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What you can learn from a college student’s Twitter feed

February 22, 2014

There’s a student at Colgate with almost 11,000 followers on Twitter. She’s currently a social media intern in my department. I hired her because she’s demonstrably good at social media.

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11,000 followers with less than 5,000 tweets. She has no built-in celebrity – Brian Williams has over 187,000 followers, but he has zero tweets. He has celebrity. Jackie doesn’t.

So how did she get that many followers? Here are my thoughts:

1. She’s well branded. Her feed is called Jackie O Problems and it is the very real problems of a college student. It involves classes, boys, food, housing, etc.

2. She’s focused. Jackie doesn’t talk about her fandom, politics, or the specific school she goes to. She talks about the problems associated with being a college student.

3. She isn’t niche. While this might seem counter to the above, it isn’t. She could post about specific Colgate problems, but she doesn’t. Look at her feed and unless she’s taking over the Colgate Twitter feed, her problems are broad.

4. She’s consistent. In the same way that she’s consistent, that makes her predictable. Follow Jackie and you’ll get funny, witty posts about being a college student. You can count in it.

5. She uses pictures. Her platform is full of images. They work. How many ads do you see without a picture? How many magazine articles don’t have images? Images work. Use them.

6. She understands her audience. I’ve heard her say: “That won’t really work for my audience.” She’s thinking about who is watching and what they want. Her content is for them.

7. She doesn’t post all the time. There isn’t a rule about how often to post. Post when you have something to say that fits all the above.

So what can you learn from Jackie? First of all, Twitter is a marketing tool, but it doesn’t work if you don’t have a strategy. Without a strategy, you’ll lack focus. If you aren’t something, on Twitter you’ll be nothing (unless you’re a celebrity, then you’ll be something for a bit.)

Be consistent: your audience should have an idea what is coming. They don’t have to know, but they should never be surprised. If Jackie live tweeted a hockey game, it would confuse her followers. If she live tweeted the Emmy’s, it would more-likely fit her brand.

Finally: she’s graduating this spring. She gets social media. You really should think about hiring her. 

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