What Social Media Has Done For Me

by Jeannie Walters

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Social Media WordcloudI decided to wrap up Social Media Week by thinking about just what social media means to me. It’s been more than I could have dreamed, when I was first exposed to it, before it had a name. Can you imagine what it was in 2001?  I was helping Liz Ryan manage one of the largest global networks of professional women via email listserv!

Social media today is the new watercooler, as my friend Steve Woodruff so eloquently put it. Via this virtual watercooler, I’ve connected with former colleagues, clients, friends, foes, and everyone else. I have found like-minded people who are less virtual to me everyday. I have learned (oh how I have learned!) from each of you who has taken the time to stop here for a moment and give me a nod or a piece of your mind.

I readily acknowledge my strange niche in the world. In most cases, there is no owner of customer experience within an organization. While it’s a topic analysts love to discuss and all of us as customers appreciate, it is difficult to sell. Is that wrong to say? I’m sorry, but it’s true. Companies just don’t have the budget, the resources, the desire to invest in the experience. They typically think they’re doing it just fine, thankyouverymuch. It takes a special organization, an organization that is already customer-centric, ironically, to take the time to invest in the overall experience by hiring me. It takes an enlightened leader to step back and say, “We could be better.”

So how does someone like me find these enlightened leaders and special organizations? Social Media.

In just 18 months, here’s what social media has done for my business. My business of one person, juggling 2 kids, a home office, and a desire to help companies get it right with customers.

1. Via LinkedIn, a former client found me. She had since moved on to a new position in a new industry, remembered the work we did together, and looked me up. The amazing thing is how she and I were both with different companies, and she had not been my primary contact the first time around. This time, thanks to staying connected via social media, she reached out for a new project together – based on basically remembering my first name only!

2. Thanks to Facebook, I get to enjoy the writings and photos of friends-of-friends. In one case, I was able to hire someone based on a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

3. My favorite business story, of course, is finding one of my top clients. Using Tweetdeck, I have a few search columns set up all the time. One is “customer experience.” Last January, I spied a simple, yet life-changing, tweet: “Looking for help on a customer experience mapping  project. Suggestions?” It was that simple and straightforward. I started a dialogue. By the time we spoke on the phone, this client had read all my blogs, looked me up on LinkedIn, and basically trusted that I knew my stuff – THE FIRST TIME WE EVER SPOKE. So having them as a client this many months later is a powerful story on how Twitter does work, my friends.

4. While in Austin at SXSW, thanks to Foursquare I had a drink and caught up with former Chicagoan Jackie Huba. I was walking by the bar when I found she was there.

5. Finally, I cannot possibly list how many people entered my life thanks to social media in all its awesome forms. From my global domination partner Gini Dietrich to my high-school-friend-found-again Blair Klein to my SXSW IRL pal Tim Walker to so, so many more. I am inspired daily, sometimes moment by moment, by these amazing friends.

So, I’m a believer. I hope you are, too. And if you are an evangelist or a newbie, there are opportunities to jump in wherever you are and learn. If you’re in Chicago February 17th, Social Media Club’s Chicago chapter is hosting Amber Naslund, author (with fellow rock star Jay Baer) of The Now Revolution, and another Twitter-pal-turned-real-friend who I’m honored to know. Join us – register here.

Thanks for being part of this community with me! You make the water cooler more interesting every day.

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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