A Social Media Lesson in How to Gain Followers

In 2011 I established my Twitter handle, @laurakellerman_. My early Tweets all tended to revolve around some sort of high school dilemma, achievement, or observation, but none of my Tweets were truly noteworthy.

Fast-forward to 2017 and what am I left with? An outdated Twitter handle with zero activity or engagement and a bunch of lame Tweets from my high-school self. I began my journey through Newhouse Social Media Class with a total of 135 followers and a killer Klout score of 16 (killer of course for a Twitter that hadn’t been touched in two and half years).

Through the course of the semester, I experimented with rich-media, account tags, and hashtags to create truly noteworthy Tweets and discover the very best Tweeting techniques that gained my rusty account not only engagement, but 30 new and active followers.

The greatest skill I mastered this semester was the art of getting business interaction. My Tweets that received the most engagement all stemmed from creating Tweets centered around company’s handles.

Through tagging three influential businesses in Montauk, NY, I received not only a ‘heart’ from each company, but also a retweet from @whalebonemag. I utilized the #FollowFriday hashtag, to promote the brands’ social accounts, while also advertising my handle to an audience larger than just my followers. The Tweet had a total of 771 impressions and 21 engagements, while also directing Twitter users to my profile as I received 8 profile clicks.

Likewise, tagging @CafeKubal proved to be quite successful as well.

Cafe Kubal gave the Tweet both a ‘heart’ and retweet, which boosted engagement to a total of 43 and impressions to 952. Utilizing rich-media also gave the Tweet an advantage as it captured IRL social media in a location that is familiar to those following @CafeKubal. In hindsight, including #Syracuse or #SyracuseU could have further improved the amount of engagement on this Tweet as it would have broadened the Tweet’s reach to those outside my followers or Cafe Kubal’s followers.

After feeling quite content with my Tweeting skills post-IRL photo, I utilized the same tactic by targeting Modern Malt, another local eatery.

For this Tweet, I included the restaurant’s account, their commonly used hashtags, the Syracuse hashtag, and a photo. Unfortunately, the Tweet did not achieve as much engagement as I had hoped, most likely due to the non-existent retweet by @eatdrinkmalt. However, they did give it a ‘heart’ and overall, the Tweet still received 330 impressions as well as 23 total engagements. The photo certainly helped boost engagement because naturally, who doesn’t love seeing a bit of fruity pebble french toast on their timeline?

Although my Modern Malt Tweet didn’t necessarily meet the high expectations I had for it, my attempt with @ChipotleTweets certainly surprised me.

Don’t be fooled by the single ‘heart,’ Zach from @ChipotleTweets personally apologized for the lack of guac on my burrito bowl. I had originally designed the meme as a potential candidate for our class’s Viral Challenge. After going in a different direction for the challenge, the perfect opportunity arose for this meme to shine and it definitely did. The relatable content not only caught @ChipotleTweets’s attention, a fellow classmate also replied. Overall, the Tweet had a total of 441 impressions and 94 engagements. The engagement may not be as high as one would expect, but I would like to personally thank Zack from Chipotle for the shoutout.

My strategy of targeting businesses through my Tweets also proved successful with the one and only Good Uncle and Stickys Finger Joint.

Although I was secretly hoping that this Tweet may inspire Good Uncle to provide me with a free life-time supply of tenders , I did get a retweet from company’s founder and CEO @wileycerilli and five ‘hearts.’ I executed this Tweet using two additional strategies outside my typical company tag and hashtags. I incorporated the #CanNeverGetSickOf hashtag, which was trending at the time of the Tweet as well as included a Jerk Magazine article whose content covered the  best foods to order from Good Uncle (tenders of course being top of the list). While I may still be paying full price for Stickys’ tenders, the Tweet was at least rewarding with 1,728 impressions and 48 engagements. And as for the thread, the thoughts of Stickys’ tenders distracted me in the process of creating this Tweet; Thus, the #NHsmc was forgotten.

As a result of my success with #CanNeverGetSickOf, I decided to reuse the trending hashtag tactic.

For this Tweet, I used a photo featuring a Snapchat sticker in addition to the #ManCrushMonday hashtag and emojis. The combination of the three techniques created a relatively captivating tweet that ultimate earned 309 impressions and 26 total engagements. While it did receive three ‘hearts,’ overall, the Tweet didn’t receive as much engagement as many of my other Tweets had. I would attribute this to the day in which I decided to Tweet. Perhaps if it was done on an actual Monday it would have had more engagements.

Likewise, my #envelopegate Tweet had a similar outcome.

As per any award show, this year’s Oscars left Twitter buzzing, especially after the infamous Envelopegate. In the wake of this event, I decided to Tweet to the Academy. To execute the Tweet in a way that I hoped would achieve the most interaction, I tagged the Academy and included #envelopegate and #oscars. The Tweet received 328 impressions and a sub par number of engagements totaling to 6. The low amount of interaction could be due to two possible Tweet decisions, the lack of rich-media and 12-hour delayed post date.

As the course continued, so did my rich-media Tweeting skills. I began to notice that Tweets which incorporated either photos, videos, GIFs, or polls tended to obtain a higher number of impressions and engagements.

For this Tweet, the photo and its content, the comical Linda and her sassy daughter Louise, attracted attention with an overall 259 impressions and 22 engagements. For one of my earlier Tweets, it did quite well with four ‘hearts.’ However, including additional hashtags such as #BobsBurgers, could have further boosted engagement and promoted the Tweet to a broader audience.

While my photos surely enticed engagement, so did my first Twitter Poll.

For this post, I devised the toughest ‘would you rather’ I could think of, followed by a poll. It may be lacking hearts, but 18 Twitter users participated over the course of 24 hours. The Tweet as a whole earned 235 impressions and 23 engagements. The engagement can be credited to the content. Creating a polls was a simple way to engage followers and let’s be real, everyone loves a good ‘would you rather.’

Knowing that photos and polls sparked engagement, it’s no surprise that video did as well.

For the video, I created a series of shots using the native Twitter video feature in which all my breakfast essentials went completely wrong. The Tweet received a retweet and two ‘hearts,’ that boosted impressions to a total of 356, media views to 57, and engagements to 21.

Four months after my venture through Newhouse Social Media Class, my practice with rich-media, hashtags, freemium analytic platforms, TweetDeck, and of course clever content creation helped me truly master the art of Tweeting. Overall, I discovered my most successful Tweets were those that used rich-media while also targeting people or companies through tags and hashtags, while my most unsuccessful Tweets were short of hashtags and only consisted of copy. While not all my Tweets were stellar, those that were bolstered my number of followers. Over the semester, my total number of followers increased by 22% to 165, while my Klout score jumped to 37 with my increasing influence in the social media realm.

So thank you #NHsmc for helping me master the art of Tweeting, it’s been real.

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