Podcast: Naomi Timperley Social Media Masterclass episode 3 – Engaging with your audience

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Naomi Timperley

Who is Naomi Timperley?


Masterclass podcast series

  • A collection of podcasts with Naomi Timperley – this is episode 3
  • 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
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What will I learn in this episode?

  • The importance of engaging with your audience on Twitter
  • How timing can affect the chances of you engaging with your audience
  • How different audiences interact with their social media accounts
  • The ways in which you can capitalise on different times and conversations
  • Why you should only sign up to a social account if you plan on using it


Today we are going to carry on our social media conversation – already we have told you how to increase your followers and who to follow on twitter and how to get a great social profile – but now it is time to get into the nitty-gritty of engaging with your audience with your content. Naomi, do you want to take over with this? because this something that you know very well – how can people engage their audience? Especially for charities who are obviously trying to get their message out, raise donations – how can they engage their audience with fantastic content on there?

This is why it is really important to build up the right audience. So, if you haven’t listened to the podcast about building your audience, I suggest that you listen to it before you continue listening to this. So you’ve got the right audience. Straight away in your timeline, you care going to have conversations that you can dive into.

A big thing that I see charities do is – I am not saying that all charities do this, but a lot of them do it – is go on there and sell, sell, sell. If you’re going to do that, it is not going to work, okay? So if you think about the analogy of a double glazing salesperson, Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook is not – it is a soft sell. So you can’t go on there and just constantly ask people things.

Another analogy – we’ve all got one of those friends that rings us up and talks about themselves all the time – if you’re constantly talking about yourself all the time, people are going to unfollow you – it’s a fact. So, how Social Media Masterclassto engage with them, how to join in the conversations – think about key times when people are going to be using social media.

A great time to dive into social media conversations is really early in the morning when people are on the school run, the way to work. So I am talking between half six and nine o’clock – I am not saying you need to be on there all the time, but when you have an odd ten minutes here, dive in and see what people are talking about.

There will be certain people that you want to engage with – so maybe keep a list. There are lists you can make on say, for example, Twitter – it might be that there is a certain person on LinkedIn that you want to keep an on eye on what they’re talking to, perhaps take that conversation offline. So, when are they talking?

I’ll give you an example – I was really quite interested in some of the work that Sarah Brown does – Gordon Brown’s wife – and I wanted to engage with her, so I was following her, tried to talk to her a few times – obviously, you know, she’s following quite a lot of people, she’s got a bazillion followers – obviously not as many as Lady Gaga, but she’s getting there – and I basically responded to a tweet that she had at the right time, right place. She not only engaged with me, but she started following me.

So think about how you can engage with people about everyday things, but also about sort of, maybe perhaps are there people talking about things that are close to your charity’s heart or cause? So perhaps doing searches on particular things within your audience.

Whatever social media platform floats your boat, if you are going to do it, do it brilliantly. Don’t just set-up a social media platform and don’t do it brilliantly.

You know, make sure that you are reading the newspapers every day – and also industry related press, which is a type of genre you should be following as well. So, are you hot off the press, engaging and knowing about what is going on in your industry? And when I say industry, I am talking about the cause that your charity is working towards.

So if you’re a charity – if you’re a cancer charity, for example, you should know – or you should at least try and find out about the latest developments in, say, research?

It might be research, it be about care, it might be about grants and funding, it might be about what is being talking about in government, it might be about the Ice Bucket Challenge, that kind of thing.

So it is just anything related really, isn’t it?

Exactly – absolutely.

And how important would you say – like before, you were talking about Sarah Brown – how important would you say timing is in tweeting or engagement?

Again, it is thinking about the right times. So I mentioned the morning – you’ve got to think about if, maybe you’ve got people taking a teabreak at eleven A.M., and then you’ve got the lunchtime crowd and, okay, home time – and then you think about perhaps maybe – if you’re targetting mums, they might beTwitter on the playground, on their phones at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

It might be, you know, when for example BBC Question Time is on on a Thursday night, it might be that there is an MP who is close to your cause, or is a representative of – say, for example, you are working with young people and it is to do with youth unemployment, the employment minister might be on Question Time. So, I think – yes, it depends on if you are targeting a particular individual, or a particular organisation, timing is key.

It plays into what we were talking about on the last podcast, knowing your audience and know when your audience is free.

Absolutely – and you have to get to know them. If you want this to work for you – and I cannot stress this enough, this is the third podcast that I’ve done – it is a big commitment.

A big thing that I see charities do is – I am not saying that all charities do this, but a lot of them do it – is go on there and sell, sell, sell. If you’re going to do that, it is not going to work, okay?

Whatever social media platform floats your boat, if you are going to do it, do it brilliantly. Don’t just set-up a social media platform and don’t do it brilliantly. So if you’re going to set-up a Google+ account for example, and you don’t bother using it – get rid of it.

That’s a problem with a lot of social media accounts isn’t it? Because people think that they should be on there – and they should, but they don’t use it right.

Only if you’re going to use it. Do you know what is says? My biggest bugbear is someone who has a social media account – we’ll use Twitter as another example – if someone has got a twitter account and they haven’t tweeted in about three, four, five months – that to me says that the shop door is closed. Because you have to think about this as your online presence.

So if you haven’t got any physical space, this is your shop front. And if you’re not engaging, or you’re not tweeting, or you’re not posting, that says to me that your business is shut. And that’s what it says. What you have to think is that anything in a digital – whether it is text messages or in e-mail, whether it is digital, and this sort of goes on to internet safety – you’ve got to think about what you’re putting out in a digital format.

And that is a big thing – because, obviously when you’re engaging with your audience, it is your content that is you are going to be putting out there. You have to be careful that it is the right thing.

Absolutely. Absolutely. To give you another example – this isn’t a charity one, but if you think about the example of Kent Police, who decided they wanted to take on a junior police commissioner, a young lady called Paris Brown.

17 year old, she was on sixteen grand a year salary, they did a big PR push about it, it was in all of the national newspapers and the Daily Mail and The Sun decided to do a bit of digging, they found a load of stuff that Paris had posted two years prior – you know this girl was investigated by the special branch, and was removed from her position. She had quite an usual surname, so I imagine she won’t find it difficult to get work in the future, but as an organisation, this is why it is really important to have a social media policy within your organisation.

What would you say – obviously, speaking to people on Twitter is great – but what would say are the advantages to increasing your engagement on there?

Increasing your engagement – you get to know your audience. You know, you have to use social media as a tool to get people offline. You have relationships with them offline where you can perhaps get them to work Twitter social media masterclasswith the charity or donate, so it is building up online so that you can build offline – you can’t just go on there and sell, sell, sell.

That’s not to say you can’t go on there and say what your charity does. If you have a blog on your charity, obviously promote that, if you have done a guest post – promote that as well. This is why it is another really important thing – you know I said about being upto date on what is going on in your sector.

And I was just thinking in terms of – you know, not everything that happens on social media is positive, like Paris Brown – so how is it to deal with negative feedback on there?

One piece of advice – do not bury your head in the sand. You have to – the first thing to look at, a brilliant example of excellent customer service is Virgin. there was a story last week – we’re in January 2015 – there was a story last week about a young man who was having a poo in a toilet with no toilet paper, in a carriage on a Virgin Train, either going to or from London, and he tweeted Virgin and said he’d run out of toilet paper. Virgin literally responded very quickly, asked him what carriage he was on – next thing, he’s got a bit of toilet paper.

So you know, they dealt with – whether you can call that positive or negative, I don’t know, but all I can say is – if you have people who have a legitimate complaint, you take it offline, but you have to deal with it as quick as possible, you cannot ignore it.

Yes, it is always to engage with whoever gets in touch with you, isn’t it? Because then, you’ve got the respect then, haven’t you?

And also – be thankful as well. So if someone retweets or shares something, thank them for it.

Which is the thing to do – again, it builds that trust, and they’ll come back to you

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I think that’s all – you know, there’s lots of information on the Charity Hub website, I’m on Twitter @naomitimperley – if you’ve got any questions, give us a shout.

So if you haven’t got any physical space, this is your shop front. And if you’re not engaging, or you’re not tweeting, or you’re not posting, that says to me that your business is shut.

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