Becoming an Influencer

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When I came to Newhouse this summer, one of the biggest changes in my life was my sudden acquisition of multiple social media accounts. Aside from creating a Flickr for graphic design, a google account for the free drive and finally creating an overdue Linkedin profile, I also created a Twitter.

Although I had once had a Twitter account, I did not know how to use it and had deleted it before becoming a grad student. Therefore, having only just set up a new account, I came to this class with a meager 19 followers. This, obviously, is not very good but also to be expected of a new account.

This low number of followers, however, was low for quite a while. When I should have been gaining followers, the number remained stagnant. That is of course, before I took Social Media Theory and Practice. Taking this graduate course has not only helped me to increase my followers but has also helped me gain a comprehensive understanding of the platform.

Undeniably, the reason that my follower count was stagnant for a prolonged period of time was because I NEVER TWEETED. So, the first rule of Twitter is to Tweet. Do not tweet for Tweeting sake, but definitely do so when you have interesting content.

The second most important rule of Twitter is using hashtags. Before this course, I honestly did not understand hashtags. Now, I not only understand them, but know how to use them effectively. To increase engagement, I have learned that, for me personally, the best way to utilize hashtags is by including them in the content of your tweet, not just throwing them at the end of a sentence. I have also learned the importance of Tweeting about trending and relevant topics. If you want to increase engagement, then you must actually engage in the conversations that the public care about. In order to determine trending topics I used both Google Trends and the list of trending topics on the Twitter sidebar.

Having utilized these different tools, I have now went from having 19 followers to having 92. I know that I have also increased my klout score significantly. Just a few weeks ago, my klout score was in the mid thirties. Now it is at 54. Aside from increasing my number of followers, specific events have contributed to this increasing number.

The first, most notable was when well-known animal activist Jeffrey Ventre not only liked but also reTweeted one of my Tweets concerning #Blackfish and the SeaWorld controversy.

I also managed to get famous author Naomi Novik to like my Tweet about her book.

Another klout-increaser occurred when Chobani, the national Greek yogurt company, responded to one of my Tweets about their company. Just recently, I succeeded in getting them to Tweet to me again and was lucky to have them favorite another of my Tweets.

In conclusion, you do not become “good” at social media overnight. It takes time, energy and knowledge to gradually increase your Klout score and influence. If you are never active on platforms and never try to engage with other influencers than you will not become an influencer yourself. But undoubtedly, as this course has taught me, if you are willing to put in the time and energy you are more than capable of becoming an influencer, a skill that is much sought after in our social world.

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