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I’ll admit, I’m a relative rookie when it comes to Twitter. I just started really participating and engaging a few weeks ago. But, in that short amount of time, I feel like I’ve learned as much or more than I have during entire college courses. Or, even some of my post-grad classes for that matter. Hey, Chris Brogan said it best–maybe you don’t have to go back to school to hone certain key skills you need for your dream job today.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been informally compiling a list of Minnesota-based PR and communications professionals who author blogs or are engaging on Twitter. Lately, I’ve found myself asking “Gee, I wonder if X is on Twitter.” Or, “What other MN-based blogs can I link to or follow and learn from?”
How did you choose the pic for your avatar? Did you struggle with your choice? Did you go with a straight head shot? A cartoon? Or, maybe a random graphic?
It’s ridiculous to even infer that there is any limit to Peter Shankman’s brilliance. For full disclosure, not he’s not paying me. I’m not a long-lost relative. And I’m not a personal friend.
But I am a fan. A big fan.
For those of you who were online late last week, you know @skydiver held giveways literally every 10 minutes for those unfortunate souls stuck in the office on Christmas and the day after Christmas. Genius idea. Great for Shankman (he got to de-clutter his desk) and key to HARO’s future success. Why?
1–He catered to his key audience. @skydiver now has 19,000-plus followers on Twitter. How many do you think were working Thurs/Fri? I’m guessing more than a few. How many of those folks work in media relations/PR? I can’t speak for the media folks, but we PR peeps need all the free stuff we can get. Most importantly, he knew his audience of Tweeple would all be experiencing a slow work day so he’d have their undivided attention. He knew his audience, understood their frustrations (working on Christmas-big bummer) and needs (free stuff) and what would pique their interest. Hmmm…media relations colleagues, sound familiar?
2–He created a whole new legion of HARO followers, believers and advocates. If you visit shankman.com you’ll see his first-hand account of his original plan for the giveaway and the initial reaction. After his announcement on Christmas Eve, he suddenly had 400 new Twitter followers. That’s 400 more people to help spread the HARO message and further the HARO–and Shankman–brand. Pretty stellar result for someone who was just trying to de-clutter his desk by giving away some SWAG on a holiday.
3–He knows the word-of-mouth game. The brilliance behind this idea: the bulk of the folks who won those giveaways last week were media/PR types, right? Guess what the lion’s share of media/PR types like to do? Communicate. Especially about products, services and experiences they’ve won recently. You’re telling me whoever won that trip to Tahoe or those blacksmithing lessons isn’t going to be talking about that to their friends, family and colleagues for the next six months. Great way to introduce the brands of the companies who donated items to the Tweeple masses and Shankman followers–creating a whole new slew of brand champions for these organizations.
4–He’s not afraid to try new things. For a day-and-a-half, Peter held the giveaway all on Twitter. Enter @brianshaler. Suddenly, we had a live stream of “two guys and a couch” (if you followed, you understand that reference). For those of you who know or have met @skydiver, he’s an engaging fellow, which is why the video was so powerful. In a matter of minutes, it went from online giveaway to interactive entertainment experience. Not all of it was riveting. But it was funny, human (you could actually see him realizing he messed up with the final answer) and honest (can’t hide from the camera). In any case, the real lesson here is he wasn’t afraid to try something new on the fly (fairly sure he wasn’t planning to do that–then again, I could be wrong). As companies navigate this unsettled economy, they may start implementing strategies and tactics they once thought to be impossible, ineffective or risky to build their brands or jump-start revenues. Like Shankman, these organizations are going to take risks and try new approaches to reach their key audiences.
What do you think? Smart move by @skydiver? Lame self-promotional stunt? Typical Shankman? Or pure genius?