Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Your digital presence tells the story of who you are – and what you are worth… so what should you be saying?

In a world overflowing with the noise of Facebook updates, tweets, blog posts, Pinterest pins and YouTube video responses, it’s difficult to connect with the people who matter most to your business and your career.


Mastering Story, Community and Influence explains the art of social media storytelling, showing you how to turn your offline expertise into the sort of online thought-leadership that cuts through the noise and attracts larger, more important communities.


Whether you’re new to social media or racing to keep up with every new platform, social media storyteller extraordinaire, Jay Oatway, reveals the underlying mechanics and best practices behind becoming a serious online influencer.


Mastering Story, Community and Influence will help you become an authoritative presence online and build both the reputation and community you need for your future success in the Social Media Era.





Introduction to Mastering Story, Community & Influence: How To Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader


There was a time not so long ago when a CEO would dictate his correspondence to his secretary. The notion that he type it himself would have been laughed at. Today, the modern  CEO is on his Blackberry all day. Tomorrow,business leaders will be the masters of their own social media empires.


This shift has already begun. Increasingly, business needs people who treat social media as a professional thought-leadership tool, both for their own careers and for the benefit of the company they work for. We want to do business with those who make social media feel less like mass marketing and more like customer service. We seek out those whose influence has grown through caring for their community.


The future needs Socialeaders. A Socialeader is someone who treats social media as a professional thought-leadership tool, both for their own careers and for the benefit of the company they work for. It’s someone who makes marketing feel more like customer service. It’s someone whose influence has grown through caring for their community. A Socialeader acts as a role model in the workplace, demonstrating how to use social media tools professionally.


Why should you care about your digital presence, or how much online influence you have, or whether you know how to build social capital among relevant social media communities? Simply, you will be socially and economically disadvantaged if you don’t.


An alternative economy is fast being built on top of social media. And those who ignore it, do so at their peril. Our digital presence tells a story of who we are.


At some point, you will be Googled, possibly by a prospective client, or by a new employer, or an investor. Over any matter of great importance, we will seek out more information on the person we are dealing with. We are being judged by what is found. But many of us have yet to try to close the gap between our offline reputations and our lack of online reputations.


Social media is clearly not a fad that will go away. We need to stop treating it like a child’s toy and start using it like a tool of power.


Even if you haven’t yet begun to take charge of your digital presence, there is already information about you online. You might not have placed it there, but anyone can find it. Why  leave it to chance what people find out about you? Why not take the steps towards working with social media to curate an impressive living breathing biography of your expertise and reputation? When that prospective client, or new employer, or potential investor does a search  for you, and one for your competition, who will look most promising? Shouldn’t it be you?


You can’t escape the fact that social media are reshaping the competitive landscape. Business competition studies are showing that those using social media are gaining advantage. Your boss is going to want this too. At some point, you are going to be expected to know how to use social media for business, just as you are expected to know how to use email or the telephone.


Resistance to this will not benefit you. Already you are missing out on deals, discounts and other free stuff reserved only for those with significant online influence. What is online influence? Think of it as having what it takes to get into an exclusive club. All of our social media activities are being monitored to judge their relative impact within online communities. If you can’t demonstrate that you have the influence it takes, then you can expect to wait a long time in the queue outside. Is that where you want to be? No, didn’t think so.


Socialeaders go straight to the VIP room. But you only get as good as you give. We need to begin to invest a significant amount of effort to mastering the new frontier. It’s more about investing in the people than it is about the technology. It’s not called social media for nothing. It has been said about this new technology that “The last mile is human.”


Socialeaders are part of that solution; you are the human that completes the transition to the new way the world operates. You can’t afford to be the last person to figure this out. The younger people in your company need leadership. They may be digital natives, but what they need is a digital role model to show them how to use social media as more than a toy.


Granted, it’s not easy keeping up with all the rapid developments in social media. I use the term social media purposely throughout this book as a generic stand-in for the hot services of the day, like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram. I’m well aware that social networks come and go.


But I’m also aware that no matter how much the social media landscape evolves, the underlying principles at work only become stronger and stronger. That’s what this book will explain so that, no matter what comes next, you understand the bigger picture of what needs to be done to be successful.


Social Currency, Social Capital and Social Credit in a Nutshell

There are three terms I use throughout this book to help explain what is happening in social media and to use it to get to become a Socialeader. They are: social currency, social capital and social credit.


Essentially, story is the currency of social media. Through the exchange of social currency you build up relationships. The value of these relationships is your social capital. Social capital works much like at a bank: it’s hard to withdraw more than the value you have already deposited. You can’t ask more from a relationship than you give to it, not if you want to maintain that relationship. Also like a bank, the longer you invest in relationships, even if the social currency is of only modest value, the more social capital you will have.


The bottom line: to get more out of social media, you’ve got to put more in.

Social credit, on the other hand, is often offered even when you don’t ask for it. It is born out of your online reputation (or, more likely, from a perception that you are someone important). It is when you are given the VIP treatment because your online presence is considered influential by someone who wishes to get on your good side. Social credit is a double-edged sword and must be handled carefully.







Jay Oatway is a tech-journalist who has become a regional leader in social media reach and influence. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader . And with more than 100,000 followers worldwide, along with close ties to social media’s most influential thought-leaders, Jay has been dubbed “Hong Kong’s answer to Twitter royalty” by Marketing magazine and ranked #22 on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers.


Jay now provides executive social media training on how to tell stories that captivate, how to grow communities that matters, and how to cultivate online influence that can deliver results. He is also co-founder of HKSocial, Hong Kong’s first Society of Social Business Best Practices.


Working as both a tech-journalist and digital strategist in Hong Kong since 1997, Jay has become the leading independent social media authority, speaking extensively to businesses and the media about harnessing the power of the new digital tools.




















Having attended and appreciated previous WMN events in Hong Kong, I was pleased to accept an invitation from WMN to speak on a panel last month for the Digital Confidence: How to Use Social Media to Enhance Your Career event.


I run a search firm, Trufflepig Search, focusing on searches for mid to senior level communications professionals for companies in the APAC region. Over the years as social media has changed from a niche interest to being an indispensable part of communications functions across industries, professionals keen on keeping up with all the new vehicles social media now affords for PR, marketing or advertising purposes, are dealing with several challenges.

Some questions that arise frequently are:

  1. How can digital/social media be integrated into existing functions?
  2. How can I keep up with all the new technology and new platforms?
  3. As a communications professional, does social media’s now permanent popularity mean I must use it personally as well as professionally and how can I leverage this to benefit my career?


WMN proposed a panel to answer all these questions and more.

Joining me on the panel were Jocelyn Liipfert, Head of Social Media at TBWA and Jay Oatway, digital consultant and author of Mastering Story, Community and Influence: How to Use Social Media to Become a Social Leader. With a few other co-organizers, Jocelyn, Jay and I organize #HKSocial – a popular monthly networking event focused on digital/ social media happenings in Hong Kong.


Jocelyn – whose career I’ve witnessed moving forward with leaps and bounds – shared her experiences creating a great professional niche for herself in the social media field and Jay provided clear insight into what tools he would advise professionals to focus on among the many choices available. Fielding questions from the gathered audience and sharing experiences, the event provided an excellent opportunity to have a transparent exchange of views between attendees and panelists. Meredith Oke of WMN facilitated the discussion excellently, keeping us all on track as we panelists love talking on these topics at length.

One of the questions I received was whether LinkedIn was a useful tool to promote oneself professionally.

My answer: In my experience as a headhunter, our researchers (as do I) use LinkedIn. It’s a tool to create a broad idea of potential talent. While I do post jobs there from time-to-time, we develop candidates more from reaching out to existing contacts and sources in our networks and developing specific research based on the job in hand that we are seeking to fill with the best possible talent. So, yes, while professionals who are keeping an eye out for new opportunities should certainly create and use LinkedIn profiles, it cannot be the only way, nor should it consume all your job seeking time. But if you are on it and want to be contacted, do make it easy for someone to contact you.


I hope everyone who attended enjoyed the panel as much as I did.



To learn more about Jay’s book and to read an extract, members can view this blog entry.