In Reflection: My Personal Social Media Presence

Part 1: My Social Influence

At the start of the semester, my Twitter follower count was at 343. As graduation quickly approaches, I’ve grown by 30 and reached 373. To what do I owe the 8.72% growth? A new focus on incorporating richer media (photos, videos — even emojis!) and adding a hashtag when appropriate. Additions like that make a tweet that much more eye-catching when a follower is scrolling down an overly-condensed feed. Most of the tweets I had that garnered the most attention had some kind of additional media. What’s more, I could pretty much guarantee some kind of engagement if I used a hashtag — particularly a trending one.

Along with my follower count, my Klout score increased from 34 to 41 — a 20.59% increase. As for this growth, I mostly attribute it to an increased effort to @ more verified accounts, as well as influencers in the fields I typically tweet about.

Some highlights: had a couple conversations with @ChipotleTweets and @Skype. I used to be a little shy about directly tweeting at important Twitter users, but now that I have a bit of social media strategy to back up my contact attempts, I feel good about it. The trick I used was often thanking someone for something, or asking a question that involves a more thoughtful answer. It’s similar to not asking a “yes or no” question as a journalist. You want to say something to a source that will get them talking and engaging with you more. It makes for a more authentic interaction — which, in turn, gets you a better final product. Or in the case of Twitter, a strong networking connection.

As for what didn’t work? Following people in the hopes of a follow back proved to be a naive approach. I followed a few producers of news programs I respect, and since producers aren’t a big of public figures as anchors/reporters — and get less credit sometimes — I figured they’d take note of a new follower in their industry. As I should’ve imagined, it kind of worked for smaller market producers but not so much when I aimed higher.

My strategy here was to target my post to an foodie industry giant — Nobu. I made sure to @ them, include a well-composed photo as my rich media aspect, as well as add an emoji and the #foodie hashtag. A lot of my follows this semester have been thanks to that hashtag. I’ve also noticed the better the photo, the more engagement you’re going to get. Even if a tweet doesn’t completely pertain to someone, they could throw you a like just for a nice image. Combining all of those aspects together gave me a pretty powerful tweet. Even though the engagement numbers weren’t tremendously high (2 likes), I got engagement from my intended recipient, so I’m calling it a victory.

Unsurprisingly, a little positivity goes a long way! For this tweet, I strategically used a link because I knew people’s curiosity would lead them to click it — getting me more engagements in the process. I also followed my own emoji advice again, which added some character to an otherwise text-heavy tweet. Finally, I @’d a twitter I know is often checked by my peers, who were also the subjects of my tweet. Given that insight, I anticipated some engagement from the people my words pertained to.

This is easily one of my favorite tweets, largely because the collage option allowed me to add more of those well-composed photos I’ve previously mentioned. I find that collages get people engaging right away, because if you like the first photo, you’re eager to see what else makes up the collection. I also included the ever-popular #foodie tweet with this one, and garnered a few follows in the process. It seems to me the foodie community on twitter engages with one another a lot. I’m guessing this is because there’s constantly something new to garner from people joining the community — new recipes, restaurant recommendations, etc. — which is why I got pretty decent engagement (3 likes and a retweet).

These two tweets go together because I was trying my hand at livetweeting. I’ve done some livetweeting in the past during primary debates and other political/news-related events, so I did know what to expect a bit. The #JointSession hashtag was trending, so I tried to use optimize my tweet with that. For multiple reasons, I also tried to remain pretty neutral. Obviously, as a journalist, my social media shouldn’t really be a window into my political leanings. But also, I find that in regards to Trump news/political landscape tweets, being neutral and somewhat unifying gets more attention than bold pro- or con-someone comments. My engagement was only a few likes here and there, but I attribute that to my twitter audience being mostly comprised of friends over the years, with a smaller group of industry professionals. That’s something I’m hoping to continue working on.

This tweet did not get a huge amount of engagement (5 responses) but I included it because I got to make use of an emoji in an otherwise text-heavy tweet, twitter polls and pinned tweets. These were all aspects that I think helped elevate the tweet. Adding the emoji set me apart from other polls, too, I think. And adding the hashtag probably got more eyes on it than otherwise. Plus, I now know how to more effectively apply these strategies in the future.

This tweet was not necessarily for class, but I think I employed some solid strategies. For one, I tweeted directly at Bob Dotson (one of the journalism industry’s greatest storytellers). He had visited a class of mine earlier in the day, so by tweeting at him, I was following up on something that would be fresh in his brain. I didn’t have room for a hashtag or emoji, but quoting something he said directly gave him something very specific to respond to. And he did! We proceeded to have a conversation via Twitter and he engaged a lot with the tweet — replying, liking and retweeting. Once he did that, his followers and industry connections also started engaging, getting me to 5 likes!

For this tweet, I added my usual rich media elements — an image and an emoji. I think this got the engagement that it did (4 likes) because it was a more personal post, and my audience are mostly people who know me. Plus, since my Twitter is typically very professional and not terribly personal, adding a selfie of myself and what I was doing (still industry-relevant) added a little character and make mine a more fun to engage with.

I included this tweet because RTing my most engaging tweet from the prior month gave some renewed life to the original tweet. I had tweeted @ChipotleTweets and got some engaged in return — some sarcastic banter in the form of replies — so the retweet notified Chipotle again, which could have gotten me more impressions. Also, even though I was being facetious when I hashtagged #newsmatters in comparison to burritos, that hashtag is highly relevant because of the current media climate — and a series of workshops Newhouse has been doing with the #newsmatters branding. So adding that likely got me added impressions as well, hence the 3 likes and a reply.

Finally, my last tweet showcases my use of a gif — which I think is one of the best forms of rich media Twitter offers. When people scroll past it, it catches the eye more than a photo, and usually people will take enough time to finish watching the loop. I also made sure to employ the #foodie hashtag, which is what I think got me the 2 likes.

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