Is Tesla Using Twitter As Its New Public Relations Department?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously dissolved the company’s PR department in late 2019, becoming the first automaker without a media relations team.
A lot has been said and written about that decision, which was a risky one for a company that relied on media coverage as a main driver of sales leads since it does not do traditional advertising.
Then something big happened in 2022, when Elon Musk purchased Twitter, selling billions of dollars worth of Tesla stock to fund the acquisition and sending the carmaker’s shares into a 65-percent plunge in the process.
But Musk’s Twitter purchase is now starting to have a positive effect on Tesla, as Bloomberg points out in a report. The company’s corporate Twitter account – @Tesla – has been stepping up its activity on Twitter, effectively using the social media platform as its PR website.
Tesla tweets much more frequently than before, with some posts clearly resembling 30-second car commercials, which Musk used to describe as wastes of time and resources that would be better spent on improving product.
The EV maker also makes important announcements on Twitter now, as it did a month ago when it posted a tweet with an hour’s notice that Musk and Governor Gavin Newsom would be making an announcement.
Tesla then broadcast the remarks on Twitter, posted job openings, and streamed the opening party dedicated to turning the former home of HP in Palo Alto into its global engineering headquarters.
However, Twitter can’t fully replace a skilled team of PR people, Bloomberg argues. Tesla was criticized for releasing few details and being vague about the California engineering HQ, which led to the company sending a clarifying tweet the next day telling people the global HQ remains in Austin, Texas. Tesla actually never moved its engineering base out of California.
The report also notes that that communication professionals would typically advise against offering no information on new models during a major event like Tesla’s Investor Day that recently took place in Austin.
That said, the fact Musk invited 16 executives on stage alongside him is seen as a good decision and a wise response to investors concerned about the company’s bench depth.
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