It’s 7 a.m. You’re enjoying your morning cup of joe, preparing breakfast, and turning on your favorite morning show. One of the hosts shares a thought-provoking segment and you immediately tweet your social love for the story. Before you can put down your coffee, your iPhone is alerting you to dozens of Twitter RTs and favs. The story has gone viral.
The media is savvy to its audience’s need to digest, communicate and share bits of news and trending stories at all hours of the day. Learning to connect with media on Twitter can help you to pitch a story, idea or product. Now there are no guarantees that you’ll get a response on your first or 50th tweet, but knowing how to participate is a good first step.
Journalists and producers are using Twitter to engage with their audiences, track down stories, and build their personal brands. With approximately 255 million monthly active users, a 140-character tweet is one of the most valuable resources in the 21st century. In Oriella PR Network’s report, “The New Normal for News” it was reported that 59% of journalists worldwide currently use Twitter.
Most news organizations and television programs have Twitter accounts. You may have noticed a news anchor’s Twitter handle pop up on the bottom of your TV screen or the stream of live tweets shared during popular shows like FOX’s American Idol, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, and The Oscars. For the 2014 Oscars, an astounding 19.1 million tweets were viewed 3.3 billion times worldwide within a 48-hour window.
Rachael Ray, best known for her thirty-minute meals and her syndicated daytime talk show The Rachael Ray Show, which has 1.13 million Twitter followers, has used Twitter to connect with viewers since 2009. The show’s social media team shares a range of content, including recipes, segment highlights and scoop on guests. They also make social media fun by engaging their audience weekly. On “Tasty Tuesdays” viewers tag @RachaelRayShow and share what they’re cooking up on that day. As an intern for the show last summer, I thought it was fun to see that some of these recipes were featured on quick segments at the end of broadcasts.
Recently, I spoke with Rosanna Scotto, Co-anchor of WNYW’s Good Day New York, about her thoughts on Twitter as a tool. “I use Twitter to promote what’s coming up on the show,” she said. “It’s a great way to engage viewers during the show and gauge what’s working or what’s not.” With 37,400 followers @rosannascotto, Rosanna uses the hashtag #GDNY to engage viewers and share teasers on upcoming stories.
She also loves receiving instant feedback from her viewers. She recalled one of her favorite Twitter moments with me. Before a live airing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Rosanna and the Good Day New York crew spontaneously decided to play a game they created called, “spot the hipster.” They spotted a man walking by with facial hair, carrying a cup of coffee with a phone glued to his ear. They yelled “Oh, definitely a hipster!” while catching it all on camera. Instantly, viewers were tweeting Rosanna about how much they loved the segment. “I told my producer don’t pull the camera away let’s continue and play ‘spot the hipster’ throughout the show.”
Rosanna also added that Twitter makes it possible for viewers to give her helpful feedback, which, in turn, helps her to become a better journalist. She also uses Twitter for breaking news situations, but makes sure she is careful to avoid misinformation. “I have used it during the Boston Marathon bombings and other large breaking news events because you can get resources and information very quickly,” she said.
Twitter is also a valuable resource for media professionals behind the cameras like Ivy Charmatz @ivycharmatz, News 12 New Jersey’s Executive Producer of News and Special Projects. I am currently interning with News 12 New Jersey and had the chance to speak with Ivy about the ways she uses Twitter. “Twitter is a great way to reach a large group of people with a shared interest,” said Ivy. “People who follow me or News 12 New Jersey are interested in keeping up with what’s going on in our state. Twitter allows us an opportunity to share information quickly and very effectively.” Not only does Ivy like to use Twitter to research story ideas, she also uses it to interact with colleagues and viewers by incorporating popular hashtags into her tweets. “Hashtags are always changing, but two of my favorites are #NJOnTheRoad, which refers to News 12’s On The Road weekly summer series and #NJMorningShow,” she said. With approximately 9,000 users tweeting per minute, it’s possible for tweets to get lost in the timelines. “Using hashtags related to our shows gives viewers a chance to tweet about what they like or don’t like and for our producers and anchors to notice the tweets and respond,” she said.
Ivy also uses Twitter to connect with publicists. “There are several publicists I follow,” she said. “It’s great when we follow each other because it makes sending a direct message to follow up about something quick and easy.” The way we interact and how we receive information has changed drastically. Ivy thinks the social media network brings together people from different businesses. “If you have a great idea and you want to pitch it to me, you don’t have to try to find my email address or phone number,” she said. “When used the right way, Twitter has the ability to bring people and ideas together-140 characters at a time.”
No doubt, Twitter has become a powerful tool for media, and if you’re pitching a story, service or product it’s time to get tweeting.
Here are inBLOOM’s 5 tips for tweeting the media:
1. Follow media personalities on Twitter. Be cautious and watch out for fake accounts. A blue check next to their name will help you to know the account is official.
2. Pay attention to their activity. The more active they are on Twitter or the more personal their tweets are, you have a better chance of getting them to interact with you. Whether it’s a Q&A or live chat, take a chance and tweet them! You never know.
3. Use hashtags they use and retweet their tweets to your followers, especially if they’re promoting something about the show they’re on. If they ask a question, respond to their tweets with your thoughts. Believe it or not, they may remember you and follow you back. Just be sure to time your engagements well and don’t respond to every tweet.
4. Make your tweets stand out. Be humorous but respectful. Make them interesting because nobody wants to respond to a boring or tasteless tweet!
5. Timing is everything. Sending a random tweet won’t increase your chances of getting noticed. If you’re on at the same time they’re responding to viewers or fans, it’s a great time to reply because you know they’re online reading tweets at that moment.
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