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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!

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

Hand-drawn map of Oxford

My friend Jane Tomlinson is a wonderful water colour and acryllics painter.

In recent years she has added hand-drawn maps to her canon of work. They are proving  popular and shops in the towns she draws love stocking them.

Jane’s next project is a mighty map of Oxford. She has just posted that it is due to be finished in October. She has featured me (I went to St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford) and so that means it’s a done deal that I’ll be buying a few for family gifts!

Here’s the original photo she asked me to send:

Me in 1991 - so young!
Me in 1991 – so young!

Personal appearances aside, it really will be a fantastic souvenir of Oxford if you visit, have a connection but are no longer here or want a very English gift for friends abroad.

Here’s Jane’s update post.

Back to San Francisco: Hills and happiness

Two months ago I jetted off to California. I’m red-faced that it has taken so long to catch up on writing about this wonderful state. I blame job interviews, novel completion and a holiday to Italy.

After a long break, I am back and determined to recapture the glorious days of sunshine and friendship that I revelled in back in May.

As a quick recap, I started off with a weekend of drinking and hiking with my darling cousin, before driving up Route 1 to Humboldt county to marvel at the redwoods.

I returned to San Francisco for an epic ten days of sight-seeing, family get togethers and wine. My good friend Heather joined me and we had four days before my Aunt and Uncle arrived in from Atlanta. We both wanted to pace ourselves but somehow we both end up squeezing every last drop there is to be had from a place – in a nice, happy go lucky way, though!

I picked her up from the airport and that first night typified the San Francisco experience beautifully. We meandered down to Polk St and found our way to Dunya, a gorgeous Mediterranean place. A couple of craft beers were ours as we waited at the bar for a table. We shared with four guys and the minute they clocked our accents, they wanted to know where we came from. I love the friendliness of San Francisco and we had a great time talking about music. They were musicians; we love music. It was a lovely introduction to the openness and warmth of San Francisco life. They were playing the Red Devil Lounge that night – we didn’t make it (jet lag!) but it was nice to be offered the VIP list.

Our sight-seeing began in earnest on Saturday morning. We headed for the trolley stop right outside our front door (top tip – the visitor transit pass is superb value – a single ride on a historic trolley car is $6 but a week long pass for them and all buses/muni was just $28) and waited for that happy ‘ding ding’. Heather is a sucker for a great musical so she couldn’t resist channelling Judy Garland and it became our theme tune for the week.

We went first to Telegraph Hill, as it seemed obvious that Coit Tower – a ‘must see’  – would be a great place to get our bearings with its wonderful views of the city and bay. On the way, we chanced upon gorgeous houses which we could only dream of owning, and stairway garden after stairway garden. Here’s a selection of snaps from that morning.

Coit Tower was a great visit. The views were superb but it was the murals and the discovery of my first of many great ladies of San Francisco that made it for me. First the murals. Supervised by Diego Rivera and painted by tens of artists, they are stunning. They depict life in the early 30s. I only captured a few but if you ever go to San Francisco, this place should be on your list.

And the ‘great lady’? Throughout my trip to San Francisco, I was impressed by the number of unconventional and interesting women who helped make the city. Lillie Hitchcock was the first. She smoked cigars and wore trousers long long before it was acceptable to do so. She also loved gambling and disguised herself as a man so she could do so. The best thing was that she helped firefighters out when she was fifteen, and ended up as the mascot of the fire crew. The tower was built from money she left to the city. She sounds one hell of a woman – has anyone written a novel about her I wonder?

From Telegraph Hill it was on to Russian Hill, which for me promised not just Lombard Street but even better, Macondray Lane, the inspiration for Armistead Maupin’s Barbary Lane in the Tales of the City Series. It was just joyful wandering around this part of the city and if I ever win the Lottery, I think I may just have to buy a room with a view there!

Here are my Russian Hill pics:

Our day ended at Grace Cathedral. We couldn’t spend long, as a wedding was about to start but what I saw, I liked. From the outside, I kept remembering the weird and wonderful cannabalism plotline from ‘More Tales of the City’ but once inside, it was all about the art, lighting and the warm words of welcome.

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Next time, SFMOMA, further adventure in Pinot Noir and back to the bridge.

By Carole Scott