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What If Warren Buffett had a YouTube Channel?

by Frank Strong

Fortune 500 Blogs

34% of Fortune 500 companies have blogs, which means 66% do not.

Warren Buffett doesn’t have a YouTube channel.  Or more accurately, his company Berkshire Hathaway, doesn’t have a YouTube channel.  One might credibly argue, the holdings company, which has recently, if not oddly, gone on a strange buying binge of print newspapers, doesn’t have much of a website either.

The venerable Mr. Buffett apparently prefers the nostalgia, and perhaps information, of newspapers over cat videos.  And who can question him? Preferred stock in Berkshire Hathaway is trading for just shy of $180,000 per share. Can you imagine?

The holdings company is alone among the top 1o companies on the Fortune 500 list that does not have a YouTube channel. This is according to a report published by UMASS Dartmouth titled: 2013 Fortune 500 Are Bullish on Social Media.  The school’s Center for Marketing research has a long tenure of such studies, including this one on the Inc. 500.

Among the findings include:

  • 34% of the Fortune 500 have corporate blogs which is up from 28% the previous year.
  • 77% have Twitter accounts
  • 70% have Facebook pages
  • 69% have YouTube channels
  • 35% are on Google+
  • 9% are on Pinterest
  • 9% are in Instagram
  • 9% are on FourSquare

Here’s another way to look at select data:

  • 66% of Fortune 500 companies do not blog
  • 30% of Fortune 500 companies do not have a Facebook page
  • 31% of Fortune 500 companies do not have a YouTube channel
  • 23% of Fortune 500 companies do not have a Twitter account

A few observations:

  • Is it really true that two-thirds of the Fortune 500 don’t blog?  Not exactly.  UMASS Dartmouth defined blogging in this report as “a public-facing corporate blog from the primary corporation with current posts.”  This means that if a blog doesn’t exist at the corporate level, but did at a division or product level, it didn’t count in this study.
  • There is still an incredible opportunity in social media; especially blogging.  There’s a dearth of competition, particularly in blogging, which spells long opportunity. Blogging doesn’t provide immediate gratification, so many companies never really get started, or they get started and give up very easily. I look at it as a giant jackpot that nobody wants to carry because it’s too heavy and the path forward is long.
  • Companies that think they don’t have social media accounts…actually do.  Warren Buffett may well reject the notion of social media in favor of his daily paper — but rest assured his company does in fact have social media accounts.  In fact, Berkshire Hathaway’s Facebook page has 37,000 “likes” and no posts.  Of course it’s not an official page, which underscores my point:  For many of these companies, it’s not that they don’t have a social media presence, it’s that their social media presence doesn’t have them.

If Warren Buffet had a YouTube Channel…

Over and over again, for every segment in this report, Berkshire Hathaway is cited for having no entry.  It’s the one company that stands out the most — perhaps that’s a fact and it’s also by design.  In either case, I noticed, and it’s a good way to point out that if Mr. Buffett had a YouTube channel…then people would watch it.

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2 Responses

  1. Great observations, Frank. It’s striking to me that so many of the companies are engaged in social, but not in content / blogging. To me, it can be difficult to have success on social media without content behind it. Maybe some of them do, but just don’t have a blog. But, it’s interesting to think that maybe they aren’t because it’s not a quick path to success. Either way, it’s definitely a missed opportunity!

    1. lauraclick Couldn’t agree more Laura.   The flexibility, sharing and speed of a blog is what makes it so valuable as the center of a corporate social framework.  We can do things with blogs that we really cannot with web pages.

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