Lately, I have been spending a considerable amount of time visiting with our customers located all over the U.S. The purpose of this “road warrior” lifestyle is twofold: first, I’ve made a commitment to personally meet with our customers, and second, I’m committed to learning about their businesses so that we can tailor our offerings to better meet the needs of each and every customer.
On a recent visit with one of our clients, while talking about the importance of the Internet to his business, we got into a discussion about the importance of social media within their particular industry. Our client admitted he wasn’t too familiar with social media networks and expressed his concerns about how social media was going to help him sell his products. While I did take the opportunity to highlight some of the benefits of social media for his business, it became clear to me that we need to educate all of our clients regarding ‘new’ media techniques that can improve their businesses.
With a wry smile, the client asked, “I wonder what Warren Buffett is doing in social media?” He stopped me in my tracks. I thought, “What a great question!”. Even though he was half joking, he struck on something profound. Clearly, if you are considering a change, you look to industry leaders to gain insight into your decision making process. Who better than Warren Buffett? One of the savviest business men in the world.
Social Media and Business
Social media campaigns play a vital role in online marketing and enables further brand awareness. It’s a great way to reach hundreds or thousands (depending on your number of connections and followers) of potential customers and spread your messages around the web. Additionally, social media posting removes the barriers that may normally exist between a company and its customers, giving them the opportunity to communicate openly and virtually instantaneously.
It’s one of the main ways the modern world connects. The more social media accounts you have associated with your business, or with yourself personally, the more you’ll be able to connect with searchers and extend your business reach.
Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns a diverse range of businesses including railroads, candy production, retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales, newspaper publishing, manufacture and distribution of uniforms, manufacture, import and distribution of footwear, and several regional electric and gas utilities. Apart from the companies he owns that are active on social media, Buffett also has his own personal accounts as well. He’s on Facebook, he’s on Twitter, he’s on Instagram, and he’s on LinkedIn too. But, what’s unique about Warren Buffett’s social media presence is that it’s slim. Buffett’s social media posting strategy is divergent from the norm.
Buffett joined Twitter back in 2013 and to date, he has only posted nine tweets! Yup, you read that right, nine! But, his account has 1.41 million followers! If social media is so important, why is this world famous billionaire not taking advantage of all it has to offer? What is his social media strategy?
The Warren Buffett’s Social Media Strategy
Social media can have a lot of benefits for businesses. It increase your message reach, your networking connections, and your brand awareness. But, businesses or individuals who use it negatively can end up destroying their image and companies with one wrong tweet, comment, or like.
⌈”It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett⌋
Social media is an optimal place for entrepreneurs and their businesses (both big and small) to lose their professional footing. Once you put something out on social media, it’s out there for people to see. Even if you change your mind and choose to delete a post or a comment, someone will have seen it and told other about it. Buffett treads lightly on social media because he knows the negative consequences it could bring on him and his businesses. Think before you post, tweet, comment, follow, and like! Anything you do publicly on social media becomes associated with your business brand.
The quality of your brand is how you build your business success, so you need to nurture and protect it. Don’t let it come crashing down because you got in an online fight in the comments section of a post. If you’re going to use social media, make sure you have a well thought out social media marketing campaign strategy with structured posts. Post your business articles, share updates about your market, and follow industry leaders. It’s fine to express your support and opinions, just do so in a professional manner and make sure your personal opinions are also those your want to integrate with your brand name.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Warren Buffett is a successful businessman and he knows how to maintain his good brand name. All the companies Berkshire Hathaway owns, controls, or invests in are engaged in social media while following Buffett’s personal example of forethought and brand name protection. Social media is a powerful business tool, and while it has many positive effects, it can have negative consequences as well. Use discernment when you post to get the most out of your social media campaigns.