Like most industries, public relations has exploded in the social media world, and in particular, on Twitter – which, given its built-in self-promotional qualities, is the perfect medium for PR professionals to promote clients. But it’s also a place to pick up their sharp marketing insights that, before Twitter, you’d have to sit through a lunch to collect.
From agency heads to social media flacks to journalists that cover them, there are plenty of worthy PR Twits to follow. Note: This list is by no means definitive; it’s intended to be a starting point, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the PR industry. Also, we’ve largely focused on agencies and independent PR pros here, as opposed to the hundreds of wonderful in-house executives at major media companies whose tweets you should also follow.
Here are 20, in no particular order:
Why you should follow: For better or worse, Grubman, principal of Grubman PR & Management, put the public relations industry on the map in 2001 by crashing her SUV into a crowd of people in the Hamptons, and, later, through her “Power Girls” reality show on MTV. You might not want to follow Grubman on Twitter -- you just sorta have to.
Notable clients: Britney Spears, Diddy
Recent sample tweet: “I'm tired of ungrateful people!”
Why you should follow: Evans’ Sevans Strategy is a public relations and new media consultancy, and it’s “her personal mission to engage and employ the use of emerging technologies in all communication that connects her with a rapidly growing base of more than 45,000 people.” Oh, and she was named one of “America’s Tweethearts” by Vanity Fair and to Forbes’ “14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter” list. So there.
Notable Clients: Radio Shack, Macy's
Recent sample tweet: “What are your thoughts on a company who monitors all of their employees' social media use?”
Why you should follow: Sterne is the founder and CEO of Ground Report, a social news platform, and Upward Strategy, a digital strategy firm. In other words, miles ahead of the curve.
Notable Clients: The Aspen Institute
Recent sample tweet: “Twitterati: What kind of policy changes could support entrepreneurial journalism?”
Why you should follow: A household name -- if your house is in Silicon Valley (or Alley, for that matter). Hammerling launched BrewPR “to provide media relations and strategy and networking to amazingly cool companies in the tech space.”
Notable Clients: Sony, Zynga, Lovefilm.com
Recent sample tweet: “Amazing how many teenagers I meet who are asking for Blackberries vs. IPhones specifically for BBM. Nothing more. Just the BBM.”
Why you should follow: Rubel, the "director of insights" for Edelman’s digital division, is widely known in media, social media and public relations circles. Another ahead-of-the-curve visionary -- no wonder he’s followed by 45,000 people without the help of Oprah.
Recent sample tweet: “How Steve Slater Is Stifling JetBlue's Social-Media Strategy http://ow.ly/2nQqu”
Why you should follow: Himler, an executive at Flatiron Communications and chairman of the Publicity Club of New York, also runs a blog about public relations called the Flack. His tweets are timely, informed and (usually) refreshingly devoid of pitches.
Recent sample tweet: “My buddy Howard Bragman reportedly nabs Jet Blue "star" Steve Slater as PR client.”
Why you should follow: Here’s her Twitter bio: “I’m in PR. The invisible gatekeeper. The story spinner. Your representation. Cooking up news when there is none. I’m a “Biter.” I ♥ what I do.”
Notable clients: HP
Recent sample tweet: “How to measure your brand's social media health - Mashable http://bit.ly/9snXk5 <-- good one to pass around the office.”
Why you should follow: Ciarallo, who was the launch editor of Mediabistro’s PRNewser blog, recently left to become the director of communications at Buddy Media, a firm that specializes in digital branding for companies looking to tame Facebook and, yep, Twitter.
Recent sample tweet: “I feel bad for the PR person whenever I get one of those ‘CORRECTION’ press releases right after the initial release.”
Why you should follow: Crenshaw, CEO of Crenshaw Communications, has a ton of experience in consumer, damage control, worked at Edelman and has run her own shop for 15 years.
Notable clients: Starbucks, Microsoft, Adidas
Recent sample tweet: “Who Should Own Social Media? http://bit.ly/9s5dJe”
Why you should follow: Cincinnati-based Dugan is not a massive player in the public relations business, but is incredibly smart on the big PR picture, including social media.
Recent sample tweet: “The Press Release (A rant. For immediate release.) http://bit.ly/9RSfnK”
Why you should follow: Principal of Silicon Valley’s FutureWorks agency, Solis “is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing.” At least, that’s what his website says.
Notable clients: IFC, Budweiser, Interscope, Def Jam
Recent sample tweet: “Please Repeat: Influence is not Popularity http://bit.ly/94lAxs”
Why you should follow: Because Pickard, president and CEO at Burson-Marsteller in Asia-Pacific, gives you a thoughtful, international perspective on public relations.
Notable clients: Microsoft, Nissan
Recent sample tweet: “The rise of Asia in the world of PR http://bit.ly/9RjkeW”
Why you should follow: Chupick is a public relations/social media strategist at Crenshaw Communications and the co-editor of Mediabistro’s widely-read PRNewser blog. Chupick offers a steady stream of consciousness and Foursquare check-ins. And it says here he loves cocktails.
Recent sample tweet: “People are disregarding "adult" stuff when pundiating about location-based social ... Grindr is crushing it, for obvious reasons.”
Why you should follow: Darabi -- ranked 53rd on Fast Company’s most creative person in business list -- is a digital media strategist and co-founder and leader of Foodspotting, a new mobile media company targeting foodies.
Recent sample tweet: “For me, laziness used to mean downloading music off [N]apster, and now it means purchasing it on iTunes.”
Why you should follow: Morris, partner principal at Morris + King in New York, is a catch-all for pointing you to all of the must-read social media and PR articles you miss while fooling around on Twitter all day.
Notable clients: AOL, CNBC, DreamWorks Music
Recent sample tweet: “Whoa! 2348 panel ideas for SXSW?! Where to start? http://myloc.me/aqNal”
Why you should follow: Kay, president of San Diego-based RKPR, offers the Left Coast (but no less caffeinated) perspective on PR and media issues.
Notable clients: Cinnabon, Coromega
Recent sample tweet: “Feeling reporter angst. Asked great resource for PR pros for interview, they asked for ?s, I put together, now they don't respond. How Rude.”
Why you should follow: Defren, principal at Shift Communications, a $12 million agency of 100 self-proclaimed "PR geeks" serving big clients like Virgin Mobile, also runs the excellent PR-Squared blog. A lot of knowledge there.
Notable clients: Virgin Mobile, Bing, Oakley, Quiznos
Recent sample tweet: “How I screwed up and lost a valued employee. http://bit.ly/aIfv2y”
Amy Jo Martin
Why you should follow: Martin was named one of the "20 Best-Branded Women" on Twitter. Her Digital Royalty agency helps sports stars -- like Shaquille O'Neal -- and teams like the Chicago White Sox leverage and traverse the wild world of social media. Forget royalty -- that's noble.
Notable clients: Shaq, UFC, White Sox
Recent sample tweet: "What do you do with inappropriate facebook comments? Especially politically-charged ones. New Post: http://bit.ly/bDIuU0"
Why you should follow: Hoffman is the head of the tech-focused, San Jose-based Hoffman Agency – and often tweets about the intersection of media and Silicon Valley.
Recent sample tweet: “Journalists jumping fence to #PR bring great expertise but making first job VP of Comms at HP will be sobering experience for Ms. Guglielmo”
Why you should follow: Dietrich is the CEO of Chicago-based Arment Dietrich and author of Spinsucks.com, a website that takes up “the fight against destructive spin.” A noble fight that is.
Recent sample tweet: “Have kids? Watch this social media video question to me from a five-year-old http://su.pr/4IdDf5”
Why you should follow: Sosnow is the managing director at BlissPR, a New York-based b-to-b firm. Sosnow’s tweets are informative, and she goes the extra, transparent mile in pointing out when she’s pimping a client.
Recent sample tweet: "'How To Head Off The Steven Slater In Your Organization' by our client Scott Spreier via Forbes.com http://bit.ly/bBn1ZQ"
Why you should follow: A self-proclaimed “digital girl,” “digital influencer” and “Internet lover,” Roy -- senior manager of new media at Coach Inc. -- serves up a stream of tweets as short and pithy as her surname, and most are not about handbags.
Recent sample tweet: "A Proposed Facebook “Meh” Button http://tumblr.com/xzag35q74"
Why you should follow: Odden, CEO of TopRank marketing, tweets about online and content marketing topics “flavored with SEO, PR & Social Media.” It may not be advisable to “flavor” your tweets with SEO, but if anyone can make that interesting, it’s Odden.
Notable clients: HP, PRWeb
Recent sample tweet: “Twitter's ‘Tweet’ tool is sucking just a little bit right now.”
Why you should follow: Armano is senior vice president at Edelman Digital, the interactive arm of global communications giant Edelman. He also has a well-read blog, Logic+Emotion, that has some of the clearest, most concise posts on the digital media world you’ll find. Same thing with his tweets.
Recent sample tweet: “Facebook Ad: Free Social Media Coaching. Holy ugh. http://yfrog.com/0necxp”
Why you should follow: Maltoni, a Philadelphia-based brand strategist and director of strategy at Powered Inc., is on the leading edge of social media marketing, as evidenced through her influential “Conversation Agent” blog.
Recent sample tweet: “Infographic matrix: Foursquare vs Facebook vs Gowalla vs Yelp vs BrightKite vs. Where.com vs Booyah vs. Loopt http://ff.im/ppgDY”