Social Media Woes: What About the Rest of Us?

by Celeste Bishop

in Social Media Marketing

This past week I gave a workshop in Silicon Valley for the Marketing Education Series for Entrepreneurs (MESE) titled: Growing Your Business Fast Using Social Media and Web 2.0 Marketing.

Whenever I speak with people about Social Media there are some recurring themes that I keep hearing:

1) How can I do that AND my day job?
2) Where’s the value in it for my business interests and me?
3) Isn’t it really just for big companies like Dell or Zappos?

The subtext seems to be: What About the Rest of Us?

While preparing for the workshop I tried to find insight to answer those questions and ran across a LinkedIn case study that fit that task. In case that case study missed your radar screen 🙂 let me tell you about it — it’s a great story as well as instructive.


This is a story about a man named Henck van Ess, a Dutch technology consultant who found happiness on LinkedIn.

Henk was grousing in a couple of his LinkedIn Groups one day about the super-short battery life of his 3G iPhone (I can relate – an incredible invention yet the battery life is horrible).

Before he knew it, he heard from another member of one of his LinkedIn Groups — someone from a Chinese manufacturerwho suggested that they might have a solution.

He tried out the solution, liked it and bought it. You might think that was the end of the story and it would have been sufficient value right there. Yet so delighted was Henk that he again used the LinkedIn — this time the “What am I Doing” section — to crow about his “find.” And he found a wellspring of interest from others on LinkedIn who read his post.

This piece of serendipitous research (albeit not scientific) gave him so many positive responses that he became a distributor, put up a Web store and took orders from 1,200 customers on the first day of business!

The Chinese Manufacturer and Dutch Consultant further collaborated to improve upon the original battery extension solution: 3GJuice is born!

Then Henk told the LinkedIn crew about it and some publicity happened. The NY Times picked up the story… more publicity!

So, we have a LinkedIn member who wasn’t really trying to build a business yet stumbled into one using LinkedIn. Along the way Henk:

  • Developed His Personal Brand
  • Got Some Free Research
  • Identified a Business Opportunity
  • Got a Global Business Partner
  • Generated a Ton of Free Publicity
  • Made Money

Not a bad tally for Social Media’s ability to add value!

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