Does your company or client need a PR-specific Twitter account? It’s probably a question reserved for larger companies, but PR teams have wrestled with that question the last few years.
The answer is different for every brand, but I thought I’d highlight some of the bigger brands I believe are doing a good job with this strategy. It’s interesting to see how the lines are blurring for some of the PR accounts below. Delta Note the links to the other Delta Twitter properties in the bio—definitely a good idea for those brands with multiple corporate Twitter accounts. Delta is also sharing pics of news happening within Delta. As visual media become more prominent on Twitter, this is a key aspect to consider. Delta is also tweeting earnings news and information—sometimes, it seems, in a live-tweeting format. Delta is engaging reporters on Twitter by regularly retweeting their tweets—a smart strategy to build relationships and promote Delta even more. Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson identifies who is running the account right in the bio—a smart way to “humanize” the brand a bit more. (Sorry, I had to say “humanize the brand” here; my 2008 reference of the day.) Again, visual media are essential for the J&J PR Twitter account. Johnson & Johnson is using the tried-and-true “Follow Friday” hashtag to thank partners—a smart way to build community around the brand (and build “infrastructure”). Johnson & Johnson is sharing links to its corporate blog via its PR account—another way to drive people to owned properties online. The Johnson & Johnson PR account retweets other corporate accounts regularly. It’s an easy way to generate content on Twitter for the brand (and support other departments/groups within J&J). Johnson & Johnson is engaging with reporters regularly by retweeting media stories. Starbucks Starbucks links to a generic PR inbox right in its bio, giving journalists and others easy access to the PR team. Starbucks is looking for opportunities to retweet celebrity endorsers when they share news, another way for the PR team to support overall marketing efforts for Starbucks. Much like Delta, Starbucks is tweeting earnings information. Starbucks is also looking to retweet key media outlets when they share Starbucks news. Starbucks is even engaging reporters and news outlets—by giving away its coffee products at times. (I can’t help but wonder here about ethical issues.) Starbucks is sharing news via photos—sometimes without a link to a full news release (gasp!). Starbucks is also retweeting key politicians when they share Starbucks news—something I didn’t see a lot of other PR accounts doing. Starbucks is also retweeting the other corporate accounts, much like J&J, when it makes sense and syncs up with Starbucks news. UPS Very basic Twitter bio here for UPS. UPS regularly retweets the other corporate UPS Twitter accounts—again, easy content for the PR account and a great way to support the other accounts/departments. UPS News looks for opportunities to retweet reporters when they cover UPS (another thing to remember with this approach is that some reporters are being judged on their Twitter activity—by retweeting them, you’re helping with their performance metrics in some instances). UPS takes photos of events/happenings within its walls, when it links up with a news story or area of focus. (In this case, it’s giving back to and supporting UNICEF.) UPS also retweets key partners when they share UPS news and information. Walmart I love how Walmart includes the other corporate handles in its bio—making it easy for journalists and others to find them on Twitter. The Walmart PR account is also sharing news of its sales regularly—something a lot of the other accounts did not do. Walmart is also responding to reporters on Twitter—even when those reporters are not tagging the Walmart Newsroom account in their tweets. (Read: They have multiple searches going at any given time—smart). Walmart is using promoted tweets to make sure key tweets like this one stick at the top of their PR news feed (the only brand I noticed doing this, by the way). Similarly, the Walmart PR team is also serving as a customer service team in spots—again, the only brand I really saw doing this. Walmart is actively vetting inquires—like this gentleman looking for a job—to the appropriate Walmart Twitter account. Not to beat a dead horse, but again, I didn’t see anyone else doing this. Is Walmart on to something here? Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations.