Thought leadershipDo you want your social media efforts to lead to high-quality leads and recognition from your industry? While both of these goals can be reached, many marketers attempt to accomplish too much at once. They may use only 1 social media profile to try to bring leads to their websites and share the latest industry trends with their peers.

This approach can work if your customers are also your peers and would be interested in both your thought leadership and your products. However, if your customers are from other sectors, you may need to consider another strategy. When your social media messages speak to different audiences, you’ll have a hard time engaging anybody. For example, a potential customer from the retail sector may see your blog posts about the future of the software industry and assume that your content is not relevant.

Below are key points to think about when you position your brand across the social web.

5 Considerations When You Use Social Media to Position Yourself as a Leader in Your Industry

1. Your main objective: To be recognized as a leader and innovator in your industry.

2. Your target audience: Others in your industry, including associates, colleagues and competitors. You may want to increase your chances of getting media coverage by connecting with bloggers, journalists and podcasters who cover your field. If you use public speaking as part of your marketing strategy, you can also reach out to associations and conference organizers who plan events for people in your industry.

3. The types of content you can share: Anything that focuses on the future of your field. You can share your thoughts on the latest industry trends and best practices. This content can take the form of videos of your live presentations, excerpts from your books, articles, blog posts and special reports. Some of this content should be yours, but you should also share what other thought leaders are saying about your industry.

4. Desired results: You’ll become recognized as a leader in your niche. You’ll receive invitations to speak at events, participate in panels and give your expert opinion to the media. Others in your industry will come to you for advice.

5. You may be focusing too much on attracting customers if … you’re not getting press coverage, people aren’t sharing your content and no one is inviting you to speak at events. However, if your social media activities seem to be attracting new customers, you may want to build on the momentum and change your strategy to focus more on lead generation.

5 Considerations When You Use Social Media to Attract Customers

1. Your main objective: To use social media as a lead generation tool. You may want more people to visit your website and opt in to your list so you can send them sales messages in the future.

2. Your target audience: Potential and current customers.

3. The types of content you can share: Articles, blog posts, videos, reports, white papers or anything else that your ideal customers would find interesting. This information can be a combination of your own content and content from other sources. You can also invite your social community to free webinars and other events that are designed to educate them while helping you generate leads.

4. Desired results: More potential customers will visit your website and subscribe to your list. You’ll fill your webinars and live events with qualified leads. When you track your sales, you’ll discover that social media has played a large role in the sales process.

5. You may be focusing too much on thought leadership if … your social media activities are not leading to sales and you wonder why all your competitors want to connect with you on Twitter.

If you want to attract both industry recognition and new customers, you can maintain multiple social media accounts or blogs to connect with different audiences. For example, you could keep a customer-focused blog and also ask key employees to share their thought leadership on a separate blog.

However, you may not have the time or resources to devote to multiple blogs and social media accounts. If that is the case, concentrate all your efforts on only one of these strategies. You may find that, over time, you’ll receive the benefits of both new customers and increased recognition within your industry.

This post was originally published by The Social CMO – a collective that helps Chief Marketing Officers harness the power of social media to build their brands. You can check out more of my posts for The Social CMO here.

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