Author Archives: Kerry Waller

What does a business gain from using social media?


Business Opportunities

Online marketing and in particular social media, has become a huge part of everyday life and millions of people, your customers included, are communicating on social networks. So it makes sense to get some social media training and join in, right? Continue Reading →

Handling Social Media Complaints

handling social media complaints

Handling social media complaints is scary for some because managing a Twitter or Facebook account doesn’t necessarily mean you have any customer service experience. By putting your business out there on social media you are opening yourself up to both positive and negative feedback. What’s important to think about is how you handle a complaint when it arises. Continue Reading →

Do I Need a Social Media Plan?

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 22.44.33

Many small businesses I work with are pretty sure they need to have a social media plan… because everyone else seems to. There was a time when the owner of a new business wondered whether they needed to have a website or not! And look what happened there. Social networks are here to stay and more and more people are using them all the time. And new ones will emerge. So it makes sense to be involved, have a social media plan and to get yourself up to speed so you can start engaging your customers and listening to them. Continue Reading →

Don’t be a spammer on Twitter!

Twitter spam

I think Twitter is the most discerning of social networks and it drives me nuts to see people abusing it, broadcasting, spamming, boasting about numbers of followers, etc. They seem to have forgotten the quintessential point of social networking: users curate their own feeds.

Twitter had this sussed from the start – if somebody you followed started to bore you or posted too many updates throughout the day, you can simply unfollow them! So why some accounts think they can bombard people with links, dull content and no personal updates, is beyond me. You won’t see your followers grow that way. Continue Reading →

Twitter & The Great Escape Festival

The Great Escape Festival hits Brighton every May and has been going strong since 2006, establishing itself as Europe’s leading festival for showcasing new music. Multiple venues are full of live music for 3 days, the city is full of music heads and, to quote someone I follow on Twitter, “New Road Brighton looks like there’s a white male indie band breeding machine on the go…” (@caracourage).

Twitter was founded in the same year (a couple of months before) and so using the social network to add value to the first festival was not an option. Now, because everyone is using smartphones (I was actually told off for Tweeting during a gig by a friend who didn’t believe I could appreciate the music properly and tweet simultaneously) Twitter is an extremely valuable tool. You can follow the hashtag #TGE12 to keep abreast of what everyone is saying about the Festival (there are other hashtags around including #TGE2012 but the former is the one used by The Great Escape Twitter account).

On Twitter @GreatEscapeFest is not only tweeting about news and shows around the festival and informing us of gigs all over the city that we may have forgotten were on, but also actually communicating with it’s community too. Nice to see a human presence behind the account!

I love the fact the community manager behind Great Escape is out watching gigs (or has sent people out in their absence) to take photos and are enjoying the festival like everyone else. That makes that Twitter account far nicer to follow.

I also rate how they manage complaints and comments: after a complaint about queues, they managed to solve a problem. Now that wouldn’t have happened before social media unless people actually bothered to call – if indeed there was anyone to call.

Social media is now a critical component not only in terms of promoting events and raising awareness, but also in terms of sharing. People with smartphones love to share photos and comments about where they are and what they’re doing. By utilising social accounts, festivals turn their customers into promotional vehicles. Of course, they can’t control whether people share positive or negative experiences but if they have a crisis management plan in place then they are at least prepared for the eventuality of negative feedback.

I hope that @GreatEscapeFest continues to engage music lovers after the event to help keep The Great Escape up there the leading new music festival in Europe and give it’s social participants something back. A Storify of tweets, photos and videos would be a great way to curate something special from the masses of rich content out there. I’ll look forward to seeing what they do!

Now I’m off to catch some more live music and, despite my friends objections, I will certainly be tweeting too (@kerrywaller) #TGE12

Brighton’s Great Tweets

I scanned Twitter for a few minutes before I even got out of bed this morning (yes, I’m a Twitter addict) and two of the tweets I saw instantly registered as great tweets. I knew straight away that I would, at some point, refer to them in a conversation or training session with a client. This is because they were examples of how brilliant Twitter can be for business – if it’s used cleverly.

No one really wants a brand to advertise to them on a social network unless they’re giving something away or providing some useful information. So it takes a great deal of thought from business owners or community managers to create the right online ‘voice’ and balance of content which people will engage with.

best restaurant tweeters

A lot of what I do with Social Brighton is training people about best practice on social networks and teaching them how to build networks and engage their audience whilst marketing their business and managing the perception of their brand. And I often use examples of accounts to inspire them or, in some cases, to show them what not to do. These accounts are sometimes local, sometimes global and they span many industries depending on who I’m working with.

I’ve decided to share a few of them here now and again in the hope that it will help Brighton’s businesses get their social activity moving in the right direction to meet their business objectives. We can always learn something from others!

The first great tweet I saw this morning from @Metrodeco is a great tweet because they show they are real people. Through tweets like this we feel like we get to know them a little more – it isn’t just a business shamelessly trying to sell us something. We learn that they hire talented baristas and we know that they make a great looking coffee.

Personally I like the china and wonder what Corey looks like too – maybe I’ll have to go in and see!

best restaurant tweeters

The second tweet that caught my attention was from @BrightonNick who posted a photo of this incredibly huge fish and a chef preparing it for some delectable sushi. Not sure about you but this certainly made me think about @moshibrighton1 as a venue to visit soon!

best restaurant tweeters

I’m well aware there were many other brilliant tweets out there but these were the two that I saw in my Twitter stream and gave me the idea of this new series of blog posts about Brighton’s Best Tweeters.

Have a great weekend! I’m planning on going out for coffee and sashimi myself…

Facebook Timeline for Business Pages: Think Content!

Facebook Timeline is coming to brand pages on 30th March and, as I mentioned in a previous post ‘Facebook Timeline for Business: What’s New?’, there is more emphasis now on posting decent content to encourage more interaction with fans. As always with Facebook it’s all about engaging people. If you post dull content that nobody interacts with, you will end up not being able to reach them because you won’t appear in their feed. The focus now is really getting your fans to:

  • like your posts
  • comment on your posts
  • share your posts
  • vote in your polls

If people do not interact with the content you post in the above ways then you will cease to appear in their newsfeed. And obviously if they hide your posts visbility then you won’t either. You will however still appear in their ticker feed (top right corner of your page) but you will not be visible to their wider networks.

So what should you do?

You need to take a fresh look at what you post and how it relates to your audience. Go back to the roots of your social media strategy and answer the following questions:

  1. Who are your audience / target market?
  2. What are they interested in?
  3. What does your organisation do/offer/talk about that they will want to share?
  4. What times of day and days of the week are they online (and interact most with what you post)?

When you’ve answered the questions above you should have a better idea of how to engage the right people at the right time. If your frequency of posts has been low you will probably need to increase the amount of times you post (once a day is apparently not considered to be enough anymore) to make any kind of impact.

You will certainly be wise to look at the times and days that you post in particular. If your audience are online more at the weekend and you work Mon-Fri, you should schedule a higher frequency of posts over the weekend. By using the metrics available to you with Facebook Insights and services like you can monitor this and adjust your social activity accordingly.

As for who your audience is and what they are interested in, that is obviously unique to your brand or industry.

Another way of utilising Facebook Timeline and creating interesting content is to build the history of your brand by posting historical milestones or important moments in time. Red Bull have tried this approach and have created an interesting chronology of their brand for their audience. Food for thought perhaps!

Time to get your thinking caps on. Comment on this post or on Twitter and share your ideas!




Make your own Hashtag Infographic with

By using the lovely site you can create an infographic based on either a certain hashtag (below) or a personal Facebook ‘Monster’ by allowing it to access you Facebook profile and information (you will not see THAT below). You do have to sign up and wait for an invite from before you can get going but when you’re in, it’s all about the infographics: creating, uploading and sharing. I chose #SXSW as it was a recent hashtag I was following on Twitter.

This is just a bit of fun but I love the way that there are sites like this that allow any of us to create something visual that doesn’t look like you made it on Microsoft Paint. Social media is all about posting content that people want to share and it can sometimes be really hard to come up with ideas. There may be an opportunity for your business to create something like this, especially if you start your own hashtags on Twitter or join in with other hashtags yourself! Food for thought possibly.

infographic created with

Facebook Timeline for Business: What’s new?

Facebook Timeline is coming to brand pages whether we like it or not so lets get to the bottom of what it means for your business. There’s a fair bit of reluctance out there…. but lets embrace the change and make the most of it. On 30th March your page will be changed by Facebook anyway so better to be prepared, understand the changes and amend your social media strategy accordingly.

Page layout

There is now a large cover image at the top with an avatar underneath and a chronological series of updates, including posts where others have commented on your brand. There are rules about what you can and can’t include on your cover image (such as no contact details!) which you can read here.

Red Bull Facebook Timeline

Whereas before you only had an avatar and possibly a welcome page to ‘brand’ your company, there is now more scope to make an impact upon first visit. Although individuals may only visit your page once when they first decide whether or not to ‘like’ you, it is an opportunity to brand your page so that it represents your company and what you’re about. Notice how Red Bull’s image is not a photo of a can!

If you want to design your own cover image, the size needs to be 850 x 315 pixels.

Underneath this the rest of the page consists of a chronological timeline which is similar to your personal profile. The focus now then is on content and what you want to be seen by people. More of that in the next blog post.


You used to see: info, wall, photos etc, down the left hand side of your page – only 4 of these are visible now and one of them has to include photos. So have a think about what you want people to see. Depending on your location, you may not need people to see the map and opt for something more interesting instead. Brighton Source, for example, have opted for this image which matches their current issue and looks great!

Brighton Source Facebook Timeline

Messaging feature

Your fans can now interact with your business (if you choose not to disable this option) although you have to wait for them to start messaging; you can’t initiate the conversation. This needs careful consideration – by not disabling this feature, you could be opening up your brand to comments, questions or abuse that you are not prepared to handle. However, if you choose to leave this feature active and have a strategy in place, you are actually promoting your brand as one that is prepared to listen to customers and could repsond to questions, gather valuable feedback and diffuse negative comments.

Admin panel

I think this is a really useful layout, giving you a snapshot of notifications, messages, new likes and insights. You can expand them all for a more complete view of the data. The information here is really important so don’t ignore this panel; it gives you the data you need to tailor and schedule your updates for maximum impact/reach.

Transparent Metrics

Don’t be scared but anyone can now see any brand page’s metrics which include largest group check in’s (if your page is also a place), most popular age group, city and week. Find a business page on Facebook Timeline and click on the ‘Likes’ tab to the right of photos to see some data about them.

Now this might seem scary to a lot of businesses but social media best practice is all about embracing transparency and so at least you now have the chance to see how other people are growing communities and monitor the performance of your competitors.

There is more emphasis now on what content you post and how you can manage the posts on your page, which warrants a separate blog post – watch this space!

Have you taken the plunge yet or holding on until the last minute?

Getting started with Google Reader

Google Reader is a truly wonderful thing once you get used to it. It can save you no end of time, improving productivity and really is so simple to learn. Everyone who uses the internet and reads content from different websites can benefit from getting their head around Google Reader so I thought it would be useful to write a quick post to help people get the most of this tool.

What is Google Reader?

Google Reader is a web based aggregator which reads RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication).

If you’re interested in how RSS works then read about the science bit here. Or check the Google Reader blog here. Otherwise lets just get on to how to use it!

How do I use it?

Set yourself up with a Gmail account if you don’t already have one, and then on the menu bar along the top left where you can see ‘Images, Videos etc’ click on ‘More’ and then ‘Reader’. This takes you to your Google Reader page which you will now start to personalise and fill with what interests you from the web.

Now have a think about which websites and blogs you regularly read or like to visit to keep up to date with new posts and articles.

Lets say, for example, that you are interested in films and often visit the Guardian website to read their reviews. Go to the Guardian website and find the page you want.

 This is the universal icon for RSS. Look for this RSS symbol on the web page and click on it. It is in the top right on this screen shot, but can sometime be found on either side of the page or sometimes at the bottom – you just have to scan the page and have a hunt really! Sometimes, there may be several RSS icons for different feeds within the website, just choose the one related to what interests you.

Guardian screenshotWhen you click on the icon, you may see a page that looks like something has gone terribly wrong but don’t worry – it (probably) hasn’t! All you need to do then is highlight the URL at the top (which will be the same URL as the website you were on before but followed by ‘/rss’) then ‘copy’, open the Google Reader tab then click on the red ‘subscribe button’ and paste the URL into it and click ‘add’.

You have then added the feed to Google Reader and every time the Guardian website updates it’s content on this page, you have that information in Google Reader without having to visit the Guardian website. Once you have completed the same process for all of the websites and blogs that interest you, you have all of this information in one place; a personalised page without having to trawl the internet looking for information! Sometimes you may see a Google Reader button (below) which you can use instead of clicking on the RSS icon.

Once you have several feeds in Google Reader it is worth organising them into folders. This is done by hovering your cursor over the title of the feed on the left hand side and then clicking on the little triangle that appears to it’s right and choosing a folder to put it in, or create a new folder. There are also other options here to play around with and customise how you would like Google Reader to organise feeds for you.

It really is worth spending some time and putting the effort into filling Google Reader with feeds because it will save you hours in the long run! Now every time you visit it, you have the latest relevant web content to scan through and just click on the ones you want to read. Your page will look something like this.

I really hope this has been useful. Tweet me with any questions @social_brighton and I’ll do my best to help!

Please let me know how you get on!