How and What Social Media to Use

Love it or hate it, social media is everywhere. Whether you're travelling, shopping or dining out you're frequently assailed with invitations to 'check in', 'tag friends' or 'post a review'. Regardless of whether you use social media in your personal life or are still firmly resisting the allure of Facebook, using social media to promote and grow your business is essential in the modern business world. But what are the best social media platforms for your particular business? And how do you use modern social media to your advantage?
Before deciding which social media networks you’re going to spend time and resources on you'll need to decide what you want to achieve with social media. These goals should be specific and tied to a business objective. You can get more information about  setting your social media goals in this article from Social Media Examiner. Once you’ve drawn up a list of goals read through the descriptions and examples below and see which network(s) align(s) with your requirements.


Best for:

The oldest and probably most famous kid on the block, Facebook still has much to offer. Facebook offers you the chance to build a community around your business, gathering feedback, passing on useful and interesting information and handling complaints. It has an ad platform as well, which you can use to promote your content, such as blog posts, and the products you want to sell. The biggest drawback of Facebook is its lack of organic reach. This means that even if you have built up a large following on the site, very few people will see your posts unless you pay to promote them.


Best For:

Twitter is essentially Facebook for those of few words. The platform allows users to send and receive 140-character messages and post links. This brevity is both Twitter’s strength and weakness. It allows you to communicate quickly, but with so many messages flashing past your tweets can get lost in the noise.
It can be hard to promote your company directly on Twitter and many companies opt to use it for branding purposes. The site also has an ad platform, which you can use to promote content or sell products.


Best For:

Instagram is an online portfolio of your pictures and short videos. If you have no physical product to sell, or don’t work in a visual medium, Instagram is probably not your best choice. There is some room for text, but don’t expect to be able to post long diatribes advertising your business. Showing, not telling, is the key to Instagram.

Google+ for Business

Best for:

Google+ isn’t the as widely used as many of the social networks, but it does have its uses. Popular among online marketing professionals, so if you’re targeting that demographic, then you’ll find it can be a great place to share content and make connections. You can set up Google+ for your business via the Google My Business page.
Businesses with a physical location may also find Google+ useful as you have a chance of showing up in Google’s local search results. Secondly, it’s a good platform on which to gather reviews.


Best for:

LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms because its focus is business to business, rather than business to consumer. Companies looking to hire might find it useful to set up a page, and for sole traders such as consultants, the ability to build and maintain connections with past, current and future clients is the main benefit.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

From smart homes with smart fridges, smart heating and smart burglar alarms, to wearable technology tracking your health, fitness and sleep, to smartphones talking to your desktop your smartwatch and your home entertainment system – the Internet of Things (IoT) is already amongst us in a big way, and only set to spread its techy tendrils through even wider aspects of all our lives as we head into the very futuristic future.

What is the Internet of Things?

IoT refers to the interconnection of unique and independent objects and devices over the internet.
That being said, when we hear talk of the Internet of Things, what’s being referred to is more than, say, the machine-to-machine (M2M) relationship between your remote control and your hi-fi system. Rather, it’s the more sophisticated end of the spectrum – i.e. the advanced level of interconnectivity between devices, systems and services that’s being described.
It’s your smart fridge alerting your smart car that you’re out of milk as you drive past the shops, and your smart car’s dashboard notifying you to pull-in to the next store to pick up the essentials.
It’s your smart weathervane acknowledging a drop in temperature, and thusly turning up the heating inside your house.
It’s when you step outside and lock your front door behind you, your smart home automatically turning off all the lights and appliances, setting your burglar alarm, and sending a signal to your car telling it to fire up its engine – it’s about to be taken for a spin.

The IoT Is All About Automation

IoT is a broad term, but what it essentially refers to is the smart communications that smart objects and devices use between each other to enable the automation of functions – completely bypassing any deliberate human input – and covers everything from smart kettles to heart monitoring implants.
The Internet of Things is a big thing indeed, and is only set to become an even bigger thing as more and more “Things” are connected.

 (Image source:
(Image source:

Gartner forecasts that there will be 26 billion connected “Things” by 2020. ABI Research reckons that the figure will be even higher – 30 billion. And there’s more dispute. Cisco says that there will be 50 billion objects connected. Intel says 200 billion. And IDC says it will be more like 212 billion!
Whichever of these research giants have made the more accurate guestimate doesn’t really matter – the IoT will have a staggering presence in just a few short years.

Beyond Consumer Products

Unsurprisingly, the IoT goes far beyond the interconnectivity of smart devices designed to enable greater consumer laziness convenience.
No, apart from objects and devices, the Internet of Things is also about sensors and the gathering of data. It’s “Things” like iBeacons being attached to every shop wall and street corner, monitoring consumer behaviour. Other innovations such as smart cement that monitors cracks, stresses and warpages in the very buildings, bridges and roads underneath, up above and all around us – these “Things” are the IoT. As an article in Wired puts it:
“If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him. This is just one of the ways that sensor-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication can take place. Sensors on the bridge connect to machines in the car: we turn information into action.”
In the medical field, the IoT is already being used for remote patient monitoring. In aerospace, Rolls Royce aircraft engines in flight today contain sensors that send real-time data on the engine’s functioning back to command centres on the ground. Microsoft uses software to detect which features on its products are being used the most, so it can thusly strip back support on those that are being used the least.

Final Word

In short, the Internet of Things is set to be a global disruptor of practically every organisation in every industry. Try and imagine having to go back to using phones that are just, well, phones… It almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
The same will soon enough be true of roads, cars, homes, medicine, shopping, marketing, government and everything else.
What is the Internet of Things? Well, it’s everything. And, in a minute, it will be everything else as well – and all businesses need to consider the forthcoming impact the IoT will have on their industry and prepare.

How to Use Social Media to Improve Customer Relationships

The advent of social media has been a game-changer when it comes to the relationships people form with their favourite brands (and indeed their least favourite ones).

No longer can brands just be brands – faceless, unreachable, with communication basically a one-way street.
These days, brands have to be human. Indeed, they have to be social – because that’s what social media demands.
Setting up a Facebook Page and expecting people to visit it and buy something doesn’t really cut the mustard in 2016. And the same goes for Twitter, Instagram and all the other platforms.
The trick is to leverage your presence on social media to build meaningful, lasting relationships with your followers and customers, and ensure that they keep coming back for more.
And so, we’ve put together this blog post to give you five super-easy ways you can start doing that today.

How to Use Social Media to Improve Customer Relationships 

Create Dedicated Channels to Handle Questions and Complaints 

Today, when a customer has a query or a complaint, they will turn to social media whether you’re there to handle the comment or not.
It might seem like you will be inviting complaints if you, for instance, set up a Twitter account to handle such things. But consider the fact that a dissatisfied customer is probably going to head over to the network to air their grievances anyway.
Rather than burying your head in the sand, it makes much better sense to engage with the customer quickly and politely, show that you are listening and publicly endeavour to try and fix whatever the problem is that the customer is encountering.
Indeed, by engaging with a disgruntled customer in this way, and by proving to them that you care about their experiences with your brand, you are in fact much more likely to keep them, and of course will have some element of control over what is being said about your service online.

Use Social Media to Solve Problems for Your Customers 

Here’s a rather inspiring story I’ve taken from a blog post by Jennifer Lonoff Schiff for CIO.
Schiff quotes Esti Chazanow, cofounder and brand manager at LIV – Swiss Watches who tells a tale about a moment when their marketing team intervened on a conversation that was taking place on their Instagram account:
“We noticed that two siblings were having a conversation on one of our Instagram photos, saying they wanted to purchase a watch for their dad, but just couldn’t afford it. We piped in saying we would pitch in by offering a coupon code. Their response: ‘Wow now that is impressive @livwatches awesome customer awareness and service!!!’”
How’s about that!
The lesson – monitor all conversations that are taking place on social and take the opportunity to solve a problem, make a sale, and grow your reputation in one fell swoop.

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Who are your biggest and most important followers on social media? No doubt you know who they are – but do they?
Everyone appreciates acknowledgment and recognition – and saying thank you is sometimes all it takes. It’s something that British fashion house Burberry made somewhat of a name for itself over. Back in 2012, to celebrate its first 1 million Twitter followers, @Burberry sent out 3,000 personalised virtual thank you cards written in the chief creation officer’s handwriting style to show how much the company appreciated the engagement from their most important followers.
It’s a tactic that seems to have worked – today the company has over 7 million followers.

Run Competitions 

Everyone loves a bit of competition – and your most loyal following will certainly appreciate the chance of winning something for nothing from their favourite brand.
But of course, a good “like and share” contest is a great way to spread the word about what you do beyond your existing following, and you will be particularly successful if you make appropriate use of hashtags.
Beyond “like and share” comps, however, a good way of increasing engagement is to get your audience actively involved and commenting on what you’re doing. For instance, if you’ve got a new product on offer, then why not give everyone the chance to invent a name for it, with a prize going to the winning nomination.
If it’s a service you’re offering, no worries – how about naming a new company mascot?

Exclusive Offers 

Another sure fire way of making your social audience feel special is to make them offers that they can’t access elsewhere.
Create special offers that are “For our valued Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/etc. fans only”.
You’ve built up these relationships on these platforms, so it makes sense to nurture them there, too.

All these tips have been designed so that you can start putting them into practice right away. There are of course many more things that you can be doing to improve your customer relationships on social, and some pretty powerful software that can transform your business through these channels. Check out the LeadSeed sales and marketing platform to find out how we can help you nurture your relationships on social, and turn more of your followers into satisfied and engaged paying customers.  

What Are the Differences Between Social Leads and Social Selling? 

All industries and disciplines the world over have their very own sets of jargon that simply aren’t used anywhere else. Before I started writing blogs for a living, I earned my wage slugging it out in restaurant kitchens, and so of course I could tell you the differences between mirepoix, julienne, brunoise, paysanne, macedoine, chiffonade and jardinere when it comes to preparing your vegetables. In the world of poetry (in which I do also occasionally dabble), it’s important to know your caesuras from your enjambment, your sonnets from your villanelles, and your iambic pentameter from your anapaestic tetrameter.

All of these things, of course, mean little and hold even less interest to those who have no use for them. But here you are with your marketer’s cap on, and all of sudden you’ve discovered that there’s a whole set of terminology that’s completely esoteric to the content marketing world, and the call to educate yourself before you become completely overwhelmed is strong.
Keywords, SEO, SEM, CMSs, leads, internal links and anchor text – there’s a lot to get your head around.
But this post isn’t a jargon buster (though here’s a good one from Matthew Woodward for your reference). However, I am writing today to unearth the differences between two often-confused though crucially distinct marketing terms – “social leads” and “social selling”.

What Are the Differences Between Social Leads and Social Selling?

Let’s start by understanding a fundamental difference between these two terms from a simple grammatical perspective, as I think it will make things easier as we continue.
A “social lead” is a noun, and “social selling” is a verb. That is to say that a “social lead” is a thing, and “social selling” is something that you do (to the thing in question, as it happens).
With me so far? Good – let’s elaborate.

What Are Social Leads?

In marketing terms, a “lead” is a person who has expressed some sort of interest in a business. Therefore, a “social lead” is a person who has expressed some sort of interest in a business via a social network.
What matters for you as a marketer is the process of “social lead generation”.
Social lead generation (and we’re into verb territory now) is the practice of vying for consumer attention on social media. Marketers go about this in many ways – from sharing blog posts to creating exclusive competitions, from engaging in Twitter chats, LinkedIn Group discussions and subreddits to creating how-to videos on YouTube, and from using targeting tools like Facebook Custom Audiences to answering consumer questions as they are raised across the various networks.
All of this (and more) is the process generating consumer interest in the business, and raising awareness about the associated brand. This is social lead generation, and the interested consumers are what’s known as social leads.

So What’s Social Selling? 

Social selling is what the sales team attempts to do to the social leads – i.e. sell them a product or a subscription to a service via social media.
It’s important in the modern world of the empowered consumer that social leads are generated before any hard efforts at social selling take place. The reason for this can be attributed to the evolution of social media itself. In the past, there was only a very limited amount of product or service information that a potential buyer had access to. Marketers created newspaper ads and TV commercials, conducted cold-calling marathons and email blasts, all with the purpose of dazzling consumers with inherently biased product information that painted the brand in a favorable light.
However, today, inbound marketing reigns supreme, for potential customers research product details via Google, and, importantly, use social media to consult their peers about the quality of what’s on offer and the customer service they can expect. Put simply, the modern consumer doesn’t want to hear a sales pitch any longer – if they want to buy something, they’ll do the research themselves.
It is for this reason that social lead generation has evolved like it has. With so many conversations taking place on social media, with brand names being mentioned and products being muddied and praised on a minute-by-minute basis, the marketer now has a wealth of data that can be utilised to target specific social leads and prep them for a sale.

The Worlds of Sales and Marketing Combined 

Social selling is an effective strategy that modern businesses need to embrace. Indeed, a study by Liz Gelb-O’Connor, VP of Inside Sales Strategy and Growth at ADP, finds that companies who embrace social selling have a 50% higher chance of reaching their sales targets. Furthermore, a separate study from LinkedIn about the State of Sales in 2016 reveals that 63.4% of social sellers experience an increase in company revenue.
Understanding the differences between social leads and social selling is the first step, and I hope that this blog post has revealed these to you. But, in order to start putting social lead generation and social selling into practice, you need first of all embrace the knowledge that, although the terms represent two different things, they each in fact make up one half of the same coin.
Generating social leads is all about customer engagement. You create interesting content (like this blog post right here!) and share it on social. From there you monitor which of your following engages with it, and then you reach out to them. You start a conversation, and nurture this lead into a sales-ready lead, and from there you strive to make the sale through the very social network that the customer discovered you on. Indeed, the name of the game in social selling is about developing meaningful trust in the lead generation stage, and then sealing the deal seamlessly.
Together, marketing (i.e. the social lead generators) and sales (i.e. the social sellers) should be cooperating to construct meticulously planned social media campaigns that guide leads down the sales funnel towards an ultimate conversion. It starts with the creation of great, informative and useful content, progresses to the formation of a solid fan base, and ends with a big boost in social sales.
Do you want to drive more social sales with better, more accurate lead generation? Take a look at the LeadSeed sales and marketing platform. Our service delivers better qualified new business leads and strengthens customer relationships. Get in touch to find out more.