Media and PR professionals often tweet about current and breaking news stories. When these tweets are sent in rapid succession from individuals at or involved with the news event, the individuals are “Live Tweeting”.
Live-tweet (v.): to engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time—anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours—with a sequence of focused Tweets. The focus can be a big live event that everybody's paying attention to (e.g. a TV show or an award show) or it can be an event you create yourself.
See Live Tweeting Explained for more tips on effective and professional live tweeting.
In a previous PRticle, I discussed how tweets have a unique ability to insert your message into targeted discussions: Using Twitter to Expand Your Social Media Reach. This characteristic of Twitter makes live tweeting an especially effective tool for creating buzz around a news event.
However, Tweets that are “spammed” from a solitary Twitter handle that contain boring statistics and repetitive hash-tags will often fall on deaf ears. If no one has ever heard of the Association of International Public Relations Interns, they are unlikely to go searching for #AIPRIreport or #AIPRI2012.
News outlets like @CNN or @BloombergTV have large Twitter followings, so tweeting them and including those hash-tags will insert your news event into a huge number of individual Twitter feeds. The key to standing out in those feeds is a unique, exciting tweet. The tweet must be differentiated from generic news tweets that would normally appear from those outlets.
- Avoid tweets that only contain statistics and hash-tags.
- Don’t be afraid to include exclamations like “wow.” Giving your tweets a personal and informal voice is important, but you should avoid unprofessional misspelling and slang.
- If you’re at an event in-person, twitpic! Pictures are worth 1,000 words. Use them to share that which would normally go amiss in 140 characters.
- Tweet from multiple handles. Use your personal handle as well as organization handles and/or client handles. Avoid tweeting the same tweets repetitively.
- Target your tweets to media related to the event. They likely have followers who are interested in your story, and seeing live tweets may prompt them to seek more information.