A semester-long look at personal influence and growth on Twitter

Over the course of this semester, my Twitter presence has fluctuated, as is expected.  Some days I would peak at over 35 according to Klout, and other days my overall presence was rather low.  However, in general, Klout’s analysis shows that my presence on Twitter improved from January 20th to April 20th.  Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Twitter followers: from 348 on 1/20 to 280 on 4/20 (9.2% growth)

Klout score: from 29.28 on 1/20 to 33.33 on 4/20 (13.8% growth)

I think there were several things that I did well in my hunt for a more far-reaching Twitter account.  One of my successes was to follow more people.  I followed some of my classmates as well as other people from school that I hadn’t already been following.  Most of them followed me back, and other classmates beat me to the punch by following me first.

Another beneficial tactic was including a lot of rich media and hashtags in my tweets.  According to Twitter Analytics, most of my Top Tweets included pictures or links to other websites.  Most importantly, they had stuff to click on.  My inclusion of many hashtags falls under the same umbrella.  Hashtags are clickable, and they also draw in viewership from people who don’t follow me but do watch that particular tag.  As a result of my using these tools, my tweets got both more impressions and engagements.

However, I didn’t always use a lot of hashtags.  Early in the semester, I made a tweet about film and I didn’t hashtag early #movie or #film.  That particular tweet didn’t get any likes.  If I had been using hashtags the whole time, I probably would’ve gotten more likes all along.  My Klout might be higher than it is right now as well.

The biggest trick that didn’t really work was trying to simply tag accounts of famous people to get a response.  Early in the semester, I tried to connect with Elon Musk.  My tweet, however, didn’t have extra hashtags or something compelling to draw attention.  All it had was his handle.  That’s why I didn’t get a response.  If I had used rich media, more hashtags, or a more stimulating comment, I might have gotten some traction.

Overall, I did a solid job throughout the semester of peppering my tweets with hashtags and getting people to interact.  However, some tweets stood out compared to others.  There are 10 tweets in particular that drew a really solid amount of engagements and impressions.

10.  335 impressions, 20 engagements, 6% engagement rate

This tweet worked on several levels.  While I didn’t include any pictures or links, I worked in both the hashtag and the handle for the Newhouse account.  Plus, Newhouse follows me.  This helped me draw in five likes, including one from the school’s Twitter account.  I knew my customer: they like good PR, and they often retweet people who say good things about the school.  I figured I had a good chance of being retweeted or at least liked.

Plus, I didn’t think this really needed a picture.  I could have taken a picture of the building, but the building itself doesn’t follow me, the person controlling the account does.  I thought it might be weird to use a picture, so I figured the hashtags were enough.

9. 355 impressions, 21 engagements, 5.9% engagement rate

Yet again, I knew my audience.  As my tweet says, FollowerWonk said that most of my followers are from Rochester, since that’s where I hail from.  I know just how proud Rochesterians are of garbage plates.  They’re talked about as if they have healing powers.  So, I knew this article from the Huffington Post would be a great way to draw engagement to my tweet.  It used to be shared all over Facebook.

Additionally, I used the hashtag #Rochester.  The city of Rochester is pretty large and the hashtag itself is used fairly often on Twitter.  I thought I could grab some engagement from my non-followers if I included the popular hashtag.  Sure enough, I got three likes, and one of them was from somebody who doesn’t follow me.

The picture of the actual garbage plate on the article also helps.  They look incredible and it’s easy to use food as bait to catch a viewer’s eye.

8. 387 impressions, 5 engagements, 1.3% engagement rate

I really don’t have an answer for why this tweet performed so well according to Twitter analytics.  This occurred during the class periscope challenge.  I thought I could work in a pun after the challenge that required the players to paint Easter eggs.  One player named his “Eggy”, so I thought that I would tweet about it to draw in some engagement from people in class.  However, it seemed to do a bit better than that.

I think the pun actually worked pretty well.  The only two explanations for why I received so many impressions are that the pun was really good or the hashtag #periscope drew in some non-followers.  While the latter is probably correct, I’d like to believe it was the former.

7. 402 impressions, 35 engagements, 8.7% engagement rate

I had a pretty good feeling about this tweet as soon as I sent it.  My friend Jeff was on weather in our broadcast class that day, and we had to come up with an original hashtag.  I decided on #SunshineSlawson (his last name) because it highlighted his weather and included alliteration and a humor factor.  Jeff said he was going to retweet it, so I already knew I had some engagement coming my way.

However, the use of the video was key.  I probably got a lot of engagements by people watching the clip of Jeff doing weather at the green screen.  The hashtag didn’t draw in people since it was new, so the video was the main piece to this tweet.  I found in several tweets that video was even more effective than pictures.

6. 438 impressions, 19 engagements, 4.3% engagement rate

After we make packages for BDJ on days that we act as reporters, we also have to write a web story to accompany the video.  The day after I wrote the story with the video, I decided to tweet it out.  Two things helped me.  First, I included both #NCCNews (the Newhouse student news network) and #TrumpTuesday (a weekly event held by Mayor Miner) as well as #Syracuse and #SU.  Four hashtags is a lot, but it really helped me draw in engagement from many different angles.

Second, I included the link to my web story.  It gave people something to click on, and I know that many of my followers watch my packages. I figured they’d also click on the story, and it turned out pretty well.

5. 446 impressions, 1 engagement, 0.2% engagement rate

This tweet was referencing a periscope done by former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling.  Schilling has been very controversial for his vocal right-wing opinions on politics.  However, he is still very much a big name in recent baseball history.  He was very famous and very good in his prime, and people remember him from some really famous moments.

Therefore, I knew I could just reference his stream with his original tweet in there and get people to see it.  I only received one engagement and one like, but over 400 impressions.  It didn’t necessarily draw a lot of engagements, but a lot of people saw it because I included a famous and controversial figure.

4. 503 impressions, 9 engagements, 1.8% engagement rate

This tweet was a no-brainer.  I played off of several tactics that we learned early in the class.

First, also include video if you have it.  The Periscope assignment made this easy.

Second, time your tweet well.  I decided to set this tweet for just around lunchtime when people would start to feel the first wave of energy since the day started.  They check Twitter for fun things to quickly catch their attention.  This leads me to number 3.

Third, ALWAYS include cute things if you can.  My cat was staying with me for the week, so I knew I needed to use him at some point on Twitter.  He’s just too cute.  I thought I would show him playing with a toy because it would get people to stop and watch.  Sure enough, I got over 500 impressions.

3. 674 impressions, 31 engagements, 4.6% engagement rate

This is very similar to the style of tweet that I used in #6.  I decided to draw in engagement by tagging both Newhouse and the Newhouse BDJ Department, and I included the deep link to my latest web story for my package.

Yet again, I got a retweet from the BDJ Department and a like from Newhouse.  A few other people engaged as well, but the two big ones were those.  I also got a lot of clicks on my web story, which I needed to increase engagement as well as impressions.  I was pretty happy with the way this story was done.

2. 721 impressions, 61 engagements, 8.5% engagement rate

This was one of my first tweets for the class.  I decided pretty early on that I wanted to include as many pictures as I possibly could.  I figured that using a bunch of my books that were completely different colors, I would draw the eye.

I probably should have used more hashtags in this post, but I still did really well on both analytics and overall likes.  I got seven likes and a retweet, and over 700 impressions total.  Not my best tweet in hindsight, but it still got me a lot of impressions.

  1. 1,062 impressions, 10 engagements, 0.9% engagement rate

This was the best tweet I had mainly because it was the tweet I promoted for the viral content challenge.  I got over a thousand impressions because so many people saw the tweet.  It was a pretty solid tweet as well, with a call to action and a picture to accompany the link to my Imgur.

Actually, since I got over 2,500 total views on my Imgur post, I guess the tweet was pretty successful.

Overall, my tweets generally got better over the semester.  I used more hashtags and more links to accompany the pictures I had been using since the beginning.

I think I began to absorb the successful tactics as the semester gradually rolled ahead.  The proper tone and voice, the better use of hashtags and overall better content made my Klout score increase.  My analytics also showed that most of my best tweets were near the end of the semester.  I think that my tweets are better in general because of what we learned in class and I hope to continue using them in the future.

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