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Twitterview: 5 Tips for Success

Twitter is taking over; it’s more than just a passing fad. We know this by now. You might even be tired of hearing about it. But that doesn’t change the fact that communicators and PR pros should stay on the lookout for new, effective ways to use the service. Here’s a good example of an emerging Twitter trend from the June 2009 edition of the BurrellesLuce newsletter

Enjoy, and don’t forget to follow @paramountpr!

Twitterview: 5 Tips for Success

With Twitter’s mainstream acceptance in the world of business, many public relations professionals seek to use the service in a way that positively impacts their brand, products, and professional network.

As with other forms of social media, it’s no longer enough to simply state “what you are doing” or to only “follow” or “retweet” someone who shares similar interests. Rather, the focus has shifted to creating meaningful content on which to form strong ties.

It all boils down to developing a solid community. And PR folks, as well as other social media users, are finding Twitterviews effective tools in their community-building efforts.

Twitterviews: PR in 140 Characters
Interviews on Twitter have gained in popularity these last few months, due in no small part to the increasing use of social media by public officials. However, journalists have been using Twitterviews for quite some time, such as when they conduct celebrity interviews. And PR professionals have followed suit. There’s even a whole website devoted to this form of online interview:

So what explains the growth of the Twitterview? The primary reason is that a Twitterview is conducted in real-time, which allows for active participation from the audience.

Whether you are the PR pro who is hosting the chat or the person helping your client organize and prep for one, how do you help ensure a successful Twitterview?

Five tips to get you started

  1. Make certain that a Twitterview matches your communication goals. Not all subjects or newsmakers are conducive for discussion on social media. Depending on your goals, it might just be better to do an in-person interview. For instance, if you or your client is being interviewed about a product recall, or speaking about changes in policies, a face-to-face interview could be the most effective way to convey your messages.
  2. Arrange to speak with the person beforehand. Whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee, you’ll want to agree on the topic, a date and time to hold the Twitterview, the platform, etc. This will help improve overall communication flow the day of the event and make for a more enjoyable Twitterview experience.
  3. Be prepared with “text bites.” Knowing the topic beforehand not only helps eliminate the chance of miscommunication, it gives you the opportunity to prepare strong text bites and short URLS to link to source material and examples. Remember: tweets are limited to 140 characters. When a question or response runs over, use the ellipsis (…) to indicate there is more to follow. Otherwise, the interviewer/interviewee might move on to the next question or respond before you’ve had a chance to finish your thought.
  4. Encourage people to follow and participate in the live interview. Social media is designed to engage your audience and foster a sense of community. You may want to reserve a #hashtag (a way of tagging similar tweets on Twitter by following the # symbol with a short word of your choice) so your audience can follow the interview in real-time, and also see all the other tweets pertaining to the event. So, for instance, if a journalist were going to interview your CEO, you might create a #hashtag that reads #ceointerview and then promote it when you announce the event. (To set up a hashtag, please visit )
  5. Publicize your Twitterview via social and traditional media. Tweet about the interview in advance, write about it on your blog, mention it on LinkedIn, or create an email blast to invite participants. In short, use your full array of PR skills to build an audience for the event.