Five ways to get more followers on Twitter

Five ways to get more followers on Twitter

Having trouble getting the word out there? Here’s five top tips to get more followers on the social media network.

  1. Make sure your bio is up to date

Tell people who you are or about your brand, but keep it short, sweet and if it’s appropriate, make sure it reflects your personality. You can use a hashtag associated with your brand. Fill in all the boxes including your location and the URL for your website so people can find you easily. Check your profile and cover photos are up to date, so if you meet people and they try to follow you on Twitter they can recognise you. To create an interesting cover photo, use Canva – we talk about that here.

  1. Let people know you’re on Twitter

Link to your profile by adding your username to your email signature.  Use it everywhere, on your website, in newsletters, spread the word. Visit then click on Twitter buttons and pop in your username to create a follow button which can be added onto your website or at the end of blog articles. You can also use the social media icons on all of your branding, to ensure customers know they can reach you online.

  1. Find people to follow

The best way to grow your followers is to find people with the same interests and follow them. In turn, many will follow you back. You can use Followerwonk for free to type in keywords for a list of accounts to follow. You can also see the number of people who follow their accounts and the number of tweets from that account.

There’s also an app called Crowdfire, which you can use on your computer. This allows you to link a limited number of social media accounts. You can use the Twitter options to see who has unfollowed you, see who you follow but does not follow you back and check for people who follow you but have slipped through the net. You can get a list of accounts to follow by putting in the usernames of similar businesses to see who follows them. You have a daily limit of the number of people you can unfollow and follow using Crowdfire, but it is free. There is an option to upgrade.

  1. See what’s trending

If you Google search for what’s trending on Twitter UK or look in the left panel on your Twitter home screen, you will see what people are talking about. You can use these hashtags to post relevant content on the back of what is trending.

  1. Make sure you have some recent, quality content posted

People will be looking at your Tweets, so why not post some interesting photos, ask a question or host a competition, so when people view your page they are looking at something worth seeing?

Need help managing social media and creating content? Give us a call on 01782 658524.

How to target specific audiences with Facebook

How to target specific audiences with Facebook


If you have some news, a new product or an offer that you feel will appeal to a specific audience on Facebook, there is a way to direct that information to the right people.

Go to your company’s Facebook page and on the white bar at the top of it, select settings. Don’t go through the settings panel in the blue bar at the very top of the page, because that will alter the settings for the profile which is linked to the page. You can find out more about the difference between a page and a profile here.

In the settings panel, under ‘general’, find ‘audience optimisation for posts’ and click edit. Select the box and save. You will now notice a little targeting icon has appeared when you begin writing a post.

Say you have an offer to win a spa day; you might want to target women who enjoy taking short breaks, who are interested in health and beauty and who get manicures. You can use the ‘preferred audience’ option to select interests and as you enter these tags, Facebook will make further suggestions. By selecting ‘audience restrictions’ you can choose the gender, age range and location of your target audience.

Once you’ve chosen your options and written your post, click publish.

You can always click on ‘Insights’ to see more information. For example, if you select ‘posts’ you can see which ones are getting the most engagement. You may notice that posts where you have asked a question generate more engagement. You can also use Insights to see who follows your page by selecting ‘people’. This shows you the age range, gender and location of your fans.

By tailoring a few targeted posts, you can increase your organic reach on Facebook.

If you’re interested in learning more about how social media can help grow your business, give us a call on 01782 658524, or email



Marketing tips: Three things I’ve discovered about other agencies that you need to know

Marketing tips: Three things I’ve discovered about other agencies that you need to know

Team Sprout has attended various events recently, giving us the opportunity for a lot of networking and market research. Here are 3 key things I’ve gleaned from the experience:

  1. A lot of marketing companies specialise in one thing, as well as offering other services.

Sound good? It’s not, and I’ll tell you why. I’m a lover of food (stay with me here) and I’ve visited my fair share of multi-cuisine restaurants. They are always a disappointment and you usually find that they do one type of thing well, for example, Chinese, but their Mexican, Italian, Indian, Thai, etc are edible at best. I always feel like I’ve had a bad deal, and that’s exactly the danger with hiring a marketing company that may well kick ass at social media, but will leave you feeling underwhelmed with their design skills.

One of the key things that makes Purple Sprout stand out from other PR firms is our joined-up approach. Each member of the team has our own ‘thing’ we excel at and we’re able to come together and create the perfect recipe for success.

  1. Some businesses are completely new to marketing.

Everyone must start somewhere. Several people have told me they don’t understand social media and to be honest it scares them. Most of us are naturally afraid of that which we don’t understand, so the best way to conquer that fear or uneasiness is to learn. Unfortunately, a lot of marketing people take advantage of this lack of knowledge and attempt to dazzle and confuse people, for example, by using industry buzzwords. We list a few of those annoying words in our magazine here. ‘Leverage’ is on the naughty list and was used twice in one conversation we overheard this week! Another technique we have witnessed involved taking something that forms the basics of marketing and presenting it like a revelation.

We appreciate that if you’re just starting your own business or beginning to think about a marketing plan, it can all seem so daunting. That’s why we offer a FREE one-hour marketing consultation to get you started. Don’t have the cash for a big campaign but want to get your foot on the digital ladder? Book one of our social media training sessions to nail the basics. Call us for details. 

  1. We know branding.

Ok, so we like to know what we’re talking about when it comes to branding and marketing, but it’s always great to have some affirmation. We really enjoyed a brand quiz hosted by Starbots Creative at the Staffordshire Business Festival this week. Our director Tracey Thake was lightning fast on the buzzer and we took first place on the podium. We’ve recently rebranded and rolled our new look out across everything from social media platforms, our website, tote bags, business cards and a 40-page promotional magazine.

Don’t make the mistake of forking out cash for a wonderful new logo, but being left in the dark when it comes to branding. It’s more than just a logo or style guide; it’s about tone of voice, a consistent approach across everything you do and all touch points with customers, spearheading behaviour change and storytelling.

If you want your story told, give us a call on 01782 658 524.

Competition: win a retro digital radio

Competition: win a retro digital radio

Here at Purple Sprout, communication is at the heart of what we do. We’ll be heading to Staffordshire Business Festival tomorrow to showcase our fab new magazine PS, which you can view digitally here.

To mark the occasion, we’ve decided to run a competition to win a funky VQ retro mini DAB radio! It has Bluetooth, which means that as well as having a bunch of digital channels to choose from, you can also listen to any music, podcasts or audiobooks from your phone, tablet or other smart devices simply and wirelessly.

In addition to a headphone socket and traditional 3.5mm aux-in / line-in, there’s a handy USB port which enables you to charge a phone or tablet directly from the radio.

Plus, it looks great!

To be in with a chance of winning, sign up to our newsletter throughout November.

Terms and conditions:

Entrants must subscribe to the Purple Sprout newsletter via the Purple Sprout website, to be entered in the prize draw.

The prize is as stated, no cash alternative can be given.

The competition runs from 8.00am on November 8 until 12.00 midday on November 30. All new subscribers to the newsletter during this time will be entered into the prize draw.

The winner will be notified by email and also announced on social media.

The competition is not open to employees of Staffordshire Media and their families. Entrants must be aged 18 and over.




Forget vampires and witches this Halloween – here are seven genuinely scary facts about cardiac arrest

Forget vampires and witches this Halloween – here are seven genuinely scary facts about cardiac arrest

We could write some generic cheesy blog post cobbling together questionable Halloween facts this October 31, but instead we thought we’d share some stats that will send a real shiver down your spine.

Team Sprout recently attended a defibrillator training session hosted by Stone charity AEDdonate, and we learned some truly scary information:

  1. Sudden Cardiac Arrest kills 100,000 men, women and children every year in the UK.
  2. 70 percent of cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital environment.
  3. A victim’s chance of survival drops by seven to ten per cent for every minute a normal heartbeat isn’t restored.
  4. NHS England announced in July 2017 that ambulances will be expected to reach the most seriously ill patients in an average time of seven minutes. So even if an ambulance reached a cardiac arrest victim within that time, their chances of surviving could have dropped by as much as 70 per cent.
  5. Over the years, surveys have shown that around three quarters of people do not know how to perform CPR.
  6. The teaching of CPR in schools is not mandatory.
  7. A YouGov poll conducted for the British Heart Foundation in September 2014 found that 46 per cent of people would be put off performing CPR by the fear of causing more harm than good, and 22 per cent by the fear of being sued.

So, what is a cardiac arrest?

In a cardiac arrest, a person’s heart goes into a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF) and stops pumping blood around their body and to their brain. It causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing (or stop breathing normally).

A heart attack is the most common cause of cardiac arrest, but not everyone that has a heart attack will have a cardiac arrest. A heart attack is a sudden interruption to the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. It is likely to cause chest pain and permanent damage to the heart.  The heart is still sending blood around the body and the person remains conscious and is still breathing.

Why are Automated External Defibrillators (AED) so important?

A defibrillator can restore the life-threatening heart rhythm that causes a cardiac arrest to a normal heart rhythm, reducing the potential damage.

Is it easy to use an AED?

YES! They can be used by anyone, and come with full audio instructions to guide you through each step of the process. They are portable devices, and If they are part of an emergency response programme, the ambulance service can tell 999 callers where their nearest AED is located.

When should an AED be used?

The St John DRSABCD Action Plan is a great guide to when an AED should be used. You can right click and save our infographic to share this on social media.

Now for some less scary facts:

  1. There’s a 50 percent increase in surviving a Sudden Cardiac Arrest with CPR.
  2. There’s a 33 percent increase in a victim’s chance of survival when an AED is used.
  3. Some studies have shown that 90 per cent of the time, AEDs are able to detect a rhythm that should be defibrillated – so they are highly effective when detecting when (or not) to deliver a shock.

AEDdonate offers free defibrillator training sessions. To book, email or call 01785 472224.

Want help setting up a fundraising campaign to get a defibrillator in your community or place of work? AEDdonate will help you raise £1,375 for an internal machine or £1,999 for an AED and external vandal-proof storage cabinet.

For more information visit







The British Heart Foundation Policy Statement, Creating a Nation of Lifesavers.

Posting on a social media platform? We reveal the right time to do it…

Posting on a social media platform? We reveal the right time to do it…

It can be difficult to know the best time to post on various social media platforms, as each have a different audience. Here’s a breakdown to help you get started.


Research indicates the best days to post on Facebook are Saturdays and Sundays, but bear in mind the sort of content people may want to read at the weekend. They may not be prepared for anything too technical, as the weekend is a time for either chilling and doing as little as possible, or running around trying to cram everything in – either way, people want bitesize pieces of information.

According to HubSpot, which has based its research on 16 social media studies, posts made on Thursdays and Fridays see an increase of 18 per cent engagement. The general mood on a Friday is a lot lighter and happier because everyone’s looking forward to the weekend, so make sure posts reflect that light tone.

The best generic times were identified as 9am, 1pm and 3pm. This makes sense because people will browse first thing in the morning after they’ve had a cup of tea, during their lunch break, and later in the afternoon when they want to procrastinate before starting that task they’ve been putting off all day.

However, Buffer offers a very useful tip for finding your best time to post on Facebook by using Insights. Once you’re in the Insights dashboard, select ‘posts’. This information tells us that people who follow our page are online 8am-9pm, 12pm, 4pm-9pm, and it may well be different for your page.


If you’re tweeting B2B, it makes sense to do this during business hours. The times with the highest engagement rates are 12pm, 3pm, and 5-6pm.

However, people commuting by train or bus will most likely be looking at Twitter between 7am – 9am and 4pm – 7pm. Buffer says early mornings appear to be the best time to get clicks on links in tweets, whereas evening tweets will attract the most favourites and retweets.

Remember to check what’s trending at the start of the day, and if it’s relevant to your content, use hashtags.

Tweets have a ‘lifespan’ of around 18 minutes, so you can tweet several times between say 7am – 9am with the same link, but alter the tweet so you’re not just copying and pasting the same thing.


Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to post overall on Pinterest when people are lazily browsing at the weekend. They may be trying to get some inspiration for a craft project or a way to decorate the hallway. They could be searching for a healthy brunch recipe or an indulgent dessert for a dinner party, or perhaps a new hairstyle. If your business lends itself to colourful, interesting images, then Pinterest is worth considering.

HubSpot’s research indicates Mondays are best for fitness-related pins, Tuesdays for gadgets, Wednesdays for quotes, Thursdays for outfits, Fridays for Gifs, Saturdays for travel, and Sundays for food.

The best times to post are 2pm and from 8pm – 11pm. The worst times are during work hours.

Pins need to lead somewhere, so make sure you direct people to your blog, brochure, product page etc.


The best times to post on Instagram are 8-9am and 5pm, every day. If you can, post a video. Videos get more engagement and attract attention when people are scrolling. Boomerang is a great app that lets you post a short clip on a loop.

The Purple Sprout team specialises in helping our clients to reach their target audience via digital platforms. To find out more about how Purple Sprout can improve your business’ social media accounts, get in touch with us on 01782 658524 or email


Twitter is trialling #280characters and people are not happy about it

Twitter is trialling #280characters and people are not happy about it

Social media platform Twitter has announced it is trialling a longer character limit, doubling its current cap of 140.

A small group of users has been selected for the trial, which allows them to have their say with up to 280 characters.

In a blog post, Twitter’s Aliza Rosen and Ikuhiro Ihara said: “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).”

They added: “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!”

But people are not impressed…


So, you’ve mastered Facebook and tamed Twitter – dare you promote your business on Pinterest?

So, you’ve mastered Facebook and tamed Twitter – dare you promote your business on Pinterest?

Pinterest allows users to share and save images to virtual pinboards, with links to the websites from which the images originated. It has more than 100 million active users, mostly female.

Images fall under many categories, with popular themes being art, DIY and craft projects, recipes, fashion, home décor and health and fitness. But there’s all sorts of great stuff on there for all kinds of hobbies and interests.

You need to sign up for an account and if you are setting up one for your business, make sure you go for the business version at It’s free and gives you access to features like analytics tools.

Creating a board

To create your first Pinterest board, go to your profile and you’ll see a red ‘create board’ button. Fill in as much information as possible. For example, if you have a clothing store you could create a ‘summer fashion’ or ‘vintage styles’ board. At the bottom of the box, you’ll see an option called ‘collaborators’ – share the workload and add some staff using their email or Pinterest username. Everyone added to the board can contribute pins.

Click on your new board to add a pin from the web or your computer. Whichever option you choose, you can input a web address to direct people back to your website and your products.

Top tips

Remember to re-pin content from other Pinterest users, because this will get people noticing your brand. You can also comment on other pins and tag users via the @ symbol on Pinterest.

Don’t bother with hashtags. Instead, use proper keywords when describing your pins and boards to make them easy to find.

To access your account’s analytics page, click Analytics at the top of the page. You can see Overview, Profile and Audience. This will show you your profile’s average daily impressions and viewers, average monthly viewers, and average monthly engagements.

Using analytics will tell you about your audience demographics, like gender, location and other interests, what devices visitors to your page are using, along with what your most popular pins are.

Download the ‘pin it’ button as a browser extension for Google Chrome. It will allow you to pin interesting images you find on the web, including images from your own website.

Things to try

Create a gift guide – Christmas is closer than you think. Turn your pinboards into gift guides and include your own products as well as other brands.

Plan an event – Got a business event coming up? Create a secret group board with everyone who’s working on the event, and each person can pin or re-pin helpful ideas, locations and tips.

Host a competition – Pin it to the relevant boards on your Pinterest page and help grow your following and increase brand awareness.

Make a reading list – Pinterest is useful for checklists, tips and research. You can always make the boards private so your customers and competition can’t see what project you’re working on.

Purple Sprout is an integrated marketing and PR agency, specialising in communications that help our clients to stand out from the crowd. To discover more about what we do, and how we could make a difference for your business, give us a call on 01782 658524, or email

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Purple Sprout strengthens team with ex-journalist

Purple Sprout strengthens team with ex-journalist

Staffordshire-based PR and marketing firm Purple Sprout has recruited a new member of staff to join its team of highly skilled and creative professionals.

Copywriter Kirsty James is an ex-journalist with over six years of experience in the media industry and is also a qualified editorial designer.

She said: “It’s great to be part of the Purple Sprout team. I’ve always wanted to eventually go into PR, but I felt it was vital to gain experience as a journalist so I could see both sides of the coin. My experience allows me to find the news story and ensure it gets heard.”

Purple Sprout, based in Trentham, is an integrated marketing communications agency with well-rooted contacts and excellent industry experience. Services include PR and media relations, marketing consultancy, branding design and print, digital communications and website design, and they promise to advise the best communications’ mix for their clients.

Commenting on Kirsty’s appointment, Tracey Thake, Director at Purple Sprout, added: “We are delighted to welcome Kirsty to the team. Having the best quality people in-house is something we pride ourselves on, and Kirsty will be an integral part of our growth moving forwards.”

How to create images for social media

How to create images for social media

We’re all very busy and many of us don’t have the time to spend creating perfect images for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like on Photoshop. If only there was a way to create effective images easily, quickly and to the right dimensions for all your social media accounts.

…Enter Canva, a free image creation tool packed with ready-made templates and custom image sizes for every social media channel. Just create a free account at and let’s get started!

Once you’ve logged in, you can select the design you want as your starting point. Click the + icon in the ‘Create a Design’ section and you will be given even more stuff to choose from, including an array of social media post templates.

In this example we’ll create a post for Instagram to mark the first day of Autumn, September 1. Why? Because a quick search of what’s trending on social media shows that’s what people are talking about.

The fastest way to create a post is to use one of the custom templates and alter it as you wish. I’d like to use a quote that reminds me of Autumn, and have chosen an extract from a short story by Neil Gaiman.

Edit the type by clicking on it. You can change the font, colour and size. You can also replace the image in the background by clicking on it and searching in the panel to the left for an image associated with your subject, so Autumn in this example.

I also added some leaf designs to replace the corner frames and go with my theme.

Once you’re done, click download and, hey presto, your image is ready for use. It is worth noting that while Canva is mostly free to use, there are options to upgrade to a paid account or pay for individual content, so when you select your images and graphics, make sure you choose ones that are labelled ‘free’. Otherwise you will get a message asking you to pay.

There are loads of creative things to do with Canva and it’s very easy to use. Have fun!

The Purple Sprout team specialises in helping our clients to reach their target audience via digital platforms. To find out more about how Purple Sprout can improve your businesses’ media accounts, get in touch with us on 01782 658524 or email

Kirsty James is a copywriter for Purple Sprout. Read her ramblings