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.
"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.