If it can't fit on the back of an envelope, it's rubbish
- By Jack Preston -
- Oct 30, 2012
Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson is such a big social media advocate? A look through his past quickly paints the picture of a man who has been waiting his whole life for a way to directly connect with those around him.
“Too many people are hiding in dark rooms flipping through too many words on big screens. There’s a reason why I avoid boardrooms.” Spend any amount of time talking to Branson about business and you’ll soon realise he’s not your run-of-the-mill CEO.
“I’d rather spend time with people ‘in the field,’ where eye contact, genuine conviction and trustworthiness are in full evidence,” explained the Virgin Group Founder to Forbes in a recent interview.
It’s fair to say that Branson is someone who likes to throw himself into challenges wholeheartedly, so much so it often feels as though he is on a mission. His latest passion is social media and its place within organisations.
Coming off the back of a quite shocking set of statistics, which showed that only 3.8% of CEOs have active Twitter accounts, Branson has spoken long and hard about the worth of a strong social strategy.
When hearing him talk about how he likes to conduct business, it soon becomes clear why he enjoys the conciseness and clarity of 140 characters. “I can’t speak for other people but dyslexia shaped my - and Virgin’s - communication style. From the beginning, Virgin used clear, ordinary language.
“If I could quickly understand a campaign concept, it was good to go. If something can’t be explained off the back of an envelope, it’s rubbish.”
With so many of the ideals and qualities which Branson has held close to him since he first began his business career being found in social media, it’s clear as to why he became such an instant fan. “we've been using our social media channels to spread the message that we are just as interested in making a difference as making a profit,” wrote Branson in a recent New York Times blog.
“I set up my first entrepreneurial venture, a magazine called Student, to protest the Vietnam War, and in many ways, I use my social media accounts today for the same purpose - to comment on issues I feel strongly about, such as the pointless war on drugs and the cruel practice of shark finning. Many followers respond, donate or even volunteer.”
So that’s why Virgin loves social, what about you?