One of the most frequently asked questions at PRSA and other professional networking events these days is, “Do you use Twitter?”
Granted, social media is a hot topic. Companies are using social media to market products, manage their public image, and build customer loyalty via YouTube channels and Facebook pages.
Local TV newsrooms urge viewers to become fans on Facebook and upload images of breaking news and current events to the station’s Flickr page.
Celebrities and politicians alike have embraced Twitter as a way to manage their visibility and raise awareness of their activities.
But not everyone is on board.
In fact, when I answer that yes, I do use Twitter on a daily basis, most PR and HR professionals alike are quick to dismiss it as a fad and something that has little relevance to the “business” of communications.
Look, I know all the arguments against using Twitter as an employee communications tool:
- “It’s a time-waster.”
- “My employees are on the shop floor/at the service counter and don’t sit at a computer all day.”
- “What if someone Tweets a profanity?”
- “Who cares what Ashton Kutcher is doing?” (OK, that one is mine.)
- “Where is the ROI?”
All of these are valid arguments against adopting Twitter as an employee communications tool. Sure, I can cite you companies that are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yammer and a myriad of other social media tools as part of their comprehensive employee communications tool kit. But you’ve heard those arguments before and you still aren’t convinced.
So let me tell you how I use Twitter: as a professional development and research tool.
There are some great resources out there that Tweet the latest workplace statistics and communication research findings. I follow them and scan their Tweets to see if there is anything I can use to help one of my clients or even prepare me for a pitch to a new client.
There are professional and educational organizations, as well as industry experts, who offer free training, either via informational blogs or webinars and live chats. I participate in as many as I can and apply that knowledge to the projects I’m supporting.
And there are recruiters and professional organizations that Tweet job openings and tips for effective resume development and interviewing. I share those leads with friends and clients who are actively (or passively!) looking for work.
Communicators, it’s time to stop dithering and board the Twitter Express, if for no other reason than to prepare you for the day when you are out on the job market again. After all, when was the last time you saw a PR or communications job posting that didn’t require expertise in social media?
Susan C. Rink is principal of Rink Strategic Communications, which helps clients take their employee communications to the next level. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RinkComms