Starbucks.  Dell.  Mark Schaefer.

Yes, I am now up there with the mega-brand big dogs, at least momentarily, in an article in Forbes recently. Not only that, but I was acknowledged as a Twitter marketing authority in the same breath as Chris Brogan and Jeremiah Owyang, two national marketing luminaries.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know that I make up about 75% of what I say and fabricate the other 25%.  You’re thinking that now too, aren’t you?  No, it’s true. I’m really in there.

How did this happen??  Through social media, of course.  And it’s a great case study on the Social Media Formula for Business Benefit:

Connection + Meaningful Content + Authentic Helpfulness = Business Benefit

Let’s see how this worked in the real world.

CONNECTION

It started about nine months ago when I attended a free webinar featuring Nathan Egan, a former Linked-In exec who had just started a company call Freesource. I thought he was an exceptionally bright guy and decided to comply with his public request to “link” with him. I also looked him up on Twitter and he became one of the first people I followed.

 MEANINGFUL CONTENT

Through his posts, I grew to appreciate Nathan’s vision and he became a regular reader of my blog. He was so interested in one particular article that he called and talked to me for over an hour, deepening the respect and connection between us.

 AUTHENTIC HELPFULNESS

Our friendship has grown and now we routinely support each other. We discuss new ideas and bounce around solutions to business challenges. Nathan recently asked for my help on a new app his company was developing (which I will also be featuring on a future blog article). He has tweeted out my blog posts, helping to grow my readership. That’s what social media is all about!

BUSINESS RESULTS

When Nathan was interviewed by Forbes, he was asked if there was anybody he could recommend who had done an exceptionally good job nurturing business relationships through social media. And he thought of me.

So now I had an opportunity to extend content and helpfulness to a reporter at Forbes. Over a lengthy phone call, I brought him up to speed on my experiences, my client’s social media successes, and ideas about the future of social media. And now we’re friends, too.

As Nathan’s business has expanded, he turned to me to take over some of the company’s marketing functions he no longer has time to handle.  Our social media connection has turned into a fantastic opportunity for both of us.

That’s how social media works for business: C + MC + AH = Business Benefits. Look at ANY B2B or B2C success story and these three elements were in place — none can be missing. Over the next three days, we’re going to look at this STEP BY STEP and come up with some new, actionable ideas that you can use to realize your own business benefits from social media.

But here’s the best part. YOU AND I ARE CONNECTED, TOO! Who knows what will happen NEXT?

If this article made you think, please consider leaving comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

Other articles in this series … each one builds on this theme:

Part 2: Building meaningful business connections

Part 3: The biggest obstacle to social media business succcess

Part 4: Authentic Helpfulness: The economy of giving

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