news and rely on Google to give me what it believes is the most important news. In this case, the release from Melissa Higgs arrived in the reader on my iPad. 

I don’t follow corporate feeds on Twitter. I don’t know who they are coming from and I’m likely to be deluged with self serving info from the corporation.

If I follow such corporate feeds on Twitter, I only do so to let who ever is running the feed know I am out there or so they can direct message me on Twitter. The corporate feed is then never seen by me as it won’t be in my personal Twitter lists I follow to learn and engage.

Two, as I explained to Melissa Higgs in a comment on my blog, I guess I could have looked for the LexisNexisUK Twitter handle, but it frankly never crossed my mind. I’m always thinking of Twitter as personal in origin when it comes to relations with the press and corporations. 

I did see a personal Twitter handle that might have been Higgs (@Melissa_Higgs). I found out later from Higgs it was actually hers. But seeing at the time of my post that she shared political views, I did not feel comfortable using it in my Tweet referencing the LexisNexisUK release – especially if I possibly referenced the wrong Melissa Higgs.

Three, for most people, including leading journalists and corporate leaders, Twitter is personal. 

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 (@karaswisher) of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for the info she shares on Twitter. I 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. That sort of tweet makes her a person to me – a person I trust more.

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. If I reference the WSJ Twitter handle, she would never know I tweeted a story of hers and I would lose an opportunity to engage her.

I presume that if I attribute a company Twitter handle, as in this case of @LexisNexisUK, that Higgs would never see my Tweet. I have no idea who is monitoring or tweeting on behalf of LexisNexisUK. It turns out she runs the Twitter handle, but how do I know that? There is no mention of her name in the LexisNexisUK Twitter profile letting me know she handles the tweeting.

Higgs and Goldie may presume it to be Higgs handling the LexisNexis UK PR Twitter account, but for all I, and others, know its corporate leadership, editorial, or customer service. I have no idea. Bad assumption on their part.

If PR professionals are going to build relationships with the media (mainstream press and bloggers), PR professionals 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 professionals 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 engagement between LexisNexis and I here. I appreciate Higgs’ and Goldie’s willingness to discuss.

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