Working My Way Up: From Sporadic to Savvy

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Since I created my Twitter account at the beginning of high school, I have had several different spurts of activity on the platform.  I think it’s finally time to fess up about the ghosts of Katie Conti’s past life on Twitter, analyze some success stories from my Top Ten Tweets over the course of the semester, and benchmark how far I’ve come.

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Taking it back:

When I first joined Twitter, I was your classic “lurker.” Although I followed a larger-than-I’m-comfortable-admitting number of One Direction fan accounts (lol), my engagement did not often go further than liking/favoriting the enthusiastic fangirl posts.

In 2011, I ended up becoming a major “fansie,” as in, a key member of the fandom surrounding the movie-musical NewsiesI followed the show’s inception through its pre-Broadway out-of-town tryout at Papermill Playhouse and was an active part of the movement to push for the show’s journey to Broadway (Side Note: this was not supposed to happen, but apparently producers and Disney Theatricals realized how intensely fans were engaging with the Papermill production across social media platforms, and “fansie happiness” was worth the risk of investing onto the Big White Way). I frequently engaged with the show’s creators, producers, actors, and other fans on Twitter and had the chance to meet the cast on both occasions of seeing the show. One of the highlights of my life still to this day was being sent one of the opening night gifts that was given to each member of the cast, crew, and production team at the show’s first performance on Broadway. Later, I did something similar with Finding Neverland, a musical that originated at the A.R.T. in Boston and went on to Broadway, and enjoyed tweeting as a “gleek” for the television show Glee & its spin off reality show, The Glee Project.

Here’s the thing – when I started to become more active on social media, I did not intend to find this little niche audience and become part of the online community that we had. I wanted to perform on Broadway, so Twitter became my window out of Northwestern Pennsylvania and into that world… a window through which I could express my passion with others who loved live theatre and also loved to geek out about it. To this day, five of my ten “Most Valuable Followers,” according to SocialRank, came from this period of time in which I was highly engaged with the theatre world.

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After switching career paths heading into college, I virtually left the Broadway Twitter World in favor of using this time to read news articles about international current events, study languages, and keep up to date on United Nations programs and policies. I was so focused on learning and absorbing that personal content production was put on the back burner. I also traveled more with limited wifi access for extended periods of time, so social media accounts largely became a way to keep in touch with friends from around the world, as I mentioned in a previous post.

Until this course, I had never before figured out how to use Twitter as a platform to both further my passions AND build my professional voice. I’ve handpicked the following ten tweets that show some of my greatest accomplishments, new discoveries, and growing moments of the semester.

 

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Top Ten Tweets of #NHsmc

#10: Viral Content Challenge – Ad Campaign tweet

This tweet was the star of the show for my attempt at the Viral Content Challenge. I have included it last among my top ten tweets, because honestly, it did garner enough engagement to be noteworthy. It did not go as viral as I had hoped, but now I can use it as a lesson learned and key point of analysis. Like I analyzed in my blog post for the Viral Content Challenge, I think the meme came just a bit too early in the semester for it to be completely relatable to my university student followers. I also do not think it was funny/niche enough to interact with the very active part of my follower base that is driven by the Broadway world, nor did it utilize dynamic hashtags or tag users that would potentially retweet it.What did work, is that I successfully used a Twitter Web Card (a form of rich media to attract people to clicking on your tweet) and completed my first Twitter Ad spend campaign. That helped to garner much more engagement on this tweet than I think it would have received otherwise. In the end, the tweet received 873 impressions (611 organic, 264 promoted) and 72 total engagements (60 organiz, 12 promoted), which comprised of: 48 link clicks, 12 detail expands, 6 hashtag clicks. The organic engagement rate was 9.8% and promoted engagement rate was 4.5%. I did receive two organic retweets and a reply that helped to drive engagement and I received three likes. I also experimented with the Yo-Yo method of retweeting the tweet on and off of my timeline several times throughout the campaign, which seemed to help increase the engagement.

#9. Introducing @GlobalConti

This tweet was one of my first tweets of the class. My Twitter handle since joining the platform was @katiedearest418. After learning about the potential for networking on Twitter, I decided to adopt a more professional handle that avoided using numbers and symbols and could suit the voice with which I intended to brand myself. I struggled to figure out a new and improved handle that would serve as my personal brand, but was grateful for Professor Grygiel’s help through this Twitter Identity Crisis.We contemplated trying to convince various iterations of @KatieConti and @ContiKatie to hand their handle over to me, but finally came up with @GlobalConti after lots of brainstorming. In this tweet, I felt that I needed to alert my followers that I would be switching it up a bit, and was honestly excited for this fresh and professional start (but still keep my followers). It was not one of my most highly engaged upon tweets overall, but it is one that I am proud of, in terms of effective copywriting. It received an engagement rate of 3.5%, and a total of 278 impressions and 10 engagements – which consisted of 4 detail expands, 2 likes, and 1 reply, hashtag click, and profile click. It is text-heavy, and could be improved with the addition of rich media content, tagging others, and maybe including a more popular hashtag.

#8. My Dad sang backup…

Road trip with dad = all kinds of stories to be shared and music to be heard. I did not think this photo was all that exciting to tweet out, but the tweet ended up receiving 302 impressions, 34 engagements including 25 media engagements, which led up to a pretty high engagement rate of 11.3%. I think what worked here is that the tweet copy itself leant to high engagement, as people were enticed to click on the picture & zoom in so they could see the title of the song on the screen that I took a picture of, and that my dad sang backup for. This came right after the tweet in which my dad and I went live on Periscope (the first time I used that platform), so this was part of an entire string of content to engage upon that did not require the commitment to watching a video like the other tweets that came in succession. To sum up the data, this tweet received 307 impressions and 34 engagements. There were 25 media engagements: 5 detail expands, 2 likes, and 2 profile clicks.

#7. Insomnia Red Velvet

This tweet exemplifies one of the skills I gained in this class: how to create rich media content, which meant in this case, a GIF. Creatives-wise, I knew I wanted to put out something that followed the principles of newsworthiness that were drilled into my brain in COM 107 and reviewed in class. My friend Megan and I decided to order Insomnia Cookies after a Facebook ad popped up to advertise their Red Velvet Cookie, a February seasonal flavor. Looking at the tech process of creating the GIF, I’d say it was a classic case of adapt and conquer – I tried to use the GIFBoom software but it kept crashing, so imgflip.com saved the day. I actually had to tweet it out three times before I could get it to autoplay in the Twitter feed, but I’m happy with how it turned out for being the first GIF I’ve ever created. In terms of image quality,  I bet other softwares could produce a better product, so I’m really excited to see what is out there and make more of these. The tweet received a high number of impressions (793), 78 media views, and 26 total engagements, including 10 detail expands, 6 profile clicks, 4 hashtag clicks, and 3 media engagements. It was retweeted by my friend Megan, who starred in the GIF, and received 2 likes.

#6. Data Visualization

Since seeing Spotify’s incredibly witty data-infused ad campaign at the end of 2016, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for creative data visualization. This tweet went along with a twitter assignment to try out Google nGram viewer and share a screenshot of the data graph we produce. I wanted to tie this tweet in with International Women’s Day, so I plugged in the names of incredible women from all throughout history to see how their names pop up in literature since the 1800s. I found it interesting and empowering that Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks’ mentions saw a great increase from 1960s onward so included those three powerful women in my tweeted graph. The tweet saw a nice level of engagement: 252 impressions, 13 total engagements (including 6 media engagements, 3 detail expands, 2 likes, and 2 link clicks). The  engagement rate was only 5.2%, but even more importantly — I found this exercise really interesting to try out the using graphs to enhance storytelling. Hooray for freemiums.

#5. The Duke Win Tweet – Truthfully, I’m still not over this game.

I do not usually tweet about sports, but after attending the Syracuse vs Duke men’s basketball game, I was fired up and filled with school spirit.Although it is not showing up here with the image that it includes in the Twitter interface, I was very excited to quote tweet the video of the Duke game’s buzzer beater SU win. It was the buzz, so I caught the buzz… Tweeting a video such as this seemed to me like a great way to jump out of my typical Twitter niche and engage with the greater SU/basketball community. I appreciate the newer interface for quote tweets – retweets are useful to share ideas that you like/find important, but I like that quote tweets can now include your own thoughts right above the post and its’ media. It was cool to see people engaging with me over sports, so I also included the reply to my tweet that I found to be very telling of the Syracuse social community – I hope that I have the chance to meet his daughter and welcome her to Newhouse/all of campus! I received quite a bit of engagement – 270 impressions, 6 engagements, including 3 detail expands, 2 likes, and a reply. I think this was possibly due to the tagging of several key SU accounts (@Cuse_MBB and @TheOttoOrange) and usage of #BeatDuke and #BuzzerBeater hashtags that were highly current at the time.

#4. Post-Oscars UNHCR engagement

Epic engagement. This year, I became really invested in both following along with the Oscars and separately, studying the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)’s work around the world to prepare for participation in the National Model United Nations Conference. I was thrilled to learn that even the UN was joining the #Oscars conversation by sharing that a UN-produced film won an Academy Award in 1947. This tweet went along with the assignment to use Klout to target an expert from your industry in hopes of sparking engagement with them. I tagged UNHCR’s Chief Communications Officer (Melissa Fleming), whom I already followed, and did a bit of digging to see who else worked with her. As my second influence, I tagged Sybella Wilkes, a UNHCR Senior Communications Officer who has a pretty active and “hip” Twitter account. It was thrilling that Ms. Wilkes ended up responding to my tweet and even took the time to share a story she thought could be made into a great film. This probably happened since everyone was talking about the Oscars and also because I included a question prompt for them to respond to. I received 235 impressions on this tweet, including 8 engagements – 4 detail expands, 3 profile clicks (3.4% engagement rate). For me, this was certainly one of my most exciting engagements of the semester, as I’d love to work for UNHCR communications some day and did not expect someone of her high rank to reply.

 

#3. Periscope Heart Challenge

This was my tweet that received the most retweets of the semester (three). It earned a total of 898 impressions and 12 engagements: 4 likes, the 3 retweets (from classmates), 2 detail expands, 2 profile clicks, and one hashtag click (1.3% engagement rate).  I really enjoyed the Periscope Heart Challenge, as it gave us an opportunity to test out the concepts of virality before heading into the Viral Content Challenge. We were one of the first groups to present, but I think we did pretty well in terms of getting people to tune in and give us heart votes. This tweet was probably made successful with the inclusion of the handles of all of my group members and the way it effectively teased our group’s portion.  I know that Periscope is still widely used by people around the world, especially for the purpose of live streaming media events and meetings, but I will be interested in seeing what the future of the platform shapes up to be once Facebook Live is even more widely adopted. I am not sure if I will use it much in the future, however it was nice to learn what catches people’s eyes and what does not. I appreciate what this challenge did to build community among the NHsmc Spring 17 cohort, and I am still laughing about this hilarious day of antics.

#2 Catching up after National Model United Nations

As I mentioned in the tweet copy, I “went dark” or purposefully refrained from posting on Twitter throughout the week that I was away from campus for the National Model United Nations conference in New York City. As a way of sharing what I’ve learned and catching my audience up with what I’ve been doing, I used the technique of posting blue-line-connected tweets (replying to yourself) so that you could convey the idea that your tweets are intended to be linked in succession as one continued thought. Thanks to the updated Twitter interface, it shows up very obviously that you can click to expand for the “full story.” This photo has pretty good/bright lighting, which attracts viewers to it, used the #nmun hashtag (used on Twitter by many participants at the conference), and tagged the Maxwell School’s account. This tweet garnered the second highest engagement rate of any tweet I put out this semester, coming in at 11.9%. It had 496 impressions and 59 engagements, including 44 media engagements, 8 detail expands, 3 profile clicks, 2 likes, and a link click.

 

#1. TOP Tweet: April 5th, 11:36 AM. Anastasia – Broadway! SO SOON!!!!!!

Of all my tweets, this one received the highest number of likes (10) and achieved one of ultimate goal – to interact major influences such as the @AnastasiaBway account, who kindly replied to my tweet. It was intended to be submitted for the tweet assignment that involved using text overlay/drawings from Snapchat or another platform to add some pizzaz to any normal photo that shows up on a Twitter feed. My theory for why this received more engagement than my typical posts is a) Timeliness – Anastasia had only been in previews for a little bit of time, so people were excited to learn whatever they could about the show, b) Demographic Nostalgia – Many people who follow me, whether in the Broadway sphere or not, grew up with this movie and likely recognized the popular logo from their childhood so they clicked on the image to “Journey to the Past” and see the image more clearly, c) #AnastasiaMusical had become more widely adopted in the days before the tweet, as production photos leaked and media outlets were buzzing about the start of their previews, d) Bright colors/bright colored photos attract more engagement, as we learned in class. This one received 887 impressions, 110 engagements, making this be my highest engagement rate at 12.4%. The engagements consisted of 87 media engagements, 10 likes, 9 detail expands, 3 profile clicks, and the reply from the actual show’s Twitter account.

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Final Benchmark:

I started the semester with 513 followers at the end of January and have 592 followers now at the end of April. This means my twitter follower base has increased by  15.4%, which seems like a great amount of success to me. I also noted this benchmark after I gained around 40 new followers from my classmates’/professor’s follow, so if I factored this new network into the mix, my follower count actually increased by approximately 25.2% since the beginning of the semester. YAY!

Additionally, my Klout Score at the beginning of the semester was 34 but I ended up with a final score of 57. The score peaked at 60.68 around April 7th, which is when I was finishing up the Viral Content Challenge, gained a bunch of new followers, had some of the most influential engagements, and received the highest number of impressions on Twitter. At this time, I also added a slew of LinkedIn connections, had a couple of Facebook posts that were engaging great discussions, and posted two Instagram photos that had nearly 200 likes each.

Twitter network contribution is only 15% of the Klout score, which surprises me, due to my frequency of posts on that platform. On the other side, my activity on Instagram makes up the highest network contribution to my Klout score at 52%, which is puzzling, as I do not post on the platform as often as I do on others. My Instagram content does consistently gain quite a large number of likes and comments when I do post it, unlike my tweets, which can be a gamble of sometimes great and sometimes subpar engagement. Perhaps this ratio does not take into account frequency of content as heavily as volume of engagement, but I know it must factor in the influence of those who do engage. My Facebook contribution of 23% and LinkedIn contribution of 10% do not surprise me, as that seems correct, considering my levels of activity and reach on those platforms.

I would account for this increase in Klout and followers due to the fact that this was the first time I adopted a longer-term Twitter habit, where I created or curated enough posts in a reasonable period of time to feel as though I had a stream of content that coincided with the different aspects of my voice. I still went back into tweeting around the musical theatre world, but tapped into other social spheres. I stretched myself to post more professional, international relations-related, and timely current events/community events content that became some of my most engaging posts across my platforms.  I learned how to use a plethora of key strategies and tools for effective storytelling and maximizing my engagement on the Twitter platform, so it’s interesting to go back and look through the archive of my tweets. This process has been like subjecting myself to evaluating tweets like we do for the particularly well-executed Twitter assignments on the “Big Board” in class. Although I see several examples of tweets falling short on expectations, I do see many success stories to be told and lessons to be learned over here. I’m really thrilled with all that I’ve learned and the newfound passion for strategic social media that I’ve gained. I would love to keep learning new strategies and refining my tactics, become a stronger influencer and early adopter of more future tech, and even pursue a career as a savvy social media professional in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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