GSME #2 :: Look at Me

Three weeks in, and my Experiment’s not going badly at all. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Last Week’s Standings

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Yesterday was a bust, but I think I can be allowed the odd day ‘off’ now and again, especially as it serves as a decent contrast to what came before. New contests were posted March 1st yet the higher engagement occurs on the days afterwards. My feed takes a while to pick up interest, which has historically always been true:at this point I’d also like to show total numbers for the first 6 days of March, which we’ll also use as a yardstick going forward.

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The -8 is important here for a reason: I removed people last week, and some drama ensued. Going forward, I intend to stick at a 900 follower ‘ceiling’ and won’t be looking at engaging anyone else without a compelling reason for doing so. What I am also seeing is a gradual disappearance of a number of long term followers, who aren’t happy that I’ve diversifying interests. They followed me just for Warcraft, and if I start talking about something else…? I’m used to this reasoning that people give, but the fact does remain that if you initially sell yourself as one thing and then turn into another, some of your followers will genuinely lose interest. This just makes me determined to work harder and see if I can build a more general audience based on output.

That means today I want to talk about increasing engagement: how you get people to read tweets, become interested in you as a ‘brand’ and produce content that isn’t just a recycled set of motivational quotes and you moaning about a bad day. It also means we’ll be setting a  second objective on the ‘To Do’ List: we’re not just aiming for 20k hits a day, now we’re looking for a MINIMUM of 5% engagement on each Tweet published. To make that happen? There’s some work to do, but I have some basic pointers for decent returns going forward:

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Pictures engage more than just words

The problem with a daily stream of content is that sometimes you just don’t have the time (or indeed inclination) to make the effort. The fact remains however that if I spend a minute taking a picture and then post that with text? People are more interested. However, my love of the animated .GIF only does so much to enhance this, as many people who access my content via mobiles have only so much data allowance, and so there should not be a desire to just stick one with every 140 characters. It means less random stream of consciousness posting, consideration of what goes in every tweet, and planning of long-term projects to make the most of the engagement I can get.

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Putting yourself front and centre

The biggest single surge of views + engagement last week, by quite some way, was when I broke anonymity and started selling me as myself, and not a ‘handle.’ The ‘alt’ is a major part of what I am: its on business cards, after all, and when I publish articles going forward I intend for a real name to be on all of them. Doing this inevitably opens me up to all sorts of potential issues, but as I’m a big girl now, the trick is to make sure that what gets used and said will always stand up to criticism. That means that drunk tweeting is a thing of the past (sorry those of you who enjoyed the last bout) but I’ve seen how potentially dangerous THAT can be. It also means you might see more pot-plant throwing going forward. If I’m getting frustrated with online stupidity, instead of sub-tweeting and filling my feed with drama? You’ll get this instead:

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Picking topics that your Audience enjoy

What caused a 17.2% surge of interest late week for me? This picture did:

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You don’t even need actual flesh, often the hint of it is enough to get everybody all riled up, and if you don’t know Sex Sells by now then you clearly have not been paying attention. This is however a pretty dodgy avenue to make a living on going forward… but, having said that, I have a few ideas around the topic, like this post on why you never see male pornbots selling women a good time. In more general terms however this proves that I should and will still be talking Warcraft/gaming, perhaps more than I have been of late, because the majority of my audience are receptive. However, other subjects are not off the table: food, media, photography and fitness all have interest, and I can do all of those now pretty much with my eyes closed.


That means, starting today, I’m aiming to make things matter whenever I press ‘Tweet’

Let’s see how well we can do by this time next week 😀

GSME #1 :: Learning to Fly

Last week, I started a journey to see how good (or otherwise) I could get at ‘doing’ Social media during my normal online life. To avoid an Oscar-style SNAFU I’ve already prepared my pictures beforehand on this one, so let’s see how I managed with my first objective from last week, could I sustain 20k engagements a day without really trying too hard?

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This number is totally doable as a starting point. I only scored 17k yesterday because I was hungover and didn’t really push anything particularly hard, but as you can see in the week it isn’t difficult to hit 40k for me when there’s summat going on that gets my feed all engaged to begin with. In Thursday’s case it was a bit of a Warcraft-related moment, and that taught me some important lessons on how the right combination of factors can really get your numbers soaring. However, to understand what makes the best combination of factors in engaging a reader… well, first you need to grasp exactly how these numbers are calculated.

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I’ve piced one of my most popular tweets this month to use as an example: The first bit (5832) in this case is simple enough:

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I know why its popular, I’m giving away free stuff. However, there is a world of difference between people just looking at your work and interacting with it, and that’s where the 385 comes in:

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That number is key: ideally you can have less impressions and more engagements and the tweet is more successful, at least in terms of delivering the right message to the correct people. That’s the percentage number, by the way:

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Oh and in case you don’t think that’s right, I even did the maths for you to prove the point:

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Shift your decimal point 2 spaces and BOOM there you go. This tweet may have had a squillion people look at it, but it fails in terms of making people sit up and listen (though for the record, 6% is massively good, see below.) To give you a better idea of exactly what has happened to any particular Tweet, Twitter also allows you to see the breakdowns, as follows:

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The truth is that out of nearly 6000 people seeing this one tweet I’ve managed 71 retweets, as of Sunday afternoon when I did this research. That’s neither simple or easy, it must be said. That’s also pretty insignificant when placed alongside accounts with six figure followers. Hey, nobody said this was going to be straightforward, and if your ‘dream’ of success is thousands of people favourite-ing your every word? Well, if truth be told you don’t need the numbers for success. What could be argued matters more is the ability to engage an audience, not have them simply go ‘yeah great’ and not read a word you wrote.

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Then we enter the realms of quantifying success. If you just want to sell yourself regardless, then all you want is clicks, right? Well, no, because as I said that 6% engagement rate means I’m targeting my stuff at pretty much an ideal audience. As an example, take a look at how Hootsuite got their engagement sorted once the analytical tools came out.

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Even going up into the tens of thousands of clicks, this only manages a 5.3% engagement rate. What this says (and makes me now sit and think) is that it isn’t just what you offer to an individual in terms of marketing that matters. Being self-effacing obviously has merit, and accepting that maybe it isn’t just about being the best or the cleverest either. Honesty sells, as does genuine emotion: humour, sadness and most importantly of all in the current climate, empathy. If you have enough balls to roast people I suspect that too will work well on engagement rates, but that takes bigger kahunas than I doubt I’d ever be able to get my hands on.

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It also proves that my love for the GIF has a lot to do with my current social media success, quite away from the giveaways. In fact I’ve garnered more people with my sense of humour and a well placed loop of imagery than has ever really come from the free stuff, and that’s an important lesson to learn going forward. This week’s homework therefore is looking at ways to raise my engagement rate without having to reach for the easy answer. There’s more than one way to sell yourself, after all, and knowing that I don’t need massive numbers just more interest?

That’s an interesting subject to ponder going forward.