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9 Dos and Don'ts of Becoming an Industry Leader With Social Media

Done right, social media is one of the best ways to make your business stand out of the crowd. You can use free networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to share engaging content that your customers - and competitors - will notice.

Here are 9 dos and don'ts to give you an idea of what it takes to become the leader in your industry by using social media:

1. DON'T rely on automation

If your only approach to social media is automation, it's unlikely you will be seen as an industry leader. Automated posts look robotic and ingenuine to people using social media.

Your content needs to be unique if it's going to stand out among the flood of posts published every day.

2. DO have a strategy

To use social media as a marketing tool, you need to have a strategy. Posting without one is like throwing content at the wall and hoping something sticks. Sure, some of it might, but you've wasted a lot of time and effort in the process.

Industry leaders are organized. They have content calendars, posting schedules, and goals that they're measuring their efforts against. They can then use this information to refine their approach and get even better results.

3. DON'T be too promotional

You won't become an industry leader if all you do on social media is promote your business. People will recognize that you're only there to pitch your products and they will tune you out.

Remember, the primary goal of social media is to engage prospects and customers. Create content that's interesting or educational first and foremost. It's through audience interaction that you will build a large following and become the industry leader.

4. DO take some risks

Social media is a great opportunity to show off your brand's personality and have some fun.

There are a lot of niche companies out there that only want to share serious industry news because they're afraid of coming across as unprofessional. You don't need to share pictures of babies or kittens to be effective, but you also want to avoid boring your followers. Strike a balance in the middle. Find a tone that's appropriate for your industry and audience, then explore the range of content you can share. When in doubt, think about what you would find interesting as you're browsing social networks. Anything outside of this range is unlikely to impress your audience, either.

5. DON'T ignore questions or comments (even if they're negative)

Negative comments are one of the top reasons companies shy away from social media, but they shouldn't be. They're an opportunity to show off your exceptional customer service and build brand loyalty.

A Lithium study found that 72 percent of customers expect companies to respond to complaints in an hour. If companies manage to respond within this timeframe, 34 percent say they're likely to buy something from the brand, and 43 percent are likely to recommend it to a friend.

6. DON'T jump on trending hashtags that aren't relevant to you

There is no bigger social media faux-pas than jumping on trends that aren't relevant to your business. To consumers, it looks like companies are shoehorning themselves into conversations they don't belong in.

National remembrance days and controversial social movements are two examples of topics that are usually off-limits to corporations. It's a good idea to research hashtags before you craft the perfect post, or you could end up having to retract the message, like DiGiorno Pizza.

7. DO use visuals

Videos, GIFs, and pictures are an easy way to enhance your social media presence and get ahead of competitors. The digital marketplace is moving toward more visual content and away from plain text.

Consumers seem to agree. KissMetrics found that when it comes to social media content, photos get 53 percent more Likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs than posts with just text and links.

8. DON'T just measure Likes

Likes are a good indicator that followers enjoy what you post, but they aren't the only metric you should track.

To get a better sense of whether your audience is responding to your social strategy, gather insights on engagements, clicks, shares, and follows. This will tell you if people are just clicking the Like button, or if they're actually opening a post and reading an article you shared. These are deeper signs of interest that show you're gaining traction with followers

9. DO interact with other users

Don't treat social media marketing like your own personal megahorn. It's a social network, after all.

Use your account to spark some kind of back-and-forth engagement. Ask your followers questions. Follow them back and Like some of their posts. Find people in your industry who you admire and talk to them. The more organic conversations you have, the more you will dominate the social media scene.

Social media marketing provides a lot of new opportunities to get ahead of competitors and connect directly with your audience, but it takes work. Contact us to learn more about what you can do to become a leader in your industry with a stronger social media strategy

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