Virgin Mobile achieves social business success

Mobile Social BusinessCommunicating identity to customers is a challenge for any brand. The volume of ‘social business mistakes’ posts helps bring this point home. Now imagine the identity you need to communicate just happens to belong to one of the world’s most iconic entrepreneurs. You are imagining Virgin Mobile.

Virgin Mobile is a wireless communications company with deep roots in a variety of industries including music and entertainment. Behind it all is Sir Richard Branson, a fun-loving, youthful, iconic rockstar of an entrepreneur. So when it came to developing a social business strategy designed to build brand value with a youthful and mobile audience, developing a brand voice that could convey all manner of cool stuff was key.

What the company has developed is a social platform it calls Virgin Mobile Feed – a sort of social “newsroom” where people can hang out to find what’s new in music, apps and pop-culture trends. Virgin Mobile Feed helps keep the company front-and-center with its target audience, enables them to access information when and where they like, and keeps them interested in coming back for more without actually directly selling them something.

To keep visitors engaged, Virgin Mobile Feed shares content across a wide range of social communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Buzzfeed. Mobility is also critical in making Virgin Mobile Feed especially popular. Virgin Mobile users can download a mobile app that lets them check out news feeds, tweets and blog posts on the mobile device of their choice. They can even stream the latest live music via Virgin Mobile On Air from anywhere.

It appears that Virgin Mobile’s social business strategy is paying off in spades. At the time of a November 2012 Forbes magazine article sharing this social business success story,  Virgin Mobile Feed was rapidly increasing its reach and visibility through viral growth. The social newsroom had over 50,000 “super-sharers” on Facebook and Twitter alone and was averaging over 1 million unique views per month.

Lessons that any brand building out a social business strategy, large or small, can learn from the Virgin Mobile Feed include:

  1. Understand the Difference Between Selling & Buying – selling is work, buying is fun. The more you try to sell something, the less fun your prospects will have, and the more they will resist the urge to buy. But invite them in to have some fun, and you won’t even need to ask for the sale.
  2. Get to Know Where They Are Comfortable – Get to know more about where your customer is comfortable and you’ll get to know more about your customer. If you need just a bit more to get started in one of the bigger channels, learn more about how Dell uses Twitter to solve customer issues.
  3. Be Mobile – it’s hard to imagine any social business strategy that doesn’t have a mobile component. Allowing your best features to only be available for those on a laptop ignores one of the most important social business and technology developments of the last one-hundred years. If you haven’t yet found the best way to go mobile, now is the time.

What is working best with your social business efforts so far, or what do you wish was working better? Let’s talk about it below.

Connie Bensen

Connie Bensen

Global Digital Marketing, Social Media and Community Executive at Dell
Connie Bensen is a leading Community Strategist who has provided resources and mentorship for Community Managers since 2007. Her definition for the Community Manager role is linked from Wikipedia and has been referenced by many organizations. She can be found presenting at leading social media conferences around the world. She has authored a series of ten white papers on the ROI of Social Media.
Connie Bensen
Connie Bensen
Connie Bensen
Tags: Business,Social Media