This headline is just a bit ridiculous, of course!   But I did want to make a point that social media works in amazing and unanticipated ways.  This week, I’m featuring personal case studies to show how the social web can provide legitimate business benefits, sometimes when you least expect it!

The first example is about how I became the Chief  Marketing Officer of Freesource … without ever meeting my new boss.

About a year ago I saw notice on a LinkedIn Group that the American Marketing Association was offering a webinar on using the social web to make your business more efficient.  The presenter was a guy named Nathan Egan, a former LinkedIn exec who had just started a company called Freesource.  The price was right — free — so I attended.  Nathan seemed like a bright guy and at the end of the webinar, he invited the participants to follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn, so I did.

Getting on the radar

Through Twitter, I appeared on Nathan’s radar and he began reading my blog.  The topics I wrote about resonated with him, and, like many readers of {grow}, one day he called me to talk through some of his business problems. We continued to support each other and toss ideas around over a period of months.

Nathan assembled a great team and Freesource grew quickly as businesses sought the company’s advice on using the social web to make their businesses more productive and efficient.  As the client base grew, he needed a wide variety of resources to support projects, and, since I can do a wide variety of things, I seemed to fit the bill!  Nathan began sending me paid assignments to fill in the many white spaces of a start-up company.

I loved the work because our views on business and marketing were aligned and I absolutely bought into his vision of how the new media could work for a corporation. As Nathan’s trust in me grew, he provided more important, strategic assignments.

Freesource quickly became one of the largest and most respected social media marketing agencies in the country.  Nathan no longer had time to work on the critical marketing functions of his company and asked me if I could help.  I recently agreed to become CMO on a part-time basis and help him through this exciting growth phase.

The success formula

This is a good time to reflect on that important formula I introduced a few months ago:

Connections + Meaningful content + Authentic helpfulness = Business benefits

How this worked in the real world:

  • I was active on LinkedIn and established relevant new business connections.
  • By providing meaningful content through Twitter, I appeared on Nathan’s radar screen. Ideas from my blog grabbed his attention.
  • We offered authentic helpfulness to each other without regard of any future “pay-back.”  This built trust and a dialogue that led to a mutually-beneficial business partnership.

The more I’ve studied success stories in the social media space, the more I am convinced that this formula really does work.  This week, I’ll share a couple other examples to show how.

How does this fit with your own experiences on the social web?

This is part of a series on the unexpected business benefits of the social web. You might enjoy these other articles:

Part 2: On Twitter, even casual tweets can create business benefits

Part 3: LinkedIn: A goldmine of business opportunity

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