Above the Influence: How I Grew My Twitter Following

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One of my goals as a journalist is to get my work out to the most people I can. In order to expand my influence, it’s important for me to analyze my followers and tweets to determine which messages resonate with people. So, this is my analysis of the last 91 days of Tweeting.

Part 1: Influence

At the start of the class, I had 97 followers on my professional social media account that I had started in September of 2017. I decided to tweet from the account @jeffersonfenner for this class. From August 29th to November 28th, my account grew to 128 followers, an increase of 31.9%.

Many of my followers were fellow Syracuse students or random accounts associated with topics I was tweeting about. However, I did make some interesting pick ups in terms of relatively famous and verified people.

View post on imgur.com

I’m not sure why this person decided to follow me, however, we have six shared followers, so it’s possible he found me through there.

View post on imgur.com

Mr. Scholten was the Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District running against embattled Republican Rep. Steve King. I work for CitrusTV and did a comprehensive coverage of 25 house races to watch and included his race in my list. I tweeted out my work and I imagine he followed me on Election Day.

View post on imgur.com

Jill Konopka was my favorite reporter from back home in Connecticut. She recently moved to Albany after working in the Nutmeg State for ten years. I tweeted out a thank you to her, and she liked my tweet, replied, and followed me back.

View post on imgur.com

Living in Connecticut has made me a big-time UConn Huskies basketball fan (even while I’m still here in Syracuse). Chris Smith played at UConn from 1988-1992 and became the school’s all time leading scorer before eventually getting drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves. I followed him while watching a UConn game and he followed me back the next day.


I found that most of my followers found me through similar interests, topics, and hashtags . In order to grow my following in the future, I have to continue with these methods. Times where I didn’t gain any followers were when I wasn’t overly active on my account, so I have to make sure to continue to tweet in order to get a larger influence.


Part 2: Execution

Each of the following tweets are ranked on a scale from 1-10 based on number of impressions. For my top ten tweets, my average number of impressions was 585.8; my average number of engagements was 21.1 and my average engagement rate was 6.5

  1. A Bavarian Reply:

I replied to the account for FC Bayern Munich, my favorite soccer team and one of the most popular clubs in the world. After the team had a string of losses, I made this reply which garnered 1700 impressions. This was the most viewed tweet I put out this semester.

2. Tweets for a Cause: 

This tweet got 1678 impressions and eight engagements. This tweet was sent out during the height of the fires and the hashtags I used seemed to help increase my presence. I believe the biggest reason why this tweet was popular was because I tagged Charity Navigator, a website which ranks charities based on their trustworthiness. The account liked my tweet and replied with a link to promote their website, so we both got the engagement we needed.

3. The Buzz about Buzzfeed:

The NHBuzzfeed drop-in class was a popular event at Newhouse that happened in the middle of the school day. Not only was my target audience all engaged with the hashtag, but the event itself was heavily focused on social media. The tweet garnered   484 impressions, two likes, 25 engagements, and an engagement rate of 5.2%.

4. Sweet Victory:

I was the member of the wining team for our In Class Engagement challenge. To celebrate our victory, I posted this picture of Ally holding up our trophy. While this picture only got 430 impressions, it beat my all of my other tweets in likes (7), engagements (64) and engagement rate (14.9%).

5. Survey Says…:

When asking people how Prof. Grygiel is spending *their* Labor Day (sorry), they have a lot of interesting responses. As you can see, chillaxing won the hearts of the people, while I won 387 impressions, 42 engagements and a 10.9% engagement rate.

6. The Wheels on the Bus

I took a Twitter video centering around my morning commute to campus. The hashtags #syracuse and #morningcommute might have helped push this video up to 25 views and 378 impressions, while people clicking on the video helped get me to 14 engagements.

7. We’re Doing it Live

This was a simple promotion for a show that I work on with my fellow classmate Ally Heath. The show promotion got 3 likes, 307 impressions and 20 engagements for a rate of 6.5%

8. A Dog’s Tale

This was a thread tweet about the time I bought a soda for former UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball player Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. I posted this tweet the night after her team, the Seattle Storm, won the WNBA championship.

The initial tweet only got one like, 197 impressions, and six engagements for a 3% engagement rate, which is why it is 8th on this list. However, when taking into account all three tweets in the thread, I got four likes, 487 impressions, and 18 engagements for a 3.7% engagement rate. The jump in impressions would put the whole thread 3rd on this list, however I’m only choosing to count the initial tweet for ranking purposes.

9. Mr. Fenner Goes to Albany

This tweet was timely, as we were less than a month away from the Midterm Elections. While this tweet did not stand out for its impressions (160), the use of the hashtags #MidtermElections2018 and #Election2018 helped bring in 18 engagements for an above average engagement rate of 8.1%.

10. The Devil Wears Hair Extensions 

Finally, I put this tweet on this list due to its high engagement rate. Like the tweet in the number 4 slot, this was posted during the In Class Engagement event. The tweet only got 137 impressions, but it received 17 engagements for a rate of 12.4%, so the lack of views helped increase that statistic.


Overall, I learned that becoming an influencer on Twitter is all about what you put into it. By creating smart, relatable, and timely content, you are more likely to reach a wide audience. By taking this course, I realized I can promote my content in a variety of different ways, through use of popular and relatable hashtags, or incorporating elements like polls and media into my posts. By going the extra mile, I can gain the views and engagement I want and my social media accounts will thank me for it.

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Viral Marketing Report

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Stefanie Grafstein

Professor Grygiel

November 29th, 2018

Viral Marketing Report

The Tweet

Statistics (as of November 26th, 2018)

  • Impressions: 214
  • Total Engagements: 41
  • Detail Expands: 37
  • Likes: 4

Goals and Objective

My goals were not achieved, as my tweet did not go viral. When reaching out to other popular Twitter pages in hopes of getting retweeted, I was happy to see a direct message response from Google Fonts which was one of the main accounts that I was looking to target because of the “font humor” behind my tweet. I believe that by promoting my tweet through Reddit and direct message of meme and font accounts, I was able to strive close to the 250 impression goal that my set for myself having reached 214 impressions. I set the goal to have at least twenty re-tweets and due to my lack of Twitter followers, I found that this was an unrealistic achievement to reach.


I found that posting my tweet on subreddits that were based on font humor and memes, I was able to give my content great exposure. While my tweet was not retweeted by anyone, based on my findings it still made impressions. In addition to this, I also learned a lot about Reddit, a platform I had never used before. I chose to use Reddit as a platform to promote my tweet because after evaluating other popular memes, I have found this website to be the source for contributing to the virality of content.

Analysis of Execution

When trying to promote my tweet, I was unable to get it retweeted. I feel that if I was able to have the tweet retweeted by a Twitter user that a had a greater following, it would have been possible to receive more engagements. When trying to promote my tweet through Reddit, I believe that if I had a stronger understanding of how to use it I think my comments would have been more effective. With this said, I think that it was extremely helpful to be exposed to Reddit for one of the first times. While I found my Tweet to be humorous, it is possible that my Tweet did not appeal to the mass audiences needed to make it go viral. I believe that my humor would have only thrived in a certain type of online communities like reading and writing groups opposed to the meme and font humor groups that I tried to target.

Tweet inspired by a tweet:

After sending my tweet to twelve different meme and professional Twitter accounts, I was lucky to receive a humorous response from Google Fonts, which is a verified account under the Google brand. Google Fonts responded to my Tweet “Fontastic”, which inspired me to create a new tweet with the hopes of it going viral. Below please find an image of the Tweet and its statistics.

<blockquote class=”imgur-embed-pub” lang=”en” data-id=”a/GICSezU”><a href=”//imgur.com/GICSezU”></a></blockquote><script async src=”//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>


  • Impressions: 113
  • Total Engagements: 13
  • Media Engagements: 10
  • Likes: 2
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Viral Content Challenge #NHSMC

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The challenge was to “go viral”! In the world of social media, memes take over the internet and my goal was to create a meme that did just that.

My objective was to:

  • Reach over 500 views on Imgur
  • Get at least 50 likes on Instagram
  • Get at least 30 retweets on twitter
  • Gain at least 10 more followers on both Instagram and twitter

Meme-Imgur Campaign

View post on imgur.com

Twitter Webcard Tweet

Twiter Ads Engagement and Spend

View post on imgur.com

My strategy was to use Imgur, Instagram, twitter and Facebook. Before I started the campaign, I had 26 followers on twitter and 61 followers on Instagram. At the end of the campaign, I had 29 twitter followers and 76 Instagram followers. I didn’t reach my goal for twitter, but I did achieve my goal for Instagram. I posted the meme on Instagram and twitter and I got a total of 13 likes on Instagram and 4 retweets on twitter. Even though I didn’t reach my engagement goals on these platforms, I am still happy with the result considering the ratio of followers I have.

When trying to have high engagement, I found that hashtags were important to use and the most helpful. Another way I tried to gain engagement for my meme was through Instagram stories. I made a few stories promoting my meme or my twitter to gain attraction to my account. I think the reasons for the results ending with mediocre engagement was due to having a broad audience. I found this to be true as in the past when I would make posts for a more specified target like college students, I found I had a higher engagement. Therefore, by not using the specific hashtag “college” in imgur, that took away some engagement. My goal on imgur was to reach at least 500 views however, I ended with a total number of 300 views on Imgur.

I ran a twitter campaign from November 6 to November 7 with a budget of $5.00. My objective was to get as many tweet engagements as I could with that budget. I ended up getting 630 impressions(total number of all the times the tweet has been seen) and 28 tweet engagements(the total number of times a user interacted with my tweet).




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The LGBT News Trend in Buzzfeed News

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Buzzfeed News is a Facebook page dedicated to reporting news to the general public, especially Buzzfeed fans. The page launched in 2013 and has more than 2 million likes and more than 3 million followers.

In the past three months, the greatest trending topic on Buzzfeed News’ page was a video episode from Queer Vision, a FB Watch show by Buzzfeed LGBT.

Confused yet?? Let us break it down for you.

Queer Vision Original Post

“Nathan Mathis Is Fighting For Rights His Daughter Never Had” was posted on July 31, 2018. The video originally aired on Queer Vision, a Facebook watch show that falls under the BuzzFeed LGBT Facebook page. The show puts emphasis on trending news and culture pieces about the LGBTQ+ community.

The Buzzfeed News Facebook page shared this particular episode of Queer Vision, and received massive interaction.

Buzzfeed LGBT was founded in 2012. Their mission is to inform people about queer news. It has more than 850 thousand likes, and more than 870 followers. It’s interesting to note that this Facebook page existed prior to that of Buzzfeed News. This goes to show the importance/relevance of LGBT News to the Buzzfeed audience, and helps begin to explain why the post was so viral, which will we get more into later.

What’s the post about? 

Presented in a documentary style, “Nathan Mathis Is Fighting For Rights His Daughter Never Had” is a video that tells the story of Nathan Mathis, whose daughter committed suicide. Mathis made it his life goal to fight for the LGBT rights his daughter never had. The video was produced after the story of Mathis blew up and was featured on talk shows like The View and The Ellen Show. The video discusses the mental health toll of loved ones following suicide and Mathis’s goal to spread awareness.

The Format

Buzzfeed News Re-Post

The  video is subtitled word for word in BuzzFeed’s clean Proxima Nova typeface. This is optimized for the Facebook user’s feed because the video will autoplay and viewers will be able to understand the video even if they aren’t listening with sound. This use of subtitles hooks viewers, especially because the video opens with Nathan Mathis using bold words like “pervert” and “gay”.

The thumbnail is also optimized for the platform with a split screen showing a young Patti Sue and her aged father. When touching on the topic of suicide, showing a childhood photo of the deceased tugs right at a viewer’s emotional heart strings. This is also used in contrast to her older, worn father. Her father is also typed as a “southern dad” in the video description and Nathan Mathis’s photo in this thumbnail captures that image.

The run time for the entire video is 4:02, which is optimized for the Facebook platform. As Emma Tyler, Senior Social Media Strategist at BuzzFeed, explained to the NH BuzzFeed class, videos hoping to make money off things like midroll ads only make money if they are over 3 minutes. This video is is long enough to qualify for ad money but not too long that viewers click off the video early.

Finally, the narrative format of this video was also important to its success. Tyler also told the class that the most successful stories often have a strong beginning, middle and end to push viewers through the entire run time, especially if they are read-along style. The narrative format of this video grabs the attention of viewers and keeps them emotionally invested in Nathan Mathis.

Breaking Down The Virality

Buzzfeed News Interactions

As BuzzFeed News was only established as a separate brand July 2018, we chose to look at over-performing posts from the last three months (Ha, 2018). Through our CrowdTangle search, we identified the Nathan Mathis video, posted on the BuzzFeed News Facebook page on July 31st, as the top performer (CrowdTangle, 2018).

Sharing was the top interaction Facebook users had with this post and accounted for its impressive virality of almost 16M views. However if we measured virality through Facebook reactions and comments, this post would perform the same as, if not significantly less than others in the same time frame (CrowdTangle, 2018).

Buzzfeed News Shares, Comments, and Interactions


Ha, A. (2018, July 18). BuzzFeed launches a new website for its real journalism. Retrieved October 27, 2018, from https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/18/buzzfeed-news/


Hailey Rene, Josie Hannum, Stefanie Grafstein,  Ariel Rabinowitz

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BuzzFeed- Trending Topics: Nifty Facebook Video

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Trending Topic Project: Buzzfeed’s “Nifty” Facebook Video on Revamping a Basic Table

The “overperforming” post chosen for analysis was “Nifty’s” “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (2018), that spiked nearly a month ago. The six-minute video includes do-it-yourself, or D.I.Y., tutorials for how to transform an ordinary end table into 1) a table with a built-in projector, 2) a table with a built-in mini-garden in the middle, 3) a handmade toy kitchen, 4) an end table with a stained wood top, 5) a table with built-in water and food bowls for pets, 6) a stool and 7) a stacked bar with wheels on the bottom (Nifty, 2018). 

View post on imgur.com

According to the social media analytics database, CrowdTangle, this video was one of the highest spiking videos on the Nifty Facebook page from early September 2018 to late October 2018 (2018).

View post on imgur.com

The table transformation video received 1,478, 528 post views and 14, 951, 795 total views (CrowdTangle, 2018). Additionally, the table transformation video received 10,111 reactions, 828 comments and 4,813 shares (CrowdTangle, 2018). 

View post on imgur.com

In terms of why “Nifty’s” “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (Nifty, 2018) overperformed this fall, there are several reasons which could illustrate its high performance. Particularly, Buzzfeed’s audience, the importance of D.I.Y. culture and the real estate market are all reasons that could explain the virality of the table transformation video. Buzzfeed’s audience across their various channels are over 50% millennial and over 50% of the overall audience demographic self-identifies as women (Sternberg, 2013). Likewise, Buzzfeed’s “Nifty” channel specifically targets those interested in arts and crafts for the home. One reason this particular type of Nifty video may have performed well, is due to its publishing date, September 10, 2018, being during the middle of the “high season”, May- September, for apartment rentals (Schreck, 2013), as well as college students beginning school and needing cheap alternatives for decorating their dorms/ apartments.

Additionally, various Buzzfeed channels utilize the short-form video style for content delivery that can conveniently be viewed on one’s mobile device, which over 30% of Buzzfeed’s audience uses for visiting their sites (Sternberg, 2013). The combination of using short-form videos on the Nifty Facebook channel is advantageous in order to give the audience what they want. Similarly, using short-form videos on Nifty’s Facebook channel is advantageous because it taps into the popularity of D.I.Y. tutorials, especially as millennials are currently dominating the $29 billion crafting industry (Fromm). Therefore, a D.I.Y. short-form tutorial on how to ‘jazz-up’ a basic end table using an arts and crafts themed Facebook channel with one of the largest millennial audiences went viral because it had all the necessary components for virality. 

In summation, the “Nifty” Facebook video, “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” (Nifty, 2018) was analyzed because it overperformed on the channel within the last three months. The video likely overperformed, or spiked, because it taps into a niche market who is overwhelmingly millennial and interested in D.I.Y. projects for furnishing homes. Likewise, this video’s success during this season may be due to the rush of people who are moving to new homes in order to take advantage of the real estate market during the fall. In conclusion, the success of “7 Creative Ways to Transform a Basic Table” indicates a desire to take basic household items and easily transform them according to the various ideas for home décor that millennials have. 




CrowdTangle. (2018). [Graph illustration for video views for Nifty September 2018 to October 2018]. CrowdTangle Intelligence: Page Report: Nifty. Retrieved on October 24, 2018 from, https://apps.crowdtangle.com/syracusejournalismfb/reporting/intelligence?accountType=facebook_page&accounts=690729&breakdownType=postType&comparisonType=none&graphType=video_views&interval=week&platform=facebook&postType=all&reportTimeframe=6months&videoViewBreakdownType=ownedVideoViews&videoViewType=total_views

Fromm, J. (n.d.) Generation y has become generation diy. Retrieved from http://www.millennialmarketing.com/2013/12/generation-y-has-become-generation-diy/

Nifty. (2018). 7 creative ways to transform a basic table. [Video]. Nifty. Retrieved on October 24, 2018 from, https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeednifty/posts/2201002250154495

Schreck, N. (2013). The Best Time to Move for Renters. Retrieved from


Sternberg, J. (2013). 13 interesting facts brands should know about BuzzFeed. Retrieved from https://digiday.com/media/13-interesting-facts-brands-should-know-about-buzzfeed/


By, N’dea Drayton & Alexandria Haynes

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Authenticity: Is it Achievable on Facebook?

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When going on Facebook, there is no doubt that your newsfeed will be ridden with a variety of different articles. The big question is: what is the truth? When I look at Facebook articles, I usually look at the sources. Washington Post, The New York Times, Business Insider, and other reputable news sources always get a further glance from me. On the contrary, if the article doesn’t show me any reputable sources then I don’t continue looking at it.

My search continues to check if the link is actually authentic instead of a proxy site that has the same name but is not the actual publication. If I check the link and it isn’t a normal link from the publication and write it off as fake news. International news is a bit more difficult, but I usually stick with sites that end in .org. What’s bad is that not many people take as much care to make sure that their news is real because Facebook is the land of contrived authenticity.

People use Facebook to create a perception of their life that they’d like others to think they have rather than the life they do have. If that contrived authenticity is used in their personal life and people don’t notice the farce about their own friends, then how can people distinguish real news from fake news? It’s hard to distinguish actual news from fake news as a voracious consumer myself. So, what about people who solely get their news from Facebook?

Hopefully this fake news phenomenon will slowly ween it’s way off Facebook and away from the susceptible public. To stop the fake news there has to be more reality on a platform whose biggest takeaway is that you can be whoever you want even if that person isn’t you at all. Read more about Facebook’s problem with authenticity here: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-facebook-is-killing-your-authenticity-2011-3





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Viral Content Challenge

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Going viral does not seem like it would be a challenging thing but after setting out to do it I realized how much goes into becoming viral.

When I started this project here was my objectives were as followed:

-Post to go viral

-At least 500 views on imagur

-50 favorites on twitter

-Break the class record

Here were my results:

-Post went viral

-At least 500 views on imagur

I was not successful in getting 50 favorites or breaking the class record. I realized my strategy of tweeting out the link encouraged more people to click then favorite so by setting such a high favorite goal it was unrealistic. I needed to have just tweeted the picture if I wanted to be successful in favorites. As far as breaking the class record I do not think I failed in the category but yet I admit defeat that others were funnier than mine. I think I also would have been more successful if I did not have trouble uploading my image to twitter web cards and could have had more days to run my actual campaign. Running the twitter campaign only gained me about 200 more views on imagur. By making it public alone I was able to get 969 views. Pushing it out on imagur was my most successful tactic in going viral.

My final view count was 1137. 

In conclusion my meme went viral.

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Llama Boy

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The objectives of the Llama Boy campaign included garnering 500+ views across platforms (especially imgur) and 10+ RTs and 40 likes (total) on twitter.  The following image shows the original tweet:

Upon the first tweet, I received 12 likes. I retweeted this tweet 3 times over the next few days and ended up with a total of 24 likes. This self-promotion seems to not work in getting retweets, but accrues a few likes each time. I tried to play around with the original editorial calendar and switch up the time of day for each retweet, but none of the responses stood out as better than any other. Here is the imgur version of the meme:

Llama Boy

The meme overachieved on imgur, getting more than 500 views. I used the hashtags #Llama, #Farm, #Boy, #Meme and #Couple the first time I shared it to the community. This got the meme up to about 200 views. I then changed the hashtags to the current set up, which quickly pushed me over the edge for the goal of 500+ views across platforms.

My Instagram posts yielded almost nothing, which makes sense considering it is a small, private account. I think the lack of success on twitter can be attributed to only supplying the meme with the text over it. I definitely think the meme is customizable and better copy for the image is possible, but I only put out the version I made and not the original picture. The hashtags on imgur are very influential for getting views, especially for memes like this. Most of my success came from strategically changing those and sharing to the community.

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  • Receive at least 500 views on my meme through Imgur
  • Encourage people to share my meme after they see it on Imgur
  • With a budget of $5 receive the most engagement from 18-24 year olds
  • Receive the most shares between 7-10PM

Imgur Meme:




Twitter Web Card Tweet: 

My account was ineligible to run ads. One of my friends in the class ran twitter ads for me and here are the results (Twitter ads were done through Emily Temkin’s account): 



I wanted to do a topic that was trending for my meme. For the past few weeks, my friends who are in relationships have voiced aggravation about their boyfriends addiction to Fortnite. I’ve also seen people’s addiction first hand. Each day I see a Snapchat story of at least one person playing Fornite and the captions all have a recurring theme. The theme is that Fornite takes priority over every other obligation. The game was initially released in July 2017, but just started to get extremely popular. The rise in popularity has stemmed from the gaming platform Twitch. According to Newsweek, “Nothing quite sums up 2018 on the internet quite like Fornite. Fortnite ’s popularity seems to have caught everyone off-guard, even the developers, who responded  to hitting 3.4 million concurrent players in February by hiring more engineers to handle the server load.”

I successfully reached 500 views on Imgur and received a total of 534 views. On Instagram, I shared the meme out to my followers but didn’t notice much engagement. I also posted a swipe up link via my Snapchat story. I thought this would work because this is a new feature of Snapchat. However, I think people didn’t have a desire to swipe up to a Snapchat story. I did receive a lot favorites when I tweeted my meme out to followers. The engagement I received was from people who didn’t actually follow me. I used hashtags on my post that Fornite users would be regularly checking such as: #Fornite #gaming #blackops #videogames.

I received engagement from people by tweeting out my card and using hashtags related to Fortnite. I also think the Imgur tags worked to increase views. Accounts centered around gaming favorited my tweet and then followed me. If I were to do this campaign again, I would have used more specific hashtags to target my audience. My audience was people who play Fortnite and those who were not given priority because of the game. Betches is a social media handle that would use a similar meme. I could have direct messaged them and asked them to promote my meme, and see if that would increase exposure to my meme! The objectives I set were unrealistic. I am working with a small follower base, and 50 retweets is a high number. I didn’t note an amount of favorites, but I received 5 in total. I also did receive the most engagement between 7-10PM so I completed that part of my objective. I didn’t try on Facebook, but it would have been interesting to post the link to my meme there. I thought I would receive more views by posting it in groupme’s, but the rate stayed stagnant after that. I texted about 30 people I was friendly with and that worked. Next time, I would try to get the attention more of my target audience. Overall, I liked doing this campaign and I learned how to create a successful campaign using twitter ads for the future.


  • 534 views on Imgur
  • 6 up votes 18 down votes–> this is because the people looking at my meme were heavy fortnite users
  • 5 favorites
  • 440 impressions Twitter ads
  • 22 click links
  • 5% result click rate
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