On Thursday, September 3, renowned Kenyan journalist Larry Madowo took some time off to share the secret behind his over 4 million followers on social media.
Speaking to Michelle Manafy, the Editorial Director at Digital Content Next - based in New York, Madowo explained how he has been able to grow an authentic following on social media.
"Don’t worry about your number of followers, it doesn’t matter. I joined twitter 11 years ago and for a while, I just couldn't get any followers. It was like I was shouting to the ether and nobody was listening," he recounted.
After a year, his following exploded. He attributed this to his decision to dig deep for story ideas that would resonate with his audience.A screenshot of Larry Madowo's Twitter profile.
He further explained that he was always going through his comment section to engage with his audience as often as he possibly could. This also helped him generate ideas for his upcoming articles, he added.
However, Madowo was quick to point out that the social media world is a cruel beast that requires one to have a thick skin.
"I remember this one time I wrote a piece for the BBC and one of my favourite comments read, 'this is the most imbecilic piece of tripe ever written' and I was just like, that's so kind of you," he narrated.
The journalist reiterated that it was very important to generate positive energy when navigating the social media streets.
Responding to whether or not his massive following came after he got his BBC gig, Madowo pointed out that he started making waves on his social platforms when he was still hosting the Trend Show on NTV.
He then revealed that he used to take up suggestions for future guests on his show from comments he got on the social platforms.
Ensuring that he always curated his feeds to suit his targeted audience was key to his meteoric growth online. "Everything has to be intentional and appropriate," he remarked.
Once he joined the British broadcaster, he revealed that he had to adapt to house rules which focused purely on ensuring their employees maintain an impartial presence on social media.
"I'm always very careful not to do anything just coz of the sake of it, or because all my colleagues are doing it. I'm very judicious about what I'm tweeting," he explained.
Despite gaining millions of followers, Madowo revealed that he takes an entire month off social media each year just to find some time to get lost in his own thoughts.
The renowned scribe emphasised the importance of building a personal brand as people relate to people's personalities and passions.
He added that in the current world, it is that much harder to make it in the field of journalism without a social media presence.
When asked to share some pearls of wisdom to any upcoming journalists looking to curve out a name for themselves amid all the social media clutter, "Some degree of self promotion is important. I don't have a magic wand that would guarantee a massive following, you just need to keep putting yourself out there and engage with your intended audience".
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