Defying norms is what Sir Richard Branson does best.
At a time when most business professionals complain about being too busy to be active on social, Branson has taken to it like a fish to water. He is devoted to his almost 4.7 million followers and keeps them engaged with his tongue-in-cheek updates. And, unlike most entrepreneurs who have a digital marketing team ghostwriting for them, Branson believes in doing his own writing. Also, very significantly, he allows and encourages his employers to be active on social. Not everyone does this.
Here are the top 16 things that we can pick up from this legend:
- Social media isn’t for selling
Branson doesn’t use his social media ID to give updates about his business.He uses social media to talk to the world. When you post, talk about what you stand for and your passions. Show everyone the part of you that isn't the CEO.
- Social is the best way get customer feedback
Being candid on social has its perks. Your customers will know that you take them seriously and that their opinions matter. As a result, you can ask them anything and expect honest, useful answers.
- Your social persona (photographs + writing style) should reflect your organizations’ persona and ideals
Let yourself be the voice of your organization’s ideals. Note that Branson always uses “we” instead of an “I” when talking about beliefs. That signifies that the whole organization functions as one big family, strongly affirming each other’s goals.
- Praise your team and employees on social
You will often find Branson bragging about the amazing staff that works at Virgin. He is all praise for the hard work and the success they bring to his brand. (Who doesn’t like a little appreciation from the boss?)
- Images speak
All of his tweets and blogs are accompanied by vibrant images. You may not have those “happening” images of yourself scaling snow-clad mountains or scuba diving with sharks, but surely you have pictures that showcase who you are as a human being. It doesn’t have to be crazy unique, it just needs to be you.
- Praise outside the organization
Do you appreciate some webinar that you just attended? Did a fellow entrepreneur accomplish some achievement and you truly feel happy for her? Go ahead and praise her. Congratulate her on the achievement or tell her that you believe in the cause she supports. This will not go unnoticed and will expand your voice in the community.
- Share your updates across all social platforms
When you update something, it is important to do it across all your social networks so readers across all platforms will know what you are up to. This also increases your visibility.
We all know that social media is tough to keep up with. Despite that, you need to be consistent with your updates. Don’t leave your readers and followers wondering about your disappearance for days on end. You shouldn’t bombard them with endless posts about everything you do, of course. Just strike a balance.
- You don’t have to be a millennial to be social-savvy
Branson is the ideal answer to “I’m too old for social media”. Branson is 64. ‘Nuff said.
- Tell stories
People love stories, but hey don’t like advice or criticism. If you want to give advice about something, tell them a story of how you learned the lesson yourself. If you want to sell them something, tell them a story of how it changed someone’s life. (be careful, though. Blogs aren't for selling)
- Your social profile needs to be an extension of you
Branson’s social profile is what he is, without any apparent pretense. His thoughts and pictures are all a reflection of his flamboyant, go-getter, fun-loving personality. In order to create a genuine connection with your audience, remember that you have to be yourself.
- Social media is a two-way street
Social listening is just as important as talking. The value of social media is to hear what people are talking about and what they expect from you. Doing all the talking doesn’t create any value for you or your readers.
- You are allowed to have fun
Make “having fun” an integral part of your social personality. Don’t be all serious and corporate-y in your updates and blogs. Let your hair down, and except for occasional official updates, keep your posts fun, friendly and informative.
- Add a little humor
Make your posts fun enough to be share-able with other people.
- Encourage your employees to be social
Virgin allows almost all of its employees to be active on social sites. They are encouraged to do so because the more employees on social, the more listeners the company has. Don’t be afraid you will “lose” control. This is too valuable a public relations tool to be lost to fear. Your employees are another way to connect your company to customers and prospects. Don’t miss out.
- Continue to explore newer platforms
Don’t be content with just one social space. Your users are always seeking and exploring newer platforms, so don’t lose them
Who are your favorite social personalities? And what have you learnt from them? Share it with us below.