According to social media blogger Jamie Turner, Twitter is one of the “Top 52 Social Media Platforms Every Marketer Should Know” (http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2010/04/09/top-52-social-media-platforms/). With the increasing popularity of social media, Twitter has become a “surprisingly successful tool” for public relations professionals, and is widely adopted and used by companies, organizations, and interested publics to communicate with one another. Twitter is used as a social media tool for everything from business to contests and prizes. As one of the top social media platforms, Twitter has become a key leader in the world of social media and is used by large segments of the population, including institutions of higher education.
With over 23,000 followers, Texas Tech’s official Twitter page (http://twitter.com/#!/texastech/) is a great example of how institutions of higher education can successfully implement this social media platform in order to build, maintain, and enhance relationships with students, prospects, alumni, and other stakeholders. More recently, Texas Tech used Twitter to communicate with primary publics regarding an incident involving suspicious activity on campus in which the TTU Police Department received a report of an individual carrying a rifle. Following a thorough search, the individual was located and it was verified that the individual was carrying an ROTC dummy rifle. After the investigation was complete and the situation was resolved, Texas Tech posted three tweets relaying updated information about the incident within a 25 minute time period. The university also tweeted direct replies addressing concerns from key publics in regard to the situation and the manner in which it was handled.
Overall, from a public relations perspective, I am pleasantly surprised by Texas Tech’s active utilization of Twitter as a social media tool to facilitate engaging conversations, promote involvement in TTU events and campus activities, and provide news, updates, and information to interested publics. Furthermore, Texas Tech uses Twitter to promote the university’s presence on other social media platforms and encourage publics to connect with TTU on all of its official social media sites. Texas Tech also uses Twitter as customer service tool to effectively meet the needs of target publics by promptly responding to both positive and negative tweets, providing answers to questions regarding TTU, and directly addressing any concerns raised by publics via Twitter.