At the beginning of the semester, I was very inactive on Twitter; I only used it to tweet out for class assignments, specifically stories I would cover in my broadcast classes. On the first day of class, we recorded the number of followers we had to give us a benchmark of our growth throughout the semester. On January 15, 2020, the number of followers I recorded was 31, most of whom were students in my classes. On May 10, 2020, 4 months later, I have 58 followers; thus, my account experienced an 87% growth over the course of the semester. In reviewing my analytics, I found it interesting that I gained the most followers in January, with a total of 15 new followers, most likely from the class. Another interesting thing I noticed was that my profile visits grew each month that passed: in January I had 131, in February I had 438 and in March I had 520.
I noticed a few things that helped increase my influence, the first being staying active; the more consistently I would post, the more engagement I would receive. Another thing that worked was tweeting engaging content (photos, videos, etc.). I noticed I would get more engagement if my tweet contained a picture or video because it’s more visually appealing for the viewer – richer media! The final thing that worked for me was quote tweeting – I noticed that I got better engagement when I quote tweeted something interesting or newsworthy and added a personal anecdote or personal flare. Another thing that helped was the class hashtag; while people outside of the class may not have necessarily understood what it meant, it was a way for my classmates and I within the course to support each other’s growth.
In analyzing my Twitter performance over the course of the semester, I gathered my top ten tweets from January to March that demonstrated the most solid engagement. While it is nowhere near the engagement I want to see as a journalist, it is a great start and I have learned so much that will benefit me in my career.
Perhaps one of the biggest food debates of the semester was the debate of chicken sandwiches: Chick-fil-a versus Popeyes. Personally, I absolutely love Popeyes, but think the Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich is way better than the Popeyes chicken sandwich. After having this argument with several of my fast food loving friends, I decided to take it to twitter and conduct a survey. Sure enough, my followers agreed that the Chick-fil-a sandwich is way better in an 85% to 15% win. Because Popeyes had just released this new menu item, I thought this poll would get a decent amount of engagement, which it did. I think I did a good job with the text and the drooling emoji, and decided to tag both fast food chains to see if they would engage – unfortunately, they didn’t. Something that is confusing to me is that on the tweet itself, it says I got 20 votes, but when I look on twitter analytics, it says I only had 6. Either way, I got a decent amount of engagement, with 333 impressions and 32 total engagements. I didn’t get any likes or retweets, but I think that because it’s a poll, people may have felt like voting was enough.
In these unprecedented times, it is important to remain cautious, yet compassionate and hopeful. When the class of 2020 found out that our in-person graduation could be cancelled, we were devastated. However, when they announced that we will get to graduate in the new Dome in the fall, it was a sense of relief for myself, and I’m sure many others. I decided to quote tweet the University’s official statement regarding commencement but add my own thoughts; I wanted to send a positive message to my followers, who are mostly graduating seniors, that despite these horrible times, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will receive the commencement we worked so hard for. I wanted to keep the text short, yet powerful and inspirational. I included the orange heart because Syracuse will always hold a special place in all our hearts, even though our time was cut short. This tweet had 422 impressions, 19 total engagements and 6 likes. Like my other tweets, this one could have gained more attention if I had used other hashtags, such as #cusestrong, #syracusemafia, #foreverorange, etc. While it would have been nice to get more engagement, this particular tweet was not about numbers for me, rather it was about getting the message out and spreading cheer in these difficult times.
In February, we were assigned to tweet at our top follower based on twitter analytics research. At that time, my top follower was one of my classmates, Marcus Gronauer, who has 676 followers and is extremely active on twitter. Because he is my classmate and friend, I wanted to keep the tweet conversational, lighthearted and hopefully make him laugh. For that reason, I included a GIF and a heart eyes emoji, again to show voice and personality and make it more of a friendly joke. The tweet got more favorites than most of my other tweets, coming in at a total of 6, and got 445 impressions. I think it had a that many favorites because he liked it, so it most likely came up on his followers’ timelines and they liked it as well. While reviewing my Twitter analytics more recently, I have a new top follower: @ArtSciencesSU, the official account of Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences which has 2,748 followers – sorry Marcus, you’ve been demoted!
In my 4 years at college, I heard many people talk about how much they miss their dogs, which is something I struggled with every time I left home. Because that is extremely common, I wanted to share my sweet puppies with my followers so that we could all miss our pets together. When tweeting, it’s important to think of the content your followers will enjoy or want to consume. We discussed that pictures and other forms of rich media help your tweets to gain more traction, so I thought that tweeting pictures of my dogs would be the perfect way to do that. While it did not get that many likes and retweets, 3 likes and 1 retweet, it did get a decent amount of impressions, meaning that 451 people saw the tweet. Like in many of my other tweets this semester, this could have gotten more likes and retweets if I had used a few more hashtags, since I only used two. I tried to pose a question to my followers, because I know that personally, if I see a tweet with a question in it, I am more likely to engage with it, rather than a tweet with normal text.
Cross promotion of media platforms has become increasingly popular as different platforms grow and adapt to the technological advances of our generation. In class, we learned that to link platforms to each other, it is important to not just put your “@,” because your username for each platform is different; instead, you must put the deep link to your account on the platform you would like to share, which is what I did when I shared my Instagram profile in a tweet. Since this tweet forced me to step out of my comfort zone, as it is something I would not normally do, I tried to make the text lighthearted and something that showed voice, another topic we discussed the importance of during class. I also made sure to include the deep link to my profile so that if my followers perhaps wanted to check out my Instagram, they could easily click it, rather than having to open the app and search for my username – making things as easy as possible for your followers is very important! I was surprised to see that in linking my Instagram account, this tweet received 29 media engagements.
Baby Nut, the biggest re-brand of the semester, was the subject of this tweet that had decent engagement. Because of how viral the original tweet went, I decided to quote tweet it and add my own personal flare. For this, I went for emotional invoking text and emoji’s that I thought people would agree with. After discussing the rebrand of Mr. Peanut in class, I followed up with some research and found that I wasn’t the only person that thought Baby Nut was adorable, and wanted to express that in my tweet with an emoji as well. I think if I used a few more hashtags, this tweet would have received more engagement and that is something I will consider in the future. I thought this would get more retweets and/or likes, especially since I was quote tweeting a super popular and trending topic, but I only received 4 likes and 1 retweet. Again, this could have been increased with using more hashtags and maybe even tagging the @MrPeanut account again.
I’ve always loved the quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” and in the case of this tweet, it is completely true. When my sister sent me this picture of my dog wearing a dog track suit, I had to show it to the world because it cracked me up and melted my heart at the same time. I know that personally, I am always a fan of animal content online, especially dogs, so I wanted to give it a try and see where it could go. I also know that posting dogs on social media has become a huge trend with its own set of hashtags and fan pages. Overall, it got decent engagement with 824 impressions, 6 likes and 1 retweet. I really thought this tweet would get more engagement than it did, but looking back, I realize I should have used more hashtags like #dogsoftwitter that would reach more people and boost my engagement.
One of the most valuable things I learned in this class is the importance of networking. As a journalist who one day hopes to end up back in her hometown of Washington D.C., I wanted to reach out to a fellow Newhouse alum that is living my dream life and after hearing Scott MacFarlane speak in Newhouse the year before, I knew he was the perfect person to achieve this goal. Even though he has 11.1k followers, I had seen him reply to a few of my classmates at various times throughout the past 3 years, so I thought I had a good change of hearing back from him and went for it; sure enough, he replied to me! I wanted to keep the tweet conversational, yet wanted to ask a thought provoking question.I used the hashtag #NewhouseMafia because in my research, that is one that is frequently used in the alumni network.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we were not able to meet in person but I hope to eventually grab a coffee with him once things settle down because, as we learned in class, face-to-face networking is always the best way to go. Something interesting about this tweet was that I remember gaining a few random followers after he responded to me. I think the reason this got 827 impressions and did better than most my other tweets was because I not only tagged Scott himself, I also tagged my professor, Keith Kobland, and used 3 separate hash tags. Also, getting a reply from him helped boost my engagement too! Even though it only got 4 likes, getting a response from Scott was one of the most exciting moments of my semester.
I remember having a lot of fun with this tweet. I am not a meme connoisseur by any means – quite frankly, I’d say I’m the opposite. However, this tweet allowed my personality and sense of humor shine, something that doesn’t happen often on my twitter because I’m mostly tweeting about stories I’m covering as a reporter. I am one to spend more money on the weekends than I should – shopping, spray tans, food and fun – and I know I’m not the only college student that has this problem, so I wanted something that would be relatable to my community and classmates at Syracuse. A few things worked with this tweet: the simplicity of the text, the use of a GIF and the content in the GIF…I mean, who doesn’t love a good Spongebob meme? I think it’s important to keep your text simple when working with memes. People like memes because they are short, easily consumable and funny, so I tried to keep that in mind. This tweet had a total of 834 impressions, 154 media views, 12 likes and 3 retweets; because this was a GIF, it attracted people’s eyes more than a regular tweet would and since GIFs automatically loop, people may have watched the loop a few times each. I tried to make it as relatable as possible to boost engagement, and I think it worked well.
This is the tweet that received the most engagement out of all my tweets this semester, with a total of 1,221 impressions, 230 engagements, 6 retweets and 10 likes. Although I didn’t use the class hashtag, I felt it was important to include this tweet in my analysis because of how well it did and the importance of the content in the tweet. Because of the pandemic, the class of 2020 lost a lot – our last few months on campus, the remainder of in-person undergraduate classes, spring formals and memories with friends, but most importantly, our commencement weekend. When we received the survey from Chancellor Syverud, I noticed the wording was tricky and wanted to make sure that people paid close attention when making their decision, rather than impulsively clicking. One thing that worked in this tweet was the use of capital letters; I think they drew attention to the tweet and showed a sense of urgency, which was my ultimate goal. Another thing that worked was tagging Syracuse University and including a photo – rich media! Finally, the timeliness and intensity of the situation played a key role in the amount of engagement because of how the entire class of 2020 was feeling at the time.
After analyzing my top tweets, I realized how significant hashtags are when trying to grow your follower base. So many of my tweets could have gotten more engagement if I had used more hashtags. As we discussed in class, when you are trying to grow your social media accounts, the best way to do so is to hashtag not once, not twice, but three times – at least!
Twitter has always been the one social media platform that I felt uncomfortable using. As an avid social media user, I was always worried I didn’t have a good/strong enough tone or voice when tweeting, and would feel discouraged if my tweets didn’t get attention. However, now I feel way more comfortable using the app because I see how powerful it can be, especially in the field of journalism. While I am not a professional by any means, I understand the ins and outs of the platform better than I did before, and know the keys to growing my account: rich media in my tweets, hashtags and staying active.
As I head into the real world, I am beyond grateful that I learned so many key insights to growing my follower base. My Twitter has grown so much since I started taking this class, and I can’t wait to use my new skills and knowledge to continue to grow and succeed.