Is Twitter ‘Literally’ the Best Instantaneous PR Tool Out There?

In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden did what he always does: He took a major detour from his scripted speech. In an effort to hammer his points more graphically, Biden injected the term “literally” nine times. In one sentence, he managed to get the word in twice ("In the first days, literally the first days that we took office, General Motors and Chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation").

Viewers quickly jumped all over this, fired up their computers, their iPads and their smartphones and began tweeting like crazy. #literally became one of the hottest hashtags on Twitter as fans expressed their amusement and/or their disdain of Biden.

So how did the Obama team respond? Rather than stay on the defensive, they took advantage of the advertising opportunities for promoted tweets on Twitter.

Promoted tweets allow advertisers to take target an audience that is searching for a particular word or combination of words. In this case, the Obama social media team knew people would be searching for the term “literally.” Because the team purchased the word “literally,” when people searched for the word, the first tweet they saw was from Obama (@barackobama) himself. The tweet quoted Biden’s most effective line of the night, “Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

The Obama social media team had been similarly quick to respond during the Republican Party Convention. When actor Clint Eastwood had a “conversation” with President Obama (represented by an empty chair), the Obama team immediately posted a photograph on Twitter of the back of Obama’s head as he sat in a seat clearly marked The President. The tweet simply said, “This chair is taken.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones who can use the power of promoted tweets and social media monitoring to make nearly instantaneous reactions to comments made on Twitter. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue have been incredibly responsive to tweets, turning negative comments into PR wins. No matter what your business does, sells or promotes, it is critical to both monitor online sentiment about your brand and then react quickly and positively to those comments.

Has your brand (or brands you represent) turned lemons into lemonade with the effective use of responsive tweets? We’d love to hear your stories.

Follow Jon Gelberg: @Jon_Gelberg

Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Measurement Conference 

Media Relations ConferenceJoin PR News at the National Press Club on Dec. 11 for the Media Relations Conference, where you'll learn how to tie your media relations initiatives to business goals, use the right metrics to prove the success of your efforts, incorporate social media in a brand crisis and more.

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Crisis Management Guidebook


Crisis management is an art, not a science. In this edition of PR News’ Book of Crisis Management Strategies & Tactics, you will discover many different views on this art, and you are certain to find takeaways that will transform the way your organization handles crises. 

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.