Digital PR is still a hugely valuable channel for businesses that want to raise awareness of their brand and build new links to their website. Twitter can be a goldmine for new PR opportunities and access to PR assets; here, we’ll explain how we use Hootsuite to mine Twitter for PR gain.
What is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is a social media management tool. It promotes the fact that it can be used to manage multiple social networks in one place, and that the paid version enables teams to work together to manage those accounts, so everyone has access.
For us, the main benefit of Hootsuite lies not in multiple channel management, but in more effective management of Twitter.
For anyone who uses Twitter, you’ll know that managing the extensive home feed can be a challenge – there are constantly new updates and it can be tough to sift through to find what really matters to you. Therefore, Hootsuite’s stream set up and the ability to view content on a segmented basis is incredibly helpful – and can help surface new opportunities for your business.
Getting started with Hootsuite streams
The first thing to do is to set up a new account over at www.hootsuite.com. You’ll need to login using your Twitter login details. Your new account will look something like this:
From here, click on ‘home’ and you’ll have your first stream. This is a stream to show everything on Twitter – the main home feed.
Other streams we recommend creating are:
Brand mention stream
To do this, click ‘add stream’ (which is now at the top of the ‘home’ stream) and choose ‘search’. Enter the search term you want to monitor.
I love to skydive and do so at a place called Skydive Langar; if they were setting up a search, I’d advise they search for:
“skydivelangar” OR “skydive langar” OR “skydivelanger” OR “skydive langer” OR “bpslangar” OR “british parachute schools”
Note here the use of advanced search operators – the use of quotation marks indicates I want to see these words in this format and this order, and the use of OR in capitals says I want to see any of these mentions. I’ve also added common misspellings of ‘Langar’ and also their old brand name ‘British Parachute Schools”. You too can include variations of your brand name in your search.
Product mention stream
Add a new ‘search’ stream and use it to search for mentions of your product.
Using the example above again, Skydive Langar might set up searches for skydiving, skydiving centre, skydive, skydive course, AFF, tandem skydiving, charity skydiving and so on.
It’s up to you whether you lump similar terms together into one stream using the OR operator, or have separate streams for each (though you are limited to 10 in total, so best to lump them together where you can).
When you see people talking about your product/services, you have an opportunity to reach someone who is interested in what you do but not necessarily aware of you yet. See what they’re saying; if it’s a question about the product/service, respond. Are they expressing an opinion about it (“I love skydiving!”), contribute to the conversation. They might even be asking where they can buy your product/service, which is a great time for you to let them know where you are.
Location mention stream
Add a new ‘search’ stream to follow mentions of your location, or the hashtags you know are used by your location.
For example, we’re based in Nottingham so we might want to set up searches for Nottingham, the surrounding areas and ‘#nottingham’, which is used by various authorities and followers of Nottingham news. We also have an office in London, so we’d do the same there.
By setting up a location stream, you can stay aware of what’s topical and newsworthy in your locality.
Using streams to identify PR opportunities
So how does this all tie in to PR?
More and more PR professionals, journalists and businesses in general are using Twitter to interact with one another, and to make requests for PR content too.
There are two very commonly used hashtags which you’ll want to start following using a stream on Hootsuite. These are:
Both of these hashtags are used by journalists to put out requests for comments, data, insights or interviewees. By responding to these requests, you can gain yourself some free coverage and potentially some new links to your business website.
Because these hashtags are so widely used, there are a lot of tweets that contain them; to make it easier to sift through these tweets, set up custom search streams using advanced search operators.
For example, we work with a holiday cottage brand, so for them, our search would look something like this:
#prrequest OR #journorequest AND “holiday cottage” OR “holiday cottages” OR “cottage holiday” AND “new forest”
Note here how we’re using boolean search to add specificity to our search, which means the only tweets we’d see here would be relevant to our client.
Putting out your own PR requests
We’ve found Twitter to be a hotbed for PR comments that we need, as well as for us to respond to.
To give an example, we spent some time last week responding to a news story that showed Nottingham to be among the top most entrepreneurial cities in the UK. We used Twitter, via Hootsuite, and put out a request using #PRrequest and #JournoRequest to find entrepreneurs in the top entrepreneurial cities of Nottingham, Brighton and Manchester, asking them to provide us with comments on why their city is so entrepreneurial and how their location has affected their own business growth.
We were inundated with replies, which we gathered into a document and saved in a Drive folder alongside photos of the respondents. We then pitched this in to various business websites and publications as a story, which has already gained a number of high quality backlinks for us and for some of our clients, too. All of this was made possible – and quick – using Hootsuite.
Using Hootsuite to promote your PR stories
We also find Hootsuite a useful tool when it comes to promoting our PR stories.
By setting up streams to pull out mentions of our story or related topics, we can find people who are already interested in it and then reach out directly to them – and their followers – to promote it. We can also retweet and like those who are engaging with our content, helping it to spread further.
Obviously, Hootsuite is one of many tools we use as a business to create and capitalise on PR opportunities. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business grow through PR, check out our digital PR page or get in touch today.