For the 138th episode of The Marketing Book Podcast, I interviewed Ryan Holmes, author of The 4 Billion Dollar Tweet: A Guide For Getting Leaders Off The Social Sidelines.
After Donald Trump had been elected U.S. President, but more than a month before he was inaugurated, he took to Twitter about the F-35 fighter program:
The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016
Lockheed Martin had no response. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
By the end of the day, the value of Lockheed Martin’s stock price had gone down $4 billion.
It gets worse. When Trump tweeted again about Lockheed 10 days later, the company was caught flat-footed once more. Its valuation tumbled another $1.2 billion.
Lockheed went on to endure months of scrutiny about cost overruns and questions about its leadership. In the end, management agreed to shave $700 million dollars off the final price tag for the F-35 fighters.
The author explains that it could have been very different…
Boeing, Lockheed’s aerospace rival, faced a very similar social media challenge after Trump lashed out about cost overruns on its new 747 Air Force One.
Instead of just standing by, the company and its CEO immediately took to Twitter with a response.
Investors shrugged off the President’s critique. Boeing stock finished up that day, on the way to the finishing the quarter on a historic high.
This very short primer, which can be read in just a few minutes, notes that for many business leaders, social media is an afterthought or something left to others: a big mistake in this brave new media world where social platforms can change fortunes.
Hand this book to your CEO and you’ll be thanked. And maybe promoted.
A bit more about the book…