With over three million Facebook likes, more than 12 million followers on Twitter and 14 million followers on LinkedIn, Richard Branson joins Mark Cuban and Elon Musk as one of the most prominent entrepreneurs on social media. Success on social media goes well beyond likes and follows, and he follows several social media best practices that elevate him to the top of the pack. Start using these four practices to drive leads and create relationships on social media today.
He connects on a completely human level
Branson successfully uses social media to naturally build engagement. He does this through telling stories, creating a personal feeling among a very large following. Standard marketing messages may have organically generated engagement or clicks a few years ago, but now social media followers expect real connections.
Although Branson has an extreme volume of followers, he still manages to respond to tweets on a nearly daily basis. He also often includes personal pictures and images with his content. Branson knows that social media success requires being authentic and makes social media a priority during his day.
When once asked by a follower how much time Branson spends on social media and blogging each day, he directly responded. He said: “It depends what else I’m doing and where I am, but I make sure to check in at least a couple of times a day.”
He uses social media to drive traffic to the Virgin website
While you may hope to earn leads and build better relationships through social media, every business is ultimately engaging in social media and other marketing to increase sales. Posting “feel good” content may help to drive clicks and engagement, but content that sends traffic to your website is what converts engagement into leads, and ultimately sales. Facebook and Google are currently and continually the biggest drivers of website referral traffic.
Branson gets the importance of original blog content to his social media strategy, publishing new blog posts almost on a daily basis. He sends traffic to those written blog posts on his Virgin website by posting the links in engaging tweets to his millions of followers.
He welcomes input from customers
Branson understands that being active on social media (and getting the potential rewards of a strong social presence) means becoming vulnerable to negative comments from people. Rather than avoiding this type of social feedback, he welcomes it, saying:
“I enjoy reading through my social media feeds. It’s a great way to get feedback about our goods and services, and a wonderful way to find inspiration for new ideas.”
Through his #AskRichard live Twitter questions and answers and through daily interaction, Branson engages his followers in open conversations. He takes a community approach to his followers, leading to a highly engaged community.
He has fun
In his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, leading social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk suggests offering fun, valuable content several times before ever “asking” for something from your followers. Whether it’s a funny meme, interesting fact or a personal story, Branson shares things he enjoys on Twitter. More importantly, he shares content that he knows his followers will enjoy
Yes, sending traffic to your website is essential to growing your business. But sharing content that your followers will enjoy offers balance to business-oriented content. At the same time it increases the likelihood that followers will trust the quality of your “sales” content.
Social media success isn’t reserved for globally-recognised entrepreneurs with millions of followers. Make a commitment to social media and follow the lead of Richard Branson to make a real impact.