Podcast: Naomi Timperley Social Media Masterclass episode 2 – Growing Your Audience

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Naomi Timperley

Who is Naomi Timperley?


Social Media Masterclass podcast series

  • A collection of podcasts with Naomi Timperley – this is episode 1
  • Discussions about different aspects of social media policy and the ways to implement Twitter and another social networks
  • Simple, actionable advice on each individual aspect of maintaining a web presence befitting of your organisation
  • Future episode to include growing your audience and who to follow online.
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What will I learn in this episode?

  • How to find yourself an audience on Twitter
  • Tools that you can use to make sure that you are making the use of your profile
  • Strategies to undertake that will increase your Twitter following
  • The value of investing time in social media


Today, we are going to follow on from our last episode… we were talking about Twitter in our last episode, but now we are going to further this by telling you how you can build your audience on Twitter. Naomi, you’re a social media expert some would say and you know Twitter like the back of your hand really, don’t you?

A little bit yeah. I’ve been using Twitter probably since about 2008 for various reasons, personally and professionally. My top tips for how to build an audience – so, because this podcast is aimed at charities and the third sector – let’s have a think about… the first thing I would say would be to follow the competition.

When I say competition, I mean potential collaborator – but it is good to know how other people are doing it. Think about community networks. So if you are a regional charity, think about the networks – and when I say networks, I’m talking about the physical networking groups – if you use 4n as an example, 4networking, which has about 75000 members and at any Twitter Appone time probably has – if you think about Greater Manchester as an area – probably has about 200 plus event a month, potentially that you could reach if you became a member.

So, you know, even if you weren’t a member, they have group on social media, they have fantastic forums. So, how can you build on networks within your particular area, and then also think about the third sector networks within your area as well. Have a think about perhaps doing some sort of demographics about who the kind of support your charity would be. So if you thought about that in marketing terms, do they shop at ASDA, do they shop at ALDI, where do their kids go to school, what kind of Sunday newspaper do they read? Then once you’ve got a profile of those types of individuals, how you can find those people on twitter.

I think that’s the big thing though, especially if you’re quite uninitiated to Twitter, obvious it makes you follow five people at the start, and it makes you look for those five people, but when you’re searching for a charity and you don’t know their Twitter handle, you don’t know where they’re going to be on there, and you might find something that is not them, what is the most accurate way to start finding the right people?

I think, going back to whether you’re a charity, a social enterprise, a business, whatever you want to label yourself as, you will have a plan of sorts. And in that plan will be the kind of people who support you – or it should be in that plan, the kind of people who are going to support your organisation.

I’ll give you an example. My mum – I introduced my mum to Twitter. She’s 66, I introduced her to Twitter about a year ago. She was on Facebook, and she was nagging me to become a Twitter-er, as she called it. I spent – this is as an individuals – I spent an hour with my mum and said to her, think about what your hobbies are, think about again your community, who is in your community, think about who you would like to get to know – so, you know, if perhaps you were going to take on a new hobby, what would that be?

This is not a nine-to-five thing, so whoever is responsible for it needs to think about out-of-hours as well

My mum has been on twitter now for a year, she has an audience of about 1500 people, she got Christmas cards from Australia, Estonia, America, she’s been on tweet-ups – and this has all been through engagement and building the audience up.

So you have to think about, you know – I’ve mentioned the competition – think about, perhaps, other networks, think about, perhaps, where would – if your charity was aligned to a hobby, as such, where would you find those people? Think about other brands you would like to align yourself with. Who would you like as ambassadors? Who would you like as trustees? Do you already have trustees? Build into their networks as well.

Is there a quick way to find the kind of people that you’d want to follow?

You know what? It is always good if – there’s nothing wrong with this, but look how other charities are doing this. So if there’s a charity that has a similar audience, look at who is following them. It is literally, if you use these simple steps, it is very easy to build up an audience.

Unless you’re Lady Gaga, or unless you can pay for sponsored advertising, it is not going to be a quick win situation, it takes a while to build up the audience. But, you know, you have to follow people in order to get them to follow you back. In another podcast we’re going to talk content-wise, you have to have good information on there as well, and you have to engage with these people as well.

Would you say that there’s an upper limit to the amount of people that you should follow, or any guidelines around that?

What you have to think about is that you can’t be – let’s say for example, you’re following 100 people and you have 50 people following you back, okay – so, those 50 people are not going to be on Twitter 24/7, so every time you send out a tweet, probably half a person sees it – if that. So, the bigger audience you have, the bigger impact that you’re going to have. So iPhone twitteryou have to think about continuously building up your audience. So you do the initial follows and it’s literally constantly building that audience up.

So you’ll have someone who follows you – oh, they look interesting, let’s see who is following them, is that going to be my target audience? You know, quickly in your brain you’ll decide whether they are the kind of people that you want to engage with. Then also as well, you almost have to put a pound sign on people’s heads. If you are a charity, you’re obviously going to be wanting to do fundraising, you’re going to be wanting to build profile – so are there people out there that you could perhaps get help from, or would you be following them because they have great ideas about marketing? Or maybe on the legal side, or on the governance side?

So it is worth putting a lot of time into this?

You have to – when you are setting up a social media platform for your organisation, you have to invest time.

And does it get easier over time?

Yes, it completely gets easier over time. The more you work on it, the easier it becomes.

Have a think about perhaps doing some sort of demographics about who the kind of support your charity would be

And you mentioned as well, finding those right people. Obviously you can go through the standard channels, you know hearing it from someone else – can you use the hashtags as well?

Absolutely, for social enterprises there is the hashtag #socent, have a think about are there any charity conferences going on? you might not be able to afford a ticket to go to one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a look to see what’s going on and join in the conversation.

So find out what the hashtag is, find out who is talking about it, join in the conversation – that is a great way of building up followers. Completely. Charity Tuesday is a really good one to have a look at.

I think that is a great way of looking at it. Especially when you talk about those conferences because, when people go, they live-tweet it don’t they?

Absolutely. So if you think about a lot of conferences now have live screens on – just to give an example, Theo Paphitis does something called SBS every Sunday. It is aimed at small business really, rather than charities, but he picks six organisations the next day that have highlighted to him why they’re worth a follow. And they join this big SBS community – he puts on this conference for them. I’m not an SBS winner, but I’ve joined in conferences, my name has been on the big screen with the Twitter handle, even though I wasn’t there.And there’s another example – and this is a great one to have a look at – is hashtag #inbound14.

Hubspot, which is an organisation that supports social media channels do a great conference in Boston. I couldn’t afford to go, but my friend Leanne went. I checked out the hashtag all the way through the week, gained followed, gained loads of really valuable information, found out about an amazing website called canva.com – you can get great blog graphics on there, you can design posters, you can design social media headers – and that was all through Twitter.

That’s something I was going to ask anyway – are there any external tools outside of Twitter that you would recommend using?

One of the things that I quite using is justunfollow – so you know, you build up your audience. Some people are never going to follow you back, it’s a fact. You know, if you decided that you want to follow Lady Gaga, she is not going to follow you back.

So those people you may want to keep following. But other people – if you’re sending out good tweets and you think that people should be JustUnfollowfollowing you, and they’re not, you can get rid of them. So if you go on to justunfollow, initially it is free for unfollowing up to 50 people, after that is nine dollars a month.

Personally, I think that as you’re building your audience, it is well worth investing the money. You can find out what the ratio is of people who are not following you back – that is a really good tool to have a look at.

So that is justunfollow.com, isn’t it?

Yes, and then you’ve got things about – followwonk, and there’s also websites that will give you information around different types of hashtags that you can engage with.

There’s also the internal Twitter who to follow bar isn’t there?

Yes, and also on Twitter – it will have the who to follow bar, but it will also have what conversations people are having, what are the top trends. Also, think about if there is a TV show on that is related to your charity, join in the conversation in that. This is not a nine-to-five thing, so whoever is responsible for it needs to think about out-of-hours as well.

So despite doing everything online because, you know phones are so important now, there are also traditional methods that you can use to get your message out there so that people follow you. Are there any traditional ways that you would recommend for people to use?

Absolutely – so if, in your e-mail signatures, this is for everybody who is working throughout the charity, on their e-mail you’ve got your social links, on your website you’ve got your social links, on your LinkedIn you’ve got your social links. If you’ve got a flyer, if you’ve got a poster, if you’ve got a business card, you’ve got your social media links on there and it is very clear and concise.

Just make sure it is easily displayed and people can see it and get it out there?

Yeah, so if you’re writing a blog for someone else, if you’ve got a news article going out, make sure that your social media links are on there. Unless people know about them, they can’t find you.

So in conclusion on that, getting people to follow you is basically aggressive following, making sure you find the right people in that industry?

It is making sure that you find the right audience – you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry, you don’t want – some people actually pay for followers, and you can tell when people have paid for followers because they’re usually people who are in perhaps a different country who are – who will never be able to engage with you.

And it’s a case of spending the time to get the right audience?

Yes, you’ve got to invest the time.

Unless you’re Lady Gaga, or unless you can pay for sponsored advertising, it is not going to be a quick win situation

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