PR Teams take action! The future of Twitter

It’s not often I use this blog for work things (hell, it’s not often that I use it these days – that will be changing). However, an article flagged up by an industry colleague (@chrisdate) needs a PR response.

Twitter is partnering with Google to put tweets into search results in real time. So what? Well, it’s designed to get marketers to start focusing on Twitter as a way of driving search engine optimisation.

The Advertising Age article lists how brands can best respond to the initiative. As a PR expert, I think our industry needs to respond robustly.

IF you want to use Twitter to support your SEO, then absolutely follow Advertising Age’s advice. It makes sense. But note the emphasis on IF. If you go down this road, then just be aware that if  you decide to ‘leverage this new reach’ and start to ‘treat tweets like ads or landing pages’, then you lose the very thing that users of Twitter value – conversation. And if you lose that conversation, then you will lose followers.

It all gets back to thinking about your audience. If your influencers are engaged on Twitter (journalists, bloggers etc), then they are highly unlikely to retweet or reply to Twitter posts that are nothing more than keyword-optimised ads designed to push traffic and improve SEO. And consumer audiences? Yes, they do react to ads but that’s not Twitter’s strength – consumers love the interaction and conversation on Twitter, as it’s not replicated elsewhere.

The article advises: “In order to leverage this new reach, brands need to treat tweets like ads or landing pages. Have a meaningful call to action in your tweets or have a link to the brand site with more information. A simple message is not going to get your user to take action.”

Not every tweet does need to have a call to action. Reputation, influence and engagement are built by conversation, which includes retweeting good stuff from other brands, replying to other users, and commenting on relevant trends/news.

PR professionals, I think we need to work hard to ensure that we lead on Twitter and don’t lose the very things that make it so valuable.

And please note, I am not saying that SEO doesn’t matter. Of course it does. It’s just that not every single online activity should be about SEO. Reputation and engagement are just as important to building brands. Let’s not lose sight of that.

Am I alone on this? Have I misinterpreted the Advertising Age article? I don’t think I have but I’m sure my PR colleagues in the Twittersphere will let me know if I have. I really want to know, so tell me!

Kent, June 2014, Day 3: Sissinghurst

Of all the English Gardens in the National Trust’s portfolio, surely Sissinghurst is the best? Delicate, intricate and thoughtful, it’s a delight from start to finish.

The day I went, it was raining and I thought I was going to be out of luck but 20 minutes patience was rewarded with flowers showered with droplets of rain – perfect for up close photos.

When you go (as go you surely will at some point), I recommend starting with the vegetable garden. It’s great to see a traditional veg patch like this.

The local ice cream was superb too!

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By Carole Scott

Kent, June 2014, Day 2: Hole Park Gardens and Chapel Down Winery

Ah, summer. Long days, bees buzzing, flowers opening up for us to delight in their world of glorious colour. There is a good reason that millions of tourists flock to Kent in Southern England each year, from the UK and further beyond.

It is peppered with stunning gardens, all imaginatively created and beautifully maintained. I am the most dedicated of non-gardeners but even I feel a stirring of desire to be green-thumbed when I stroll by the abundant borders of an English Country Garden.

I know, I’m waxing lyrical and sound like a dotty old dear. But that’s the character that I became down in Kent last month. First on the agenda on my second day was Hole Park. Two minutes’ down the road, there was a summer fair, consisting of dozens of tents filled with delightful but expensive home lifestyle goodies. Did that and then after a gorgeous smoked salmon lunch, we meandered around the gorgeous gardens.

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After a wee rest back at base, we headed off to Chapel Down, the Winery. Wow! Amazing wines. I was really blown away by the quality. The sparkling was stunning and I was taken aback at how delicious the Chardonnay was, given that it’s not mine wine of choice. I highly recommend a trip there – friendly and information people, pretty vines, fascinating processes and superb tastings.

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By Carole Scott

Kent, June 2014, Day 1: Pashley Manor Gardens and Merriments Gardens

It has been decades since I spent a break down in Kent. At the beginning of June it was stunning. So many different flowers were out in bloom and I had – for the most part – brilliant weather.

We bought my Dad shares in a winery for his 70th (or a share of a vine in a winery), so he and his wife have been going down every June for the annual ‘thank you’ and wine pick up. This year they invited to join them and it was fantastic (more of that in Day 2).

I had a strong recommendation from my garden-loving friend Heather to visit Pashley Manor Gardens and it she hadn’t undersold it. Absolutely stunning – anywhere that balances flora and sculpture gets my vote. And the cakes were great too.

Here’s my edited highlights from the hundreds I took.

First in the day, Pashley Manor Gardens

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And then on to Merriments

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By Carole Scott

An Imposter? How many times in your life have you felt like one?

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I tend not to look back too much. Just the occasional nostalgia session with a friend when we reminisce about a holiday, a gig or party.

This afternoon I have found myself in a time warp. I’m taking part in an alumni Q&A tomorrow evening for an organisation called UNIQ. It organises summer schools for state school pupils who might find the idea of applying to Oxford daunting and / or out of their reach.

Nearly 30 years ago I was in that boat and nothing like UNIQ existed, so I’m happy to help out.

A politics teacher said I should have a go at applying for Oxford and my immediate reaction was ‘no way – definitely not bright enough, posh enough or rich enough.’

Despite feeling that way, I went for it and loved the whole process. Writing my notes today for my presentation tomorrow has reminded me of it all. What I intend to say to the 14 young men and women I’m meeting tomorrow is that I had a real fear of not fitting in. And for substantial chunks of time at Oxford I felt I didn’t – but it wasn’t a negative feeling. On the contrary I felt as if I had landed a starring role in my own movie. I was transported to a magical world that contained eccentrics, ancient buildings, fantastic minds and enriching friendships. Terms were short (just eight weeks), intense, and filled with escapades – drinking, acting, singing, debating.

The intensity brought with it anxiety (am I good enough? am I fun enough? am I anything enough?) but the good times will be with me forever and I am forever shaped by them. And it was, after all, a bit like a film, set against one of the most beautiful backdrops imaginable.

Academically, I am grateful for that part of my education. I put my mind through an intellectual pencil sharpener to emerge with a set of skills that I draw on constantly. I’m not a politician. I don’t earn a huge amount. On paper, I’m not the ‘success’ that might be expected of an Oxford student. But throughout my career I’ve used my ability to reason, argue, analyse and present time and again with huge success. The rigor of the tutorial system did that for me.

Writing my notes today I realised that I did absolutely fit in. Everyone did, that’s the point. The shy ones, the socialites, the socialists, the sporty ones, the aristocrats, the future politicians, the geeks, the true academics, the state school kids; we all had a place in the madhouse of Oxford, whether we could appreciate it at the time or not.

So, in a avalanche of nostalgia, thank you Oxford. You gave me three years I wouldn’t swap for all the money in the world!

By Carole Scott

 

 

 

Sydney or ‘take it to the bridge’ – a photo gallery

Finally, I’ve had a chance to edit some Sydney photos. I realise that out of the many I took, only a few merited editing. It’s one of those cities where the finger is on the shutter almost constantly when the bridge or Opera House are in view. Whittling down the many to the elected few is a tough task.

So here they are – my Sydney Selection 2014.

Must start with a pano of the view from The Macleay, proving my point (from the previous post) that paying a wee bit extra for a view is very much worth it.

© Carole Scott 2014
© Carole Scott 2014

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By Carole Scott

travel, pics & assorted thoughts from Carole Scott

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