I was finishing up college when Facebook exploded and I was all over it. What a fun way to interact with friends on the go, share pictures and create party invites! When Twitter came along, however, I was not on board.
But as a professional communicator, sitting on the sidelines of one of the most popular social media tools is not an option. The only question was, how to make myself get into it? Picking up where I first learned about social media, I gave it the old college try, literally!
When I had to write an open-scope paper in college, I always wrote about things I liked and had a good knowledge base about – which most often centered around rock & roll. For a speech class I wrote an awards speech for Bono and in an advertising class, I created a campaign to get the college generation interested in Bruce Springsteen.
So, a while back, that’s exactly how I approached Twitter – I followed what I love. With Bruce Springsteen currently on tour and all my vacation days dedicated to following him around, finding others who shared this same passion as me seemed like the best way to acclimate myself and most importantly, give me a reason to keep coming back.
To begin, I looked up people who hashtagged #Springsteen frequently and started to follow them. After observing for a bit, mainly following along with live setlists, I got over the “I don’t actually know you” hurdle and started to chime in with my thoughts on all things Springsteen. To my surprise, I quickly made friends with people from across the country due to our common love of Springsteen and music. I have even gone so far as to meet people when traveling to shows that have taken me everywhere from New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska.
This is all fine and good, but I’m sure you are asking, “Great, you made friends with some groupies, what about your day job?” That has not been lost on me.
I used my love of Springsteen to get myself comfortable with Twitter, and one of the perks was meeting some great people along the way. Once I crossed the hurdle and learned how to properly use Twitter on a “fun” level, I was able to use it for the “real world.”
As part of my role as a public relations strategist, I work with reporters on a daily basis. Following and interacting with reporters on Twitter has helped strengthen my relationships, allowing us a casual way to interact in short bursts and get to know a bit more about each other as people. Additionally, it lets me keep an eye out for reporters looking for stories, and see what’s going in newsrooms in real time.
While I still don’t use Twitter to the degree that some in this industry do, I am observing and engaging in the medium and making it work for me. Really, that’s all it takes.
What are some of the hurdles you’ve had to get over when wondering if Twitter will work for you, your audience or your message, and what might you do to find them and connect with them?
Rebecca Eckhart is a public relations account executive at Core Creative. She really has used all of her vacation to travel around catching The Boss in action this year. Shots of her incredible experiences can be found on http://instagram.com/sunskits. And be sure to follow her on Twitter @RebeccaEckhart.