Archive for August, 2013

After consulting with various companies recently, I was surprised to find that many business owners are still promoting and advertising for their businesses in ways that they themselves admit they no longer pay attention to. Analyze your own buying habits and what you pay attention to and then develop a strategy to reach people where they are looking.

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Richard Branson

By Jack Preston. Senior Content Executive. Tweets at @JackPressedOn

Social media has unquestionably transformed the way businesses operate and people lead their lives, for Richard Branson – recently voted the world’s top social CEO – the advent of the medium has had a profound impact on both his work and private lives.

As a leader in the field, ahead of the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Jack Dorsey and Marissa Mayer, the Virgin Founder is often asked to hand out some advice on how he stays on top of his social media output.

“I’ve built a strong online presence over the last few years and am always thinking of new ways to expand our reach. I think this is partly because I was already comfortable with the basic concepts: after all, my first successful business was in the media. When I was 16 years old, my friends and I started up Student Magazine. Although I didn’t give myself the title of publisher, that’s what my job was, in retrospect,” wrote Branson in a recent entrepreneur.com column.

“While my friends and I had a lot of fun running Student Magazine, we also had a meaningful message. These days, as well as sharing what is going on in my life and exchanging messages with all sorts of interesting people, I use social media to highlight issues that affect us all. A blog post can kick-start a debate and make an impact in the real world.”

So what three tips would Branson give someone attempting to build a social media empire? Check out his nuggets below, or if you’ve got your own golden rule let us know…

1. Social media isn’t just a one-way street.

I always try to make time to reply to people. Many good ideas for future blogs are sparked by reading the comments online and the conversations they spark. If you’re expecting people to be intrigued by what you and your business have to say, you have to genuinely be interested in their feedback.

2. Tell a few jokes.

As always: Don’t take yourself too seriously. You have a lot of opportunities to make people smile via social media. When we started Student we were young and definitely just as focused on having a good time as on getting an issue out by deadline. For us there was no difference between work and play – and there still isn’t today. Among my posts and tweets you’ll find lots of funny tales, cheeky questions and the odd photo of me making a fool of myself.

3. Give them the genuine article.

Try to make sure your posts and tweets provide a true reflection of yourself, and not just your professional persona. Whether on social media, on a plane or in the office, you (and your business) are far more likely to make an impression if you let your real personality shine through.

Once you get started, you’ll soon learn that by embracing social media you can keep in touch with and inform your customers to a greater degree than ever before, and through that exchange, broaden your understanding of your business’s horizons. So tweet hello and then publish a post introducing yourself and your company, because it’s time to get the conversation started.