With only two weeks of class left, I can honestly sit here and say time has flown by. This semester has brought me so many highs and yes, my fare share of lows, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything; I’ve seriously grown as not only a person but as an academic. When I started COM 427 in January, I was a girl who loved social media but was pretty clueless about a lot of its functions. But now, sitting before you, I feel more confident in social media and my abilities than I ever have before.
When I started this class on 1/20, I had 25 followers…pretty mediocre, I know, especially since I had my Twitter since October of 2015- there’s no way I’d ever be a Kardashian with that poor showing. Now, three months later, my follower count has jumped to 101, a growth of 76. Using a percent increase calculator, I determined my increase growth as 304 percent. When we started this class, we also analyzed our Klout score. In a nutshell, Klout essentially allows you to gage your social media influence as well as your social impact rating. When I began, my Klout was approximately 13; today, 90 days later, my Klout is approximately 53.
Of course none of my growth and success happened over night (trust me, I wish); this semester has truly been a trial-and-error type process when trying to increase my influence and my network. One of the things I found greatly helped my network grow was my ability to live tweet. Since my follower base in the beginning was so small, using national hashtags helped generate more attention to my account. I began by tweeting about the Super Bowl and worked my way up to events such as The Bachelor finale. It was through this that I gained some of my most impressions on my tweets and even random followers who agreed with my views. Live tweeting is a process; you can’t just tweet once during an event and expect it to gain traction- it takes time and creativity, playing around with different graphics and even retweeting your own tweet at different hours of the night. You have to be witty and quick on your feet, otherwise someone else will steal your content…and trust me, it’s easy for your tweet to get washed away with the million and one others with the same idea. Another thing I found worked for gaining influence was engaging with Adweek. Every week, at predetermined times, they do what’s called #AdweekChat where they pose questions to their followers based upon big current events of that week. Frequently during the semester I would engage with their questions and it would generate great response- my most successful response resulted in a follow from Adweek as well as a direct response from one of their writers and their corporate handle. Engaging in this live-style Q/A really taught me the importance of engaging with active Twitter handles. Often it can be hard to get recognition from a large company, so I found instead of constantly tweeting at them, I would respond to something they posted and would garner more engagement. This point ultimately correlates to one of my techniques that failed, direct targeting. Throughout the semester, I tried to tweet at individuals in my field (that I found off Klout) but received little to no success. These individuals had higher Klout scores than I did, but they weren’t Miley Cyrus level. This actually surprised me because I had utilized applications such as FollowerWonk to create social media that was supposed to resonate with them; however, I’m assuming because a ton of other people were tweeting at them as well as directing tweets with them in it that my content got lost. Ultimately, one of the biggest take aways is that my network grew by promoting my own content, not someone else’s.
But it’s one thing to say my content received engagement but it’s another to show it. Below I analyzed my top 10 most successful tweets, taking into account impressions as well as retweets/comments.
Vanessa won the electoral vote, but Raven won the popular vote #TheBachelorFinale
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) March 14, 2017
The above tweet was my most successful of the semester, as it received the most impressions. I realized soon after I tweeted it out that I was missing #NHsmc so on the tweet I commented the hashtag and was able to generate attention to it. The inspiration for this tweet came from the presidential elections, as people stated Trump had won the electoral vote, but Clinton had won the popular vote. Hence, for the Bachelor Finale, which was quite controversial, I did a mock version of the election tweets. Using the main hashtag for the finale, which was generated by ABC, I was able to produce 13,265 impressions with 561 engagements. Throughout the 3 hour finale, I tweeted and untweeted my Tweet since the hashtag was generation a ton of tweets, as the finale had a viewership of 8.4 million. It was through this technique that my tweet was constantly being floated around in the “twitter-verse”. I chose not to use any photos or media in this post because I felt the content was strong on it’s own- and clearly it was. What I found happened was many of the people who retweeted the post first liked it, allowing my engagement numbers to jump. This tweet ultimately succeeded because I knew my target audience and stuck to only engaging with them.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) February 7, 2017
The above tweet generated my most follower engagement. While I’ve had more likes on other tweets, this was the tweet that had the biggest response from my own followers, with 17 likes and 6 retweets. This tweet was successful because the gif truly matched the wording. The tweet is funny, as everyone can essentially relate to sending a “risky” text to their significant other or someone they’re interested in. I feel this post succeeded because the gif itself was engaging. I’ve determined my followers love dogs, so I decided to utilize this to my strength and create a meme from it. Thus, I produced a tweet with 1,247 impressions and 101 engagements. One thing this class has taught me is know your audience. If your followers are college students, create content that resonates with them, otherwise you’ll never succeed in generating attention to your content. It was here I also played with some hashtags which fit the food of the gif. I seriously underestimated the value of a hashtag before I took this class, as I thought they were silly. However, I quickly realized they created a stronger mood and focus for your tweet as well as broadened your net for engagement. I’ve learned hashtags are not overkill so long as they’re strategic.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) March 7, 2017
This tweet incorporated a lot of the skills we had discussed during the semester. The first obvious one is the use of color. We spent a decent amount of time in class discussing the importance of filters on our photos, no matter which platform. I had never really thought of the success value of certain filters until we learned certain filters are more successful with certain settings; aka, food gets a different set of filters than say nature. Because the photo was naturally already dark, I decided to utilize the black and white filters featured on Instagram. Not only did it make the picture more dramatic, it set a somber and gloomy tone, plus the use of black and white photos are not always the norm, so it stood out. The second item I played with was an emoji. Being from Syracuse, the orange emoji fit perfectly with the hashtags I included. While I wish I had received engagement from members of Newhouse or the Syracuse community, I did receive 602 impressions and 71 engagements, with a rate of 11. 8 percent. Ultimately, it was a reaffirmation that my photo was deemed “artsy” by my followers, something I appreciated. It’s clear that to set the mood of a tweet you must include a photo that catches your viewers attention.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) March 26, 2017
This tweet, which was the first “self-pride” photo of myself on my Twitter, received the highest engagement rate of the month, with 13. 6 percent, having 323 impressions and 44 engagements. While the number of likes isn’t extremely substantial, it’s important to note where they came from. The likes were all from girls in my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, but were girls I wasn’t previously following. I found this interesting because it reaffirmed to me the success of one of my hashtags, which was a dphie specific one. I also mentioned my specific chapter, allowing me yet another means to reach these girls. With this post, I ended up trying its success on another platform, which I decided was Facebook. On Facebook, I received almost 100 likes and 10 comments. This experiment ultimately showed me that more profile-essque photos did better on platforms like Facebook than Twitter. If I was to do this again, I would not only Target Delta Phi Epsilon HQ, but I would target organizations such as Total Sorority Move (TSM).
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) April 6, 2017
One reason I decided to highlight this tweet is because it was my first experience with a paid Twitter Ad. Because I had never paid to promote a tweet before, this was a learning curve experiment for me and I’m honestly surprised it received the engagement it did. I began my Twitter Ad in the middle of the week after having promoted my viral content meme for 2 days, which at this point had caused my followers to become bored. The tweet received two retweets and one like, allowing followers other than my own to see the content. Because the content was engaging, it was able to entice new followers. I also like this tweet because it utilized drop links. Not only was the picture a hyperlink to my Imgur, but the link to the Imgur was also present in the tweet, allowing two opportunities for the image to be visited. This class has taught me the importance of cross-promoting, as often your followers on one platform will stay loyal and follow you to another medium. Thus, one should make and/or tailor content to be carried over to multiple platforms, as that is the only way to create a truly successful media plan. Following this assignment, I began tweeting out more content of my own that included content of other’s on other platforms and found this created great engagement. This tweet ultimately received 908 impressions (not all organic) and 121 engagements, for an engagement rate of 21 percent.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) April 4, 2017
Anyone who knows me knows I love corgis…in case you don’t, my dog is plastered all over my Snapchat and my avid love for corgis is greatly highlighted in my Twitter bio. Thus, I decided to make a tweet utilizing my own dog, and it proved successful. While the tweet had 298 impressions and 40 engagements, my proudest moment was the outreach from the “corgi community.” The tweet received a like from @CorgiThings, a Twitter designated to solely all things corgis. Not only did a receive a follow back, every once and awhile they’ll tag me in cute corgi videos to keep me engaging with them. The only way I was able to achieve this relationship was by utilizing different versions of the corgi hashtag, which is how they found me. I chose this specific photo because it seems as if my dog is looking directly at the audience, creating an engaging tweet. One thing I would have done differently here is change the text across the photo. While I went the more sentimental route, I feel the post would have been stronger with a promotion of my own snapchat or my dogs’ finsta. The text of a photo is very important, as well as its placement…maybe next time I would place it higher up in the frame so it doesn’t get cut off in mobile.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) April 10, 2017
I think I can say this is probably the most artsy photo I’ve taken in awhile. Utilizing the Google street view application, I was able to reconstruct essentially a 360 photo of the area. The reason I selected this tweet was because it produced 10 profile clicks, in comparison to a normally 3 that I usually achieve; I do credit this to the creativity of the post. The photo is well taken but it was also done on a platform that is not as common because it is brand new. In an evolving world of social media, you have to adopt and try new techniques/programs. While utilizing this program was tiring, due to the intricacy of making sure every corner was covered, I did like the photo it produced and would definitely use it again, especially in a nature setting. I also like that no filters were used on this photo, and in the future, I would hope to attempt to A/B test this photo with a filter to see if it made a difference; I also tweeted this at an “off-hour”, so if I retweeted it at what many deem prime Tweet time (12-2, 5-7), would that have made a difference? It also would have been cool to make a collage of the photos; while they all didn’t have to be from #streetview, it would have been an engaging post if there were different varieties/angles of the same photo. This tweet has a total of 213 impressions.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) February 13, 2017
To execute this post successfully, I played a lot with spacing of the photos. Often people forget that posting a photo on a desktop does not translate the same as on mobile. Thus, I decided to build the collage off of my phone and post it to the web, allowing the images to be seen fully on both platforms. This tweet received 7 likes, all from individuals who were my followers. One of the things I’ve noticed, especially through this project, is I have a tendency to gravitate towards the same content. While I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I think in the future I need to come up with more innovative ways to either share the same content or branch out and try something new…just because my followers love corgis, doesn’t mean they won’t love other things. In my personal opinion, I think the collage element is more effective on Instagram, as it allows the user to swipe through the photos instead of just stare at the photos collectively. This class has taught me about how social media platforms adapt and evolve based on its competitors, and it’s interesting to me how platforms can use the same technical idea but in different ways. This post has a total of 351 impressions.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) March 27, 2017
This tweet highlights my first attempt at live video on Twitter, and considering that, it did pretty well, receiving 611 impressions (a high for that month). The execution for this tweet was based off of the #persicope challenge. Because I knew our entire class was on Twitter throughout the class period, I decided to make a post immediately after all of the periscopes were completed in class; because of this, my tweet was at the top of the feed, allowing me to get the impressions that it did. My experience with live video was very interesting, as there is more to a video then people think; you need to think about lighting, content, background noises, etc. I think this video was successful because it was short and to the point, and it generates a reaction out of people, almost like a “what the??”. I would absolutely try video again, but next time plan a more concise plan on what the video would feature.
— Dana Matuson (@dana_matuson) March 20, 2017
For my last tweet, I decided to analyze my twitter poll. What’s interesting about this tweet is that while it didn’t receive any physical engagement (like a like/retweet), it had eight people engage with the poll. This was interesting to me because it showed that engagement doesn’t always correlate to just likes and that people can engage with content in numerous ways. In creating this Tweet, I decided to first ask my friends of content that bothered them, thus the two twitter poll options were born. This idea of surveying your audience is something I will carry with me to the future, as while you may think you know your audience, there’s always more to learn. This tweet had 194 impressions.
Analyzing my tweets from the past 90 days has truly shown me my strengths and weaknesses as a social media communicator. Moving forward, I hope to build upon the foundations created from this class and continue to grow my influence as a social media expert.