Social Media the Richard Branson Way

Kavin Paulson
Published on May 29, 2013
Richard Branson with a Young Female Pilot

Should CEO be the public face of the company? The answer is yes. World famous former CEOs Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Jack Welch had all been the face of their respective companies. People recognized them and that immensely helped them to add value to the companies they led.

He says “if you get your face and your name out there enough; people will start to recognize you”. Being visible helps you a lot of in terms of brand promotion, awareness, recall and more. This widely recognized, flamboyant CEO can literally do anything to grab attention and be in the lime light. He has thrown himself off tall buildings, hung off bridges and chopper, taken deep sea drives, and has had tea on the top of a hot-air balloon. He once drove tanks into Times Square and fired at the coke’s signboard (a publicity stunt which was part of the promotional campaign during the launch of Virgin cola). Yes, it’s none another than Sir Richard Branson, best known as the founder, CEO and chairman of Virgin Group of more than 400 companies. (Excerpts and references from Like a Virgin and the Book: Cult: Leadership & Business Strategy: Ruthlessly Redefined )


He can rightly be called the people’s person. He is one of the rarest CEOs who have successfully connected to the masses. He has been visible, remained in the lime light for all these years helping to get Virgin’s brand message across to the people around the world, thanks to his action packed adventures, attention grabbing and jaw dropping stunts and flamboyant personality. He has tried almost every possible way to reach out to the people, and social media is no exception. After all, being such a shrewd business man, how can he ignore such a powerful media that has the potential to change (has been changing) the way marketing is done?

It’s a known fact that he has been quite active on popular social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn blog and he also has his own blog. Let me show you some statistics of his fan/follower base:

Facebook – 292000+ fans
Twitter – 3172230+ followers
Google+ – 4307823+ connections
LinkedIn blog – 1787011+ followers

Though it’s not a surprising thing for a world famous celebrity like Richard Branson to have millions of fans and followers on his social profiles, there are a few X factors beyond his celebrity status that make his profiles so interesting, lively and motivating and noticeably drive high levels of social engagement.

After thoroughly observing his social profiles and analyzing the activities I have listed out the factors (including the X factors) that make his profiles so interesting in turn drive people to engage with the brand ‘Richard Branson’ (taking the advantage of being a celebrity into account).

Moreover, these are also social media insights that we get to know from one of the world’s most successful CEOs of all time. These tips can be largely followed to improve the performance of your social media campaigns.

1. Have fun

This one seems to be Richard Branson’s philosophy, he says “when it’s not fun move on”. He has fun in everything that he does including social media. So, have fun! It mostly works when it comes to social media. When you have fun doing social media it becomes visible through your posts. After all, who doesn’t like to have fun or watch people having fun? It lifts the spirits and motivates people to join you and thus fuels social engagement. Who can show you how to have fun better than Richard Branson? See some of his Facebook posts/images below.

What is a business? A group coming together to make a positive difference to people’s lives – Richard Branson

Richard Branson at Virgin Active

Image Source: Virgin Active

Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group

Image source: Fun day in Queensland

Richard Branson with a Young Female Pilot

Image Source: Virgin Australia

Richard Branson Celebrating

Image Source: Virgin Radio

(Note: It may not always work, consider your niche and set limits – be careful when dealing with or discussing about sensitive issues. In some cases, light humor or jokes may work occasionally but not full time fun)

2. Motivate others

People also like to get motivated, that’s the reason why motivation industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. People seek motivation and tend to look up to those who motivate. Do motivate people by sharing real life achievements, motivational stories, inspirational quotes, pictures, videos, personal messages etc.

If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again. If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward – Richard Branson

Richard Branson Cycling

Image Source: Cycling

3. Be different

While your competitors are busy posting the regular stuff, you be different. Let your every post be different, interesting and thought provoking. Just have a look at Mr. Branson’s Facebook page and let me know if you find any post that you would term as ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting’ . Take the extra effort to make your posts attractive, create or choose content that people would love to share. The biggest advantage of social media platforms (from a marketer’s point of view) is their capacity to make content go viral and reach thousands or even millions within no time. Create and share content that is likely to go viral.

Life is a series of ups & clowns. Make it worth your wild! – Richard Branson

Richard Branson and Tony Fernandes

Image Source: Lady in Red

4. Bring variety to your social media posts.

It’s not only about being different, but also about diversifying the types of posts that go to your social profiles; you need not necessarily have to stick to posting stuff related to your niche or business. People like variety and do not like to listen to the same thing over and over again, no matter you say it differently and creatively every time, after a certain point of time, it becomes boring. Users eventually lose interest and become less active. This is one of the attractive factors of Richard Branson’s social profiles. He brings variety to his posts. He would discuss everything on his social profiles, from his adventures to business events, product/service launches, charity shows, nature, family, travel, future projects, Necker Island and lot more. Every day I look forward to his Facebook posts, because every time he surprises us by coming up with some thing new and refreshing. Bring variety, be unpredictable, and surprise people! It works 😉

5. Images

If you are from the internet marketing industry, this one should sound obvious to you. Images attract more eye balls than text. Attractive images combined with mesmerizing lines really work like magic. Roughly 99% of Richard Branson’s posts are images combined with well-written short descriptive texts. You may not have to blindly follow the same, but the take away here is that sharing more images fuel engagement. Ideally, it could be a combination of texts, videos, links, images, infographics, art designs and more.

The website, Google plus, Facebook page, blog and twitter feed are no longer add-ons to a business’s communication budget: they have to be central to its marketing strategy, and used in coordination with other marketing efforts.

To succeed entrepreneurs and business leaders must look at this digital world through a different lens; by working with your online sites, services and teams, you can transform these challenges into opportunities.

He who resists can only lose!

– Richard Branson

6. Engage People

Social media is all about people. So, engage them as much as possible. Ask questions, reply to comments, post stuff that could fuel conversations, appreciate people, thank them, do all that you can to make them talk to you or talk about you positively.

Richard Branson at the Launch of Virgin Active, Singapore

Image Source: Virgin Active Singapore

7. Keep updating

This is a basic rule of social media marketing. Keep updating your social profiles in order to remain visible. Richard Branson’s profiles are updated once or twice in a day. Don’t over do it and end up annoying people.

8. Entertain People

If you keenly observe, social platforms are great stress-busters, they are places where people come to relax and refresh their mind (exceptions apart; people also use social media to discuss serious issues, for professional networking, to have specific subject/field related discussions and also to gain knowledge – but generally social media platforms have been places of entertainment) . Social media gives the opportunity to spend some quality time with friends, get to know what’s going on in their lives and to share your happy moments mostly. Why not instead of trying to grab their attention all the time, entertain them and make them feel good? Feel good factor works, trust me.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, you certainly can teach an old macaw new tricks! Here’s me trying – Richard Branson

Richard Branson with Macaw

Image Source: Necker Island

As you can see from these photos, I’m fully committed to saying bye to the tie. Are you too? – Richard Branson

Richard Branson with Cut Tie

Image Source: Saying Bye to Tie

Richard Branson with Friend

Image Source: Screw Business Meetings as usual

This one is entertainment at its best 😀

Richard Branson

Image Source: Virgin Atlantic

9. Support Social Causes

Support social causes on social platforms. If the cause is really good, seek people’s support and ask them to join you – discuss the issues, express your views and ask for opinions. You can either join the group and support it or lead the campaign. It not only shows your brand in positive light but also makes a good impression. Moreover, it motivates people to participate and spread the word. But let your decision to support the cause be genuine one backed by real commitment not a promotional gimmick. Genuinely support the cause, let the benefits you get in terms of visibility, good will, attention, traffic follow. But be careful when it comes to taking a stand or expressing your views, hurting any group’s sentiment may result in bad publicity which in turn may hurt your brand’s reputation. So it’s better to avoid discussing sensitive issues on social profiles.

Richard Branson Tweets

Image Source: London Marathon

10. Be positive

Let your posts spread positive vibes among the users. People badly need positive energy in order recharge themselves in this fast paced world. Let your social channels be powerhouse of positive energy. Be positive, when you are positive you come up with posts that would send positive vibes across.

Remember it’s OK to be yourself – Richard Branson

Richard Branson

11. Promote but don’t be Pushy

This is another basic rule of social media marketing. Social media is all about people, it is all about conversations. Don’t try to sell, but have good conversation with people, contribute and share useful stuff you’ll get noticed and followed eventually. Promote indirectly, don’t be pushy. Have a look at Richard Branson’s social profiles, most of his posts are related to the brand and his group of companies but you never feel like he tries to sell his products or services to you. (You can go for direct sales or selling under certain conditions, one of my previous articles on social media marketing explains the same)

Richard Branson's Book Cover - Screw Business As Usual

Image Source: Screw Business as usual

12. Give, Give and Give

Give people reasons to be associated with you on social profiles. Run contests, give advice, share tips, share something inspirational, provide information, share knowledge, crack jokes, retweet or share others’ content, appreciate and reward highly active fans or followers who interact with you and think about creative ways to give back something worthy in return.

Richard Branson


13. Show the Human Face

It’s simply not cool to interact with a brand page or company page unless fans or followers know the people involved in social media management. Add a human touch to your social media conversations by letting your fans or followers know whom they are interacting with. Introduce your social media community managers to your fans and followers so that people can interact with them mentioning their names. It is a great way to deepen the relationship with your fans and followers.

14. Tell Stories about your brand

Brand story telling has been an effective and interesting marketing technique. People generally are more interested in hearing others’ stories or to know what’s happening in their lives. Tell interesting stories about your brand, share the happy moments, behind the scenes fun, the making of a great product, launch of a business, product or service, major events, your customers’ positive experiences using your product/service and more. You can find so many examples here

Virgin Money UK

Image Source: Virgin Money UK

15. Thought leadership

People constantly need help advice and guidance. They look up to people who are knowledgeable and experienced for guidance. So being or becoming a thought leader is a great way to influence people and be in the limelight. Thought leadership works amazingly on social media platform. Use your expertise and experience to help and guide people as much as possible. Share your knowledge generously so that you become a thought leader in your group, community or field. It’s a great way to create brand awareness and also to fuel word of mouth marketing. That’s the very reason why Richard Branson jumped at the opportunity when he was offered to be one of the LinkedIn Thought Leaders. Visit: Richard Branson’s LinkedIn Blog (1,873,650 followers still counting)

Do have a look at Sir Richard Branson’s social profiles and come up with more such social media tips which I might have missed and let us know through the comment section below.

Connect with us on Facebook


Richard Branson Tweet Complementing Kavin Paulson, Digital Marketer

Source: Tweet Status


Kavin Paulson


Kavin is a seasoned digital marketer with more than 10 years of hands-on experience handling multiple projects of various clients from different industries. A decade-long career in digital marketing has helped him gain diverse skill sets, rich experience and in-depth knowledge of how things work in the digital ecosystem. As a digital marketing consultant over a period of 10+ years, he has led many digital marketing campaigns to achieve set objectives and have delivered impressive results. Apart from working on digital marketing projects and handling clients, he does read, analyze and write about all things digital. "I welcome you to the community and invite you to be a part of it. Hope you like what we do here at The iMarketing Café. Your valuable suggestions and feedback is always welcome. Stay tuned!" - Kavin

Related Posts

Social Media FormulaSocial Media Marketing: Approach That Makes the Difference
Top 64 Social Media Experts Every Enthusiast Should Follow
Chris Brogan, Digital Marketing Thought Leader21 Interesting Social Media Questions Answered by Top Social media Experts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *