|April 14, 2010|
|PR and Promoted Tweets|
|By Greg Hazley|
|Twitter unveiled its Promoted Tweets service this week to a variety of reactions around the digital space, but a key view of PR pros is that the service could be beneficial amid a social media crisis.|
PTs allow companies to sponsor a search term on Twitter so that their message is "promoted" to the top of a query.
In keeping with its quirky modus operandi, Twitter said promoted tweets must resonate with users -- via replies, favorites or re-tweets -- or the message will be nixed, giving its users some power over the endurance of a particular message. The tweets will also be labeled as "promoted" and only one will appear per page.
But imagine Toyota snapping up the rights to "Toyota" searches and getting its message viewed first, above an endless trail of critics.
Sponsored tweets will ostensibly give companies a chance to get through thick clouds of negativity, say PR pros.
"Right now without the ads, businesses have no effective way to neutralize negative tweets," said Priya Ramesh, director of social media strategies at CRT/tanaka. "Traditionally, businesses that do engage actively on Twitter respond one-on-one to negative tweets, and when an issue becomes a crisis they’ll write a blog response."
Schwartz Communications' Mark McClennan warned that PTs are not a replacement for a engaged two-way conversations in the space. "They may help attract a new audience in a flock, but the audience will not necessarily be loyal, remain engaged or start to follow you," he said. "The only way to do that is through interaction and providing value beyond a deal of the day."
Todd Defren of Shift Communications said PTs would have come in handy for Domino's last year during its social media-fueled video crisis as the service has the potential to give crisis-enveloped companies some breathing room.
"The Twitter wranglers can rest assured that while they are frantically monitoring and dealing with individual users, their official response will continue to float above the stream for anyone who happens to search for their brand due to the crisis," he said.
Is it PR or advertising? It sounds like a combination of both.
While it's not clear PTs can (or are intended to) harness the brand-building aspects of more traditional PR and display advertising, Twitter has attracted 105M users and represents an engaged and mobile ad base as the company moves more rapidly toward making some dough.
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