You have to ‘give’ to grow your audience

05 April 2022 / By Nigel Cooper
Person listening to social media

In order to grow your audience on social media, it is important you have real clarity on who they are – not who you *think* they are.

You need to understand what they’re interested in and what they care about. 

Follow these 4 steps to start the process:

1. Find your audience

Obvious point here: to grow your audience, you need to find them first. 

Some obvious places to start are by searching hashtags and seeing who uses them and engages with them. For starters:

  • #writingcommunity
  • #amwriting
  • #amreading
  • #bookblogger

If you’re about to start querying, you might also want to include:

  • #amquerying
  • #asktheagent

You’ll find a lot of the writing community from readers, book bloggers right through to other authors, agents and publishers by simply searching on the above hashtags and following those who seem interesting to you …but you can and should go much deeper than the above.

As I said previously, think about what makes you unique and what really sparks your interest… are there hashtags related to that where you’ll find people of a similar interest also?

Remember, your social media profile has to reflect you as a fully-rounded human being.

You’ll fail if you’re only push marketing to get people to pick up or buy your book.

Other ways to consider finding your audience:

  • Hashtags around key themes in your novel(s)
  • Did you do a lot of research for your novel? Are there experts online around that topic that you could engage with? Hashtags related to it?
  • Are there timely/topical elements in your novel that other people are talking about?

Start finding some of these people by searching for the key terms on your social platform of choice, eg Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even Linkedin (particularly for non-fiction).

Also, don’t be scared to add the people you already know to your social network – people who will engage with you straight off the bat.

You will already have people in your network who you already work with, who you have worked with previously, who may be interested in what you have to share.

2. LISTEN to what they are saying

I’ve written LISTEN in all caps for a reason because SO MANY people pay lip service to this but in reality, they just want to talk about themselves.

Once you have a list of potential people to follow, see what posts they are sharing and LISTEN to what they are saying. (Okay, I’ll stop with the caps now, but you get my point – actually read what they’re saying).

Don’t skim it or pre-judge what you think they might be saying. Spend a little time on it.

What are they actually posting about? Does it make you feel anything? Do their posts resonate with you? 

Follow the ones that feel interesting and relevant. Be discerning in who you engage with – you’ll never develop a consistent habit of engaging with others online if you don’t really care about their posts. Try to be honest with yourself about what makes you tick – it’s likely that your posts will then make them tick as well.

3. Start to give

To build an audience, it is important to give before you take. And you need to give a lot.

By giving, I mean adding value, sharing, commenting, engaging with what they’re saying. 

This bears repeating: I don’t mean pay lip service to what they’re saying, I mean actually engage with it. You’d be surprised how many people fall at this hurdle without even realising it.

Commenting on other people’s posts not only gives you an idea of the landscape and what people are talking about, it also gives you ideas for your own posts. 

4. Look at who else is there

Study who else is liking and commenting on your own posts and other people you’ve started following’s posts. Have a look at their profiles. Connect with them if you like what they are saying.

About The Author

Nigel Cooper

Nigel’s debut novel Beat The Rain was a semi-finalist for Best Debut Author in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. His second novel The Pursuit of Ordinary was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize for Fiction 2019. It was also one of the 8-12 titles ‘called in’ for the Man Booker Prize, a first for his publisher. It was also long-listed for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize. His third novel will be released in September 2022 and is now available for pre-order. Nigel brings his own experience of the trials of getting published, building an author profile and marketing his own novels to AuthorSpark. As well as co-founding AuthorSpark, Nigel co-founded digital marketing agency and employee advocacy platform We Are Togethr alongside Andrew, alongside online content sister company Togethr Lab. Prior to that he was a newspaper subeditor and a writer and editor for Channel 4 Interactive.

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