Finals Week + Tumblr + BuzzFeed = Viral Post

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Background and Objective:

With finals approaching, I have seen a handful of funny memes on the subject in the past week. Therefore, I thought it would be timely to create a post that contains depictions of relatable thoughts and feelings people have during this point in the semester. For this campaign, the main objective was to reach a wide audience and to go viral. In doing so, I also hoped to make people laugh and ease the stress that comes along with the end of the semester. Based on previous class experience, I figured Tumblr would be a perfect source to find material.

Metrics and Analysis:

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On December 1st, “19 Hilarious Tumblr Posts That Perfectly Sum Up Finals Week” was promoted to BuzzFeed’s community front page. During that time, my post was not getting too many clicks on the BuzzFeed site. In fact, at one point I had a social lift of about 15 on my Dashbird because the post was doing a lot better on other social platforms, particularly Facebook. I wasn’t too surprised, considering I’ve had the most success on BuzzFeed with quizzes. Those posts are guaranteed to have a lot of views if promoted. However, three days later I was notified that my post was also promoted to the front page of BuzzFeed.com. This significantly increased the number of seed views, eventually bringing my social lift down to 2.2. Even still, my post continued to have more viral than seed views, totaling at over 81,000 views on Facebook alone.

So, what worked? As a Broadcast and Digital Journalism major, I often ask myself what is current and relatable at this point in time? Immediately I thought of finals, since college students around the world are preparing for the end of this semester. Over the course of this class, I’ve learned a lot about virality. My biggest takeaway is that evoking emotion from your readers definitely raises the chances of going viral. Personally, I love appealing to humor. Final exams and projects tend to elicit anxiety and fear among students, but I believe laughter is the best medicine.

What didn’t work? Before my post got promoted, the title was “19 Tumblr Posts Guaranteed To Make You Laugh During Finals Week.” Also, originally my thumbnail was the first photo listed in the post. To engage more viewers, BuzzFeed editors decided to change the title to “19 Hilarious Tumblr Posts That Perfectly Sum Up Finals Week” and the thumbnail to a distressed picture of Penny from “The Big Bang Theory.” In addition, they slightly changed the order of my list. While these were minor changes, I think they contributed to the popularity and shareability of my post.

Promoting Content on Twitter:

My plan was to target college students on both Twitter and Facebook using pictures, memes, and even video to attract an audience. One of my tweets featured an original meme with a funny picture of my friend’s dog and the phrase, “When you have two weeks to change that C- to an A.”

Twitter Webcard Dashboard: 

For this assignment, we experimented with Twitter Ads to promote our class’ BuzzFeed posts. I strategically chose the Twitter audience I wanted to reach, which consisted of accounts like College Humor, Relatable Quotes, and College Student. While this campaign gave me over 2,000 impressions and 47 engagements on my Twitter Card, in the end only 16 people clicked on the link to my post. Therefore, I think advertising on Twitter is most effective when you have a budget greater than $5.

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