Influence & Social Media: A Semester’s Growth


At the beginning of our Social Media Theory & Practice course, I had 1,130 followers on Twitter. I thought this to be a decent amount, although I’d had the account and used it on and off since 2009, meaning I’d only gained a rough average of around 141 followers per year. In the three months (January 20, 2017 to April 20, 2017) of this course, my follower number has increased by 244 followers to 1,374– a 21.59% increase, and a much greater increase than I’d typically seen in the past.

I believe that several social media techniques attributed to this growth, especially using rich media (photos, videos, GIFs, emojis, screenshots) as often as possible to make my content stand out, actively reaching out to influencers in my fields of interest, monitoring and applying hashtags and trends on local, state, national and international scales, and boosting the content of others that I found to be interesting and well-executed. Below, I will explore some of my most successful tweets from the past semester, showcasing examples of these techniques and discussing why I believe that they garnered high volumes of traction and engagement.

In addition to using the hashtag #NHsmtp to tweet content relevant to our class and to our personal experiments with applying social media theories learned during the semester, we also used Twitter as a way of boosting our other social media networks, including (but not limited to) Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and WordPress. Some classmates also elected to utilize Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Foursquare and others. Twitter turned out to be a great way to cross-promote our other social media profiles and vice versa.

While engagement across such different platforms could be difficult to calculate with precision and fairness (as some classmates were extremely active on many platforms, while others focused their attention on a select few) the tool Klout was able to do this for us using an algorithm based on the quantity of content we put out into the social media realm and the quality or influence that it could have on our followers based on analytics such as retweets, upvotes, likes, reposts, views, impressions, profile clicks, link clicks, and more. In order to make Klout relevant to all social media users and not just those active on every platform, Klout measures one’s accumulated influence across all platforms they connect.

Klout takes all of this information into account and gives you an ever-changing “score” between 1 and 100 that helps to provide insight into how influential and engaged your social media accounts are on any given day. According to Klout’s support website, “We measure multiple pieces of data from several social networks, and also real world data from places like Bing and Wikipedia. Then we apply them to our Klout Score algorithm, and then show the resulting number on your profile. The higher your Klout Score, the tougher it becomes to increase.” More information on the algorithm can be found in this white paper.

At the very beginning of the course, my Klout score was 58. To give context to this number– which, if graded like school work, would be a failing grade — the average user’s Klout score is 40, and anything above 60 means that a user is in the top 5% of most influential registered users. During the semester in Professor Grygiel’s class, my Klout score peaked at 63.08, with my current score hovering pretty consistently between 62 and 63. The site breaks down which networks contribute the most to your score (based on which you’re most influential on), and my breakdown is as follows: Instagram (48%), Twitter (28%), Facebook (16%), YouTube (6%) and LinkedIn (5%). I’m interested to play around with different platforms and to connect with quality, highly-engaged influencers across some of my less influential platforms to see whether I can increase my overall Klout score. I think that beginning to do this over the course of the semester, along with creating more engaging content that therefore drew influencers to me, helped my growth. I hope to continue to see it increase.

Using Twitter analytics, I’ve been able to measure over the course of the semester what types of Twitter posts could be deemed the most successful, and what I could have done to make them even more so. Here are my top 10 Twitter posts of the semester, along with a brief commentary on what went right–and occassionally, what I might have done differently if given the chance.

As I list these most successful tweets, it’s important to note the analytics that I will be using to determine which make the list. These factors include: impressions (the total number of times it appeared on someone else’s timeline), the number of link clicks, profile clicks, likes, replies, detail expands & retweets a post received, the overall engagement (which tallies these figures besides impressions), and then the engagement rate as a percentage. Personally, I find engagement to be more important than impressions, so while impressions may be a quick way to narrow down top posts, I’m going to be focusing on engagement, particularly engagement rates.


This post easily received the top number of impressions of my #NHsmtp class posts, with 10,734 impressions overall. I was also pleased to see the following engagement analytics:

Total Impressions: 10,734
Total engagements 539
Media engagements 229
Detail expands 93
Retweets 87
Likes 84
Link clicks 12
Hashtag clicks 12
Replies 11
Profile clicks 11

For a grand total of 5.0% engagement. I believe that this post was successful because I used rich media (a very powerful, relevant cartoon) along with trending hashtags that dealt with a human rights issue that I am passionate about. I believe that one’s personal sentiment behind each tweet has to be genuine, or else other users will quickly see you as using click bait to gain their engagement. If I could do anything differently about this tweet, I would have made sure to accredit the proper source for the photo (which I found on Google images, but did not yet know that accreditation was needed on Twitter as so many people unfortunately skip this step!)



This post was extremely personal to me, as it went into deep detail about Lyme disease, a chronic condition that I’m battling. A lot of misunderstanding surrounds the illness, so I wanted to share some of my personal experience. I used the notes tool to make a Twitter collage, which compelled users to click to see what the text was all about. I received the following analytics for a 14.4% engagement rate.

Total Impressions: 1,442
Total engagements 207
Media engagements 79
Detail expands 74
Likes 21
Link clicks 12
Profile clicks 10
Retweets 8
Replies 3



I think that this post worked well because it played on a current event that seemed to never cease unfolding, followed a trending hashtag, included an original graphic, and the graphic was “Twitter safe,” meaning it was fully visible to mobile viewers without them having to expand to see a crucial part of it. This post received these analytics, and a 4.5% engagement rate:

Total Impressions: 751
Total engagements 34
Media engagements 20
Likes 9
Detail expands 3
Retweets 2



There’s something about lifting others up and having a generally positive sentiment that I found to draw a lot of users to engage with my posts. In this post, I not only made my best friend’s day, but I also showed the world how amazing he is. Users were likely curious as to who he was, clicking on the Twitter collage I made of us and of him, increasing my engagement statistics to 22% via the analytics below:

Total Impressions: 590
Total engagements 130
Media engagements 98
Detail expands 11
Likes 6
Link clicks 6
Hashtag clicks 6
Profile clicks 2
Retweets 1



Creating a Twitter poll was an assignment that we were required to do for class, but I decided to take it one step further and attempt to see where my own followers stood politically. I received over 100 votes, which was much more than I expected to receive, and was somewhat surprised to see how few of my followers supported Trump. Here are the analytics from the poll, which garnered 13.5% engagement.

Total Impressions: 854
Total engagements 115
Votes 65
Detail expands 34
Profile clicks 7
Retweets 5
Likes 3
Hashtag clicks 1



I think this post was successful for a few reasons– first, it reused one of my own original posts, gaining more traction than the first time I posted it. Second, it contained humor and showed the errors of technology that we so often forget exist on platforms as successful as Twitter. Here are the analytics, with 440 total impressions. It came in at 20.5% engagement rate overall.

Total engagements 90
Media engagements 56
Detail expands 20
Likes 6
Link clicks 4
Profile clicks 3
Replies 1



This post had some star power behind it, as well as an event hashtag. I made sure to take advantage of those. I also included a Twitter collage to make it more visually appealing. Here are the numbers this post brought in, which ended up with an 8.6% engagement rate:

Total impressions: 513
Total engagements 44
Media engagements 24
Likes 8
Detail expands 7
Link clicks 3
Hashtag clicks 2



One of our class assignments was to tweet with the hashtag #SpringBreak–but what wasn’t expected was that so many of us would be trapped in Syracuse in the snow due to travel delays. My original plans to go to Austin for SXSW didn’t work out, but I was able to make a spontaneous road trip to Boston with my boyfriend, who made his social media debut. I’m sure a lot of clicks were out of curiosity on that front. Here are the analytics for this post, which ended up having a total engagement rate of 20.3%

Total impressions: 374
Total engagements 76
Media engagements 54
Detail expands 11
Likes 5
Profile clicks 3
Link clicks 2
Replies 1



This post used the cross-promotion approach that I mentioned above to share a (rather funny) topic that Klout deemed me to be an “expert” in– comedian and actor, Larry David (one of my favorites). This not only drew attention to Klout, and the fact that I am active on it, but also played on Larry’s celebrity to draw in some of his mega fans. This post ended up with an 8.3% engagement rate.

Total Impressions: 325
Total engagements 27
Media engagements 15
Detail expands 5
Link clicks 3
Profile clicks 3
Likes 1



Finally, with an incredibly high engagement rate, was a Twitter moment that I created about the potential dangers of the HPV vaccine. It is a topic that has been in the news more and more, and which my own doctors speculate may have played a part in reactivating a dormant form of Lyme disease in my body. A Twitter moment essentially guarantees engagement, as long as the topic is interesting, and I figured that one sharing potentially vital information about a health issue would be of interest to many people. Of the 150 people who saw it, 38.7% proved me to be correct by engaging.

Total Impressions: 150
 Media views: 110
Total engagements 58
Link clicks 30
Detail expands 23
Media engagements 3
Hashtag clicks 2


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