By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator Of PrPro And Owner Of Energy PR

Twitter’s reached its sixth birthday last week. It has 7 million active users in the UK. Lady Gaga has just tipped the 20 million Twitter follower mark and the Independent published a Twitter top 100 most influential list.

Despite these impressive numbers, the vast bulk of businesses are still not sure what Twitter is for, or how to behave on it. Even major brands, which frankly should know better, are getting Twitter wrong. For instance there was a social media hullaballoo after a blog can you spot the difference by British jewellery design firm Tatty Devine accused high street store Claire’s Accessories of copying its designs. Tweet after tweet by Tatty Devine’s followers (and those who followed them) berated Claire’s and linked to the blog. Despite the swirling social media furore, Claire’s Accessories didn’t respond to its tweeting critics and actually removed posts from its Facebook page.

While this is an extreme example of how not to do it, far too many businesses are getting Twitter wrong. It’s not so much that they’re ignoring the people who are talking to or about them; it’s more that they are not encouraging the conversations in the first place. They treat Twitter as a way to ‘broadcast their stuff’ - their results, their CEO, their interview with the media, their latest product or sponsorship. It’s all about THEM. They don’t seem to pause and ask themselves ‘why are people following us on Twitter? What are they hoping to get out of this experience, how can we serve them?’ Oh no, followers are for them to talk ‘at’ rather than listen to.

Well sorry, but as Claire’s Accessories has found, Twitter is a two way street… it’s a conversation, and conversations only work when both parties are prepared to listen and respond.

Neither sticking your head in the sand nor holding up a megaphone are Twitter strategies. Indeed — dare we say it - they’re just poor imitations!

Louise has two businesses to help get your PR motoring:

For more PR training and tools so you can do your own PR visit www.prpro.co.uk

If you are looking for a great PR agency visit www.EnergyPR.co.uk

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