#ManCrushMonday, #TransformationTuesday, #WomanCrushWednesday, #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday…do you follow me?happy_twitter_bird3

Twitter flew on to the social media scene in 2006 and captivated a mainly-teenaged audience initially.  Since then, the number of Twitter users has soared.  Now, approximately 500 million tweets fly through the Twittersphere daily loaded with Twitter slang, #hashtags and @ symbols.  The language is undoubtedly unique.

Twitter has played a primary role in the social media craze of this decade.  Its 255 million active monthly users created a whole new type of citizen journalism and became a database for crowdsourcing.  Because of Twitter’s influence and impact, PR professionals have a responsibility to know how to use it.  Twitter can be much more than a mindless minute-to-minute social update platform.  It is actually an invaluable resource for PR professionals.  Here are some ways to take your Twitter presence to the next level and tweet smarter:

Connect with Influencers & Reporters

Influencers and reporters are important people to have on your side.  What better way to learn about which events, products, services and stories appeal to them?  Reading influencers’ or reporters’ Twitter commentary can give you special insight into who they are and what they like.  Though monitoring their content may seem a bit stalker-esque, it will pay off in your perfectly tailored pitch, and they will appreciate the effort.

Gauge Public Opinion & Feedback

Feedback puts the “public” in public relations.  Satisfying your audience is one of the biggest objectives in PR, and Twitter helps us learn how to do that.  Strategically searching for hashtags or keywords can return valuable feedback about your brand and give you ideas on how to improve it.  Twitter allows you the opportunity to gauge public opinion. Its millions of users and 140 character limit mean you’ll get clear, concise feedback.

Stay Up to Date on Trends & News

Being in the business of media, PR professionals need to stay in the loop of what’s new and noteworthy.  Following the right people and news organizations on Twitter, who can keep you up-to-date on relevant trends in the PR world and beyond, is important to being a well-rounded professional.  Twitter also helps us keep up with day-to-day local and national news.  Instead of bouncing from site to site on the Internet, I now scroll my timeline for a mixture of stories from all my favorite news outlets.

Have Conversations

Don’t be afraid to interact with reporters, influencers, news outlets and other PR companies.  You may be surprised by the connections you make.  Additionally, TweetChats, popularized by PR professionals, are a great way to unite people who share similar interests.  They commonly serve as real-time professional development opportunities.  For example, the “#u30pro” discussion held Thursdays between 8-9 p.m. EST, is for young PR professionals to talk about issues facing them, and the “#SoloPR” chat is on issues unique to independent PR consultants. It is held Wednesdays between 1-2 p.m. EST.

Now, as you cozy up in your nest, consider – What kind of tweeter are you?

And get your cameras ready!  Next week’s post will discuss using Instagram as a visual portfolio and branding platform.

Stay tuned…