As a public relations master student, we are always told about the importance of personal branding and social media presence. Whether you love or hate social media, there is no doubt that it is necessary to be active as a professional and to utilize the tools that some may not even know are available to you. Initially I had started this class with 843 Twitter followers and I am now finishing the semester with 868 (including Moe’s Southwest Grill and public relations maven Christine Kirk). While my followers only increased 2.9%, I strongly believe in quality over quantity. Additionally, my Klout score at the beginning of the semester was 40 and has now increased to a 49.59. Again, the increase was not groundbreaking but it is certainly something I am proud of as my goal was improvement overall and being consistent across platforms.
Certainly, the process of increasing influence and growing your personal network is all trial and error. In school, we are taught to network at events and conferences but doing so in the social media space is a completely different playing field. One technique that I mostly used for increasing my influence and network was analytics. We learned about a plethora of tools that can help us better engage with our audience and I can certainly say I found myself on social rank and Twitter analytics before sending out tweets. After doing this I was sure to mention and reach out to followers to ensure they know they are a valued member of my following. In addition, I used relevant hashtags to bring in a new audience with similar interests. Doing so definitely brought me new Twitter followers with a similar voice as mine.
When reflecting on the collection of social media posts that I have compiled, it becomes very clear which techniques worked and which did not. First, I learned the importance of valuing your followers. Much like face-to-face communication, humans naturally enjoy hearing their name. By using social rank and Klout I was able to easily identify which of my followers are most engaged with me, allowing me to show them some love. This technique works in the form of a retweet, mention or quote tweet.
— Macy (@macccccccy) January 20, 2018
I also learned to always tag people no matter how far-fetched it may seem. As you can see below, I tagged my favorite poet when highlighting an important message within one of his poems. To my surprise he retweeted my tweet to his 74.4K followers. The post has now generated close to 13,000 engagements—you truly never know.
— Macy (@macccccccy) April 26, 2018
My favorite type of posts to share on Twitter are witty and relatable. Although I can appreciate what others are doing daily, I will only share a post if it resonates with me. Thinking about my own Twitter habits, I found that my most successful posts are relatable to others and easily sharable. The tweet itself may seem simplistic but it is more likely, in my opinion, that it will get shared and gain engagement that way.
Nothing brings people together quite like the playing of “Sweet Caroline” in a public place
— Macy (@macccccccy) April 19, 2018
Even though there are statistics that prove this to be true, I got to experiment with the power of rich media this semester and have found that it definitely increases engagement. When I incorporated a gif or a photo into my posts I received more overall interaction. I guess it is safe to say you are more likely to stop scrolling if you see a gif of Jimmy Fallon sipping a margarita.
— Macy (@macccccccy) February 22, 2018
I am not the type of person to share negative content on my social media simply because it does not fit my personal voice–nobody likes a negative Nancy. A technique that I did recognize toward the end of this semester is how much better positive posts perform in comparison to neutral or negative. Sharing a powerful positive message for #WisdomWednesday is bound to resonate with the general public.
— Macy (@macccccccy) February 28, 2018
This may seem like a no-brainer for some but hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Using relevant hashtags is a great technique for not only getting more social media engagement but also for forming a community with those who share common interests with you or even sparking a conversation. I used #HappyThursday, which was trending at the time. I can also say that I feel day of the week hashtags are very powerful and trend week in and week out i.e. #MotivationMonday, #WisdomWednesday, #ThursdayThoughts.
— Macy (@macccccccy) February 8, 2018
Twitter: a great networking tool. Before this class I never thought I would say that. Not only can you reach out to anyone in your desired field, you can also create your personal brand on the platform. I reached out to @LuxuryPRGal on Twitter ultimately to tell her that I look up to her, she responded in a very positive way and followed me back. This is not to say that relationships should be formed only on social media, but I now feel I have the means to ask her to get a coffee in the future.
— Macy (@macccccccy) February 28, 2018
In comparison to previous techniques discussed this may sound silly, but I found that cute animals alone are an effective social media technique. It is no secret that most people have a soft spot for furry friends, so why not give the people what they want? You’d be surprised how much engagement you will receive.
— Macy (@macccccccy) February 15, 2018
Some may think that since Instagram is a totally different platform than Twitter that the techniques would differ. But throughout this experience I found there was a great deal of overlap regarding what worked and what did not. To begin, both of these posts are positive. I am sharing something positive about myself and others. It may be because my followers are friends and peers from my previous educational experiences, however, people respond well to seeing others doing well on social media. Due to the fact that I am not a fan of “hashtag spam” I choose to hide most of my hashtags in the comment section. I noticed that by doing so, I got more likes from people outside of my usual audience. Finally, I found that photos of myself did better than say posting an inspirational quote. I would argue this is because of rich media once again. Although posting a quote on Instagram is technically still a photo, it is not as rich as seeing someones face.
Another technique that I wanted to note was the use of the location tag. I noticed that once I began implementing location into my posts, I drew in a new audience even if it is just Syracuse, New York.
Overall, I found this experience to be very beneficial. As I begin my future career endeavors, I know that I will constantly be referring back to these techniques. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to utilize social media for a class as it is becoming a crucial skill to have in the professional world.