How to grow the right audience on social media by Kirsty McKenzie
Building a readership or following as a writer on social media these days truly is a long slow burn, especially if you commit to being true to yourself and maintaining your authenticity in the process. If I were to dare compare myself with some of my contemporaries, then I would without a doubt be considered the slow fumbling tortoise in a race against seriously social media savvy hares. I’m certainly not someone that can dish out all the tips and tricks of the trade when it comes to building a mountain of followers in a hurry, because if I’m honest as a general rule, that doesn’t really happen anymore.
In the early days when you start out blogging, there’s a tiny buzz of excitement, the ‘what-ifs’ and the ‘could-bes’ run through your mind at every post. The idea that you’re putting your words out there in the universe for others to read can be unnerving, but it can also be exhilarating. It’s definitely hard not to look around, only to see that your audience is small and wonder to yourself ‘Is anyone even reading anyways?’. But this is really your time to shine. This is the time for you to lay the ground work, or the foundation of what it is that you’re really about. This was without a doubt, my favourite time for myself.
The beauty of blogging is that you don’t have to have it all figured out from the get-go. All you need to do is be authentic with your voice, and the rest will flow. As a writer, this is key, whether you’re writing a blog or a work of fiction. The best way to attract the audience that you eventually want to have, is to write. Over and over and over again. If this is something new to you, then the best thing you can do is practice. Keep jotting down the thoughts swirling around in your head. The words that make repeat appearances in your mind, a sentence here, or a paragraph there. This is what I like to think of as divine intervention, or intuition. Go with it, however it comes out.
Writing to me is fluid, like water. Ever changing. It moves in and around any obstacles in its way, and changes to suit the environment. Over time you’ll notice it’s carved out its own path, constantly moving. Your writing style will be the same. My style has changed greatly over the years, but it’s always been 100% authentically me. And with that, my audience has changed too. My writing comes from somewhere inside me, completely fuelled by my emotions. In my early days, I used humour to cope with the perils of early motherhood, and that’s how I wrote. That attracted a certain kind of audience. Many of whom are still with me but even now, tend to only resonate with my funnier pieces. In more recent times, I’ve found healing for myself through writing from the heart. More in depth and emotional pieces, and with that comes a different kind of audience. So, as you grow and change, don’t be disheartened to see that your readers might too.
You don’t need to remain stagnant in order to keep others entertained, if you do that then you’ll likely lose track of what you’re setting out to do. Like I said earlier about the water, it needs to flow continuously. Followers, and readers will always fluctuate. You’ll have some stick around, and after years together, they’ll feel like part of the family. Others will come by for a brief moment, take what they need from your words, and move on. It’s all ok.
What I’ve found from being a writer in this social media world, is that it’s not about the quantity of that little number on my home page, it’s about the quality and strength of the people that they represent. I might be the tortoise here, but the slow-moving tortoise has the time to take it all in along the way. The time to connect with those she comes in contact with, and the time to connect with who she really is, and what she really wants to be known for, and for that I’m grateful. It’s easy to get caught up in the fads, and the bandwagons. Or worrying about why your following isn’t growing. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t. But I’ve always found my way back to my original purpose, and what I really want to be known for. Writing.
I write for the people, not for the numbers.
And most importantly, I write for myself.
Kirsty McKenzie is an author, storyteller, and all around authentic influencer who has amassed a staggering 15+k followers on Instagram with her honest, relatable, and often hilarious posts. You can find out more about her on her blog, Kidspot, or try to spot her IRL filling her pool with a garden hose.