PR and Twitter: Your Own CIO—Chief Information Officer

Nov 05 2009

I have written often about all the reasons I use Twitter—and the list continues to grow.  The most important way I use Twitter is in the strategy of who I follow and what I keep up with.  For example, I follow the national and local media on Twitter, other professionals in my industry and most importantly my clients and thought leaders in my clients’ industries. Not a day goes by that I don’t get the “ROI” (return on investment) question.  My perspective on this as it relates to Twitter is based on the understanding that for me, Twitter is all about getting real time, great information as well as communicating with those that can add value to your life and business.  So often I come back with this question: How can you measure the ROI of conversation? Isn’t that what’s at the “heart” of social media?  Don’t we all use conversation to generate revenue in most businesses? 


 As I work with clients in the traditional space of PR and marketing we are increasingly applying social media strategies mainly to their communications and PR efforts. Through this dynamic and rapidly changing process, I often find myself doubting, questioning my own opinions and challenging my brain to think differently—as a skeptic of social media.  That is a difficult thing for someone who loves “conversation.” So, as a communicator and advocate of using social media for business, I am committed to think seriously about the other side of the coin and—by doing so—I am becoming better at my pitch and persuasion tactics. One thing I will tell you for sure is that the internet is not going away and as social media will continue to evolve, but today I read that 42 million women use social media and they are the consumers most corporations need to reach!


So here are the top skeptical comments brought straight to you by real life experience:


Skeptic 1: “Twitter is a Time Waster”

My Common Response:  It certainly can be, but it can also be a time saver as it will help you organize information and easily sort out what you want to see, find what you need and monitor what your customers are doing. (Ah-ha! That will start the questions)


Skeptic 2:  “I mean, who cares what you are drinking, eating, going to…I mean I don’t even care what other people do! Who wants to know that stuff?”

My Common Response: Absolutely true! You should only follow those that give you information you want. (Huh? This usually results in raising of eyebrows, scratching of head, more spamming of questions) People who say this obviously are not on Twitter and have no idea how much information (information + communication = profit) that can be derived from being on Twitter.


Skeptic 3:  “I don’t even have time to answer all my e-mail much less Twitter!”

My Common Response: You can answer 10,000 people at one time. Can’t pay for that kind of word of mouth advertising, huh?




Skeptic 4:  “That chatter out there is too noisy and I have no idea what I’d say”

My Common Response: How about finding 500 of your best clients, friends and prospects and saying what you know is great about your business?  (hmmm…they are thinking about all the money they spent on print advertising maybe)


Skeptic 5: “Nobody can measure the ROI of social media”

My Common Response:  Do you value communication and efficiency in mass spreading of information for your business?


Skeptic 6: “Most companies aren’t using social media and many are opting out of it”

My Common Response: Thanks to Twitter, I can show you many examples of those that are using social media successfully and I can get you real time stats on what corporations are doing right now in the social media space (Did I mention Twitter is my CIO—Chief Information Officer)


Skeptic 7:  “It’s a fad like all other technology”

My Common Response: The internet is not a fad. Then I whip out the latest article in the NYTimes about growing trends in social media (amazing how quoting the NYTimes can help with persuasion: Oh and I just saw on Twitter that they now have over 2 million followers!)


Skeptic 8:  “I don’t have time”

My Common Response: Neither do I


Skeptic 9:  “I don’t like people knowing so much about me”

My Common Response: Control your message (As I say all the time, be careful what you post on the internet. Comments are 3 things: Global, Permanent, and Discoverable—as in a court of law).


Skeptic 10:  “I don’t get it and I don’t want to”

My Common Response: OK, let’s find you somebody who does (often times if we can find a social media champion, we can at least get businesses to monitor what’s going on).


If Twitter is anything to me and my clients, it’s easily a monitoring tool and, for me, it’s information that I use daily: news, trends, best practices, great blogs by smart people, statistics, great resources, etc.  It’s like having your own Chief Information Officer!