Sean Nelson, Sam Diener and Tim Ruffner are actively, and successfully, using social media to build their businesses. Sean has prospered well enough in social media that he is “retiring” from two corporate interests to help other business owners use social media well. Sam has built a global audience of 40,000+ with his blog, and Tim is showing people how to make their dreams into reality. And each of them recognizes that a blog is the center of their social media strategy.
They’re also the top three performers in Blog Off II, a semi-annual competition organized by Andrew Ballenthin to demonstrate social media ROI (return on investment). It’s also an opportunity for bloggers – such as Sean, Sam and Tim – to walk their talk.
What caught my attention about the results from Blog Off II is that Tim, Sam and Sean come from extremely different backgrounds.
Sean is a sales professional, and came first in Blog Off II. He owns two successful companies in the insurance industry and has made a career by consistently, honestly helping business owners get what they need. It’s no wonder he has been able to make a smooth and profitable transition to social media.
Sean publishes the Social Media Sonar blog, has written three books on how to use LinkedIn, and has been teaching business owners how to duplicate his success for two years.
Sam placed second in Blog Off II, has trained as a paramedic and was working as a manager in the car rental industry before turning to social media. He now publishes the Stuff For Success blog – with his own unique blend of humor and usefulness.
Sam started the Stuff For Success precisely because he is “seeking a new opportunity in creative marketing or business development.” So building a blog that had over 40,000 page views by people in 91 countries is ideal way for Sam to showcase his ability. That he achieved that success in less than four months is outstanding and spectacular.
It also means a return to the corporate world is looking less and less likely. Sam’s blog is turning into a full-time, profitable business.
Tim works with a process called direct metal laser sintering. That’s also the name of his blogspot blog. You just have to agree that Tim has a niche market.
It gets a lot easier to understand when you know Tim is an account executive with GPI Prototype. Tim makes scale models of anything you want to show to clients, or even working prototypes of inventions. And that is what lead Tim to social media.
It’s a fair bet that none of us care much about direct metal laser sintering. But how many of us like to tinker with things, and have an idea or two for a great invention? Maybe we’re going to improve the Swiffer duster, or invent a new Slinky. Which would be why Tim’s Blog Off II articles centered around what a prototype is and how to bring your invention to market.
“Bringing your invention to market” is an evergreen topic. There are inventors and tinkerers in every household, in every generation. I’ll bet you know half a dozen people whose interest would tweak when you tell them about Tim’s blog – someone who works in the invention business giving away how-to advice for getting patents and making prototypes.
A prototype maker, car rental agent, and insurance salesmen…hardly the first things that come to mind when you think of social media professionals. Which is exactly why they’re valuable as case studies – they show that social media works for every business.
It’s also why you need to be telling every business colleague you know who isn’t currently using social media that they need to seriously, critically look at social media as a business building tool. To help you give them the evidence they need, the next three articles in this series will look at Sean, Sam and Tim individually.
We’ll explore what they did to be successful in social media. Then you can put their methods to use for yourself, and encourage your colleagues to follow suit.