We are bringing back our beloved PR Profile series, but this time we are giving it a little upgrade. Each month, you can expect an in depth interview on what these top PRos do exceptionally well. From creating a strong media relations strategy to the benefits of implementing Twitter chats for your brand, we will have all the answers to your questions with takeaways on how to implement these tactics yourself.
Kicking off this series is none other than Michelle Garrett. You may know her from her incredible social media presence, but she has seen both sides of the coin being that she is also a writer as well for publications like Ragan’s PR Daily, Entrepreneur, and many others. She can be found at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. Michelle was named the sixth most influential PR professional by Commetric in April 2021 and a Top Digital PR Leader in 2020.
Within this blog, we talk to Michelle about where to start as a PR professional if you’re new to social media, her take on social authenticity, and her best tips for building relationships via social media.
Read below for the entire interview with Michelle:
1.) We know you’ve got quite the following on Twitter. When did you start your account and what made you get on Twitter initially?
April 2009. I joined Twitter because I was participating in a Startup Weekend event here in Columbus, Ohio. I was working on our team’s PR strategy so I signed up for Twitter as part of that.
2.) A lot of people get nervous about posting because they don’t know where to start or what to talk about. What advice would you give to people who feel this way?
First of all, don’t be nervous. It IS possible to be active on Twitter and avoid the drama that some experience. I’d say if you’re uncertain at first, that’s probably normal. It can take a little time to find your “voice.” That’s OK. Experiment. See what tweets resonate. One great way to start getting to know others is to attend a Twitter chat or two. People there are usually pretty welcoming and friendly. And, if you’re answering questions on a chat, you may be less worried about saying the wrong thing.
3.) How would you define social authenticity?
Being true to yourself. I think it’s best if you’re yourself – on social media or off.
4.) You’re active on your account and are always posting great tips and tricks. How have your consulting efforts benefitted since cultivating a following on Twitter?
While I didn’t necessarily set out to get more work from being active on Twitter, it has worked out that way. I get more opportunities now via Twitter than any other social media platform. I think people get to know me when they follow me. If they like what I share, they may be more interested in contacting me about a project.
5.) For those PRos who aren’t active or present on Twitter, what would be your elevator pitch to getting them to be more engaged on their account?
I’d say to PR pros who aren’t active on Twitter – you’re missing out. You’re missing out on media opportunities for your clients, for one thing, because MANY journalists are actively looking for sources there. You’re also missing out on a FABULOUS community of other PR pros, from whom you can learn and gain support. I strongly believe in Twitter and use it in so many ways in my work.
6.) What benefits have you seen professionally and/or personally from your social presence?
Wow, countless. I’ve made connections via Twitter that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve found sources for many of my articles there. I’ve learned so much. I’ve been approached about opportunities – like PR Lunch Hour on Twitter Spaces – that wouldn’t otherwise have happened. I’ve also made a lot of friends. I have a lot of fun there – we laugh a lot. For me, as someone who works as a solo practitioner, it’s my water cooler, my source of sanity.
7.) What are your top three tips for creating a following on Twitter?
- Twitter isn’t just about posting. You need to engage with others in order to build a following.
- Be consistent. Keep showing up. I was just thinking about people I’ve known on Twitter who were once very active – then just sort of disappeared. If you’re there consistently, people will get to know you and interact with you.
3) Attend Twitter chats.
- Find a chat or two you enjoy (not every chat is a fit for every person) and attend those regularly. You’ll gain followers – and friends. You’ll get to share what you know and learn from others.
8.) What’s your #1 tip for building relationships via Twitter?
Engagement. You have to care about others and show them that.
9.) Do you use Twitter to boost your PR efforts with journalists? If so, how do you go about cultivating that relationship with a journalist?
Yes. I start by following the journalist. Then I like and comment on their posts. Sometimes you can get on their radar by engaging with them on something that’s completely outside of what they cover. For example, maybe they’ve posted about their pet or a trip they’ve taken. If you relate to something they say, it will feel more natural to respond. A couple of points here – don’t overdo it. And don’t be creepy about it.
10.) What’s the best piece of PR advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?
Just one? It’s PR – not the ER. That’s my current favorite.
BONUS: we saw that coffee is your love language. What’s your go-to order?
I *love* caramel macchiatos in the summer – and flat whites in the colder weather.
Social media is a fantastic tool that PR professionals should be active on. No matter what stage you are in your career, you can benefit from connecting with journalists and being receptive to their requests for sources via social media, especially Twitter.
We have a lot of exciting guests coming up on this series that we can’t wait to share with you. To make sure you don’t miss any of our next guests and topics, subscribe to our monthly newsletter that will highlight each profile plus additional blogs that include PR tips, tricks, and best practices.
Also, make sure you subscribe to Coffee with a Journalist to hear more in-depth interviews from journalists themselves as they talk about their PR pet peeves, their favorite types of sources, how to best pitch them and so much more!