With nearly three million Facebook likes, more than seven million followers on Twitter and nine million followers on LinkedIn, Richard Branson joins Elon Musk and Mark Cuban as one of the most prominent entrepreneurs on social media. He follows several social media best practices that elevate him to the top of the pack. Success on social media goes well beyond likes and follows. Use these four practices to establish leadership, drive leads and create relationships on social media.
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. While standard marketing messages may have organically generated engagement or clicks a few years ago, social media followers now expect real connections.
Although Branson has an extreme volume of followers, he still responds to some 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, making social media a priority during his day.
Branson was recently asked by a follower how much time he spends on blogging and social media each day. He responded directly saying: “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 build better relationships and earn leads through social media, every business is ultimately engaging in social media and other marketing to increase sales. Posting “feel good” content will 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. So he publishes new blog posts almost on a daily basis. Traffic is sent to those blog posts by posting the links in engaging tweets to his followers.
He has fun.
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 some balance to business-oriented content, and at the same time increasing the likelihood that followers will trust the quality of your “sales” content.
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, Branson 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 about all sorts of topics. He takes a community approach to his followers, leading to a highly engaged community.
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.
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