BOOK REVIEW: Mastering story, community and influence: How to use social media to build your tribe By Jay Oatway

I’ve just written a review of this book for Professional Marketing magazine which will be published shortly. Whilst I bristled a little at the unusual, sound bite and social media speak, I did quite enjoy it once I got going and found it to be the sort of sensible, grown up book you need to read once you get past all those beginner guides explaining why and how you should use social media. Those who have attended my “Inbound Marketing and Social Media” courses will find it a useful next step.

Here are some of the elements I enjoyed which I did not have space to include in the review:


  • “The bottom line: to get more out of social media, you’ve got to put more in”
  • “Content isn’t king, but the conversation is”
  • “Sharing is the foundation of conversation, the foundation of social media and the foundation for all relationships”
  • “Dunbar (British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist) argued that gossip, in its broadest sense, is a ‘fundamental prerequisite of the human condition’”
  • “It’s less about the content and more about the social bonding”
  • “Master narrative – we are each part of not only our own stories, but also of a much bigger story”
  • “Some of the most influential people on social media are comedians”
  • “The same people who dismissed Twitter could hardly dismiss the value of knowing the needs, likes and desires of their key customers”
  • “Social media is about sustainability”
  • “We want relationships with people, not brands”
  • “Persuasive marketing has given way to ‘caring’ marketing”
  • “Woo with class”
  • “The new metric is that of influence”
  • “Look at any event based on passion and you will find influencers”


  • “Standard practice to open and verify all links to stories before I pass them on”
  • “Infographics create a lot of value going from data to information to knowledge”
  • “You need five things for a great ‘live show’ in social media – immediacy, personalisation, interpretation, authenticity and the ability to seize opportunities”
  • “The idea of a Centre of Excellence is to provide social media users in your company with on-going training, oversight and best practices”
  • “Aim for a ratio of about 1:20 – one story about your brand for every 20 other interesting stories you can share”
  • “Look for opportunities to connect live”
  • “The big five are: bloggers, professional groups, topic chats, aggregators and midfluencers”
  • “We must deposit before we withdraw – only ask for favours once you’ve established a relationship”
  • “The rules for social media presence include: immediacy, interpretation, personalisation, authenticity and opportunity”
  • “Start by mapping all the digital influencers in the community”
  • “Don’t let all the bright lights of becoming a minor weblebrity blind you to the little people who helped you rise to the top”
  • “Klout linked invitations that make sure no one with a Klout score of 40 gets through the door”
  • “Cocktail party etiquette prevails: wait for a chance to ask a good question or to offer some relevant insight”

I really liked the “hierarchy of social currency” – data leads to information, to knowledge, with creativity to innovation and with experience becomes wisdom. Three levels of identity (Bradley Horowitz) – identified, anonymous and pseudonymous – translated into your real life, your private life and your secret life.


  • Brand journalism – Trust and authentic brand related stories
  • EC=MC every company is a media company (Tom Foremski)
  • OIS – Online Influence Scores
  • Rickrolling – Link baiting to a Rick Astley video
  • Superfan – Loyal advocated who, if you treat them right, will be there to defend you in a crisis
  • Whuffie – Where our value is based on the quality of our contribution to a community (Coined by Cory Doctorow)
  • Zuckerberg’s Law – The volume of status updates and material each individual posts on Facebook has been doubling every year


  • Facebook users interact with 900 million objects
  • Facebook users trade 7 billion pieces of content each week – including 250 million photos a day
  • Studies have shown that there is a “prime time” for getting the most retweets (around 4pm EST)
  • According to Altimeter, 76% of social media crises could have been avoided with proper training and a better response process
  • Dunbar found evidence that the human brain is only capable of managing about 150 relationships (Dunbar’s Number).
  • “The sweet spot is between .6 and .8 (i.e. following between 600-800 for every 1,000 who follow you)”
  • Only 19% of Fortune 100 CEOs were on Facebook and only 13 were on LinkedIn

Useful sites and tools:

  • – Sharing music
  • BlogDash – Blog directory
  • CoTweet – Managing multiple Twitter accounts
  • – Analyse your network’s response
  • – Blog directory
  • Feedburner – Social proof widget
  • Flickr – Sharing photos
  • Flipboard – App to support news curating
  • Grouphigh – Blog directory
  • Hootsuite – Managing multiple Twitter accounts
  • Instagram – Sharing photos
  • Klout – Online influence score
  • Kred – Online influence score
  • Listourious – Twitter directory
  • PeopleBrowsr – Sophisticated social monitoring
  • Peer Index – Online influence measure
  • Pulse – App to support news curating
  • Radian6 – Sophisticated social monitoring
  • Soundcloud – Sharing music
  • Technorati – Blog directory
  • Tweetdeck – Managing multiple Twitter accounts
  • Twello – Social media directory
  • Twiends – Social media directory
  • Twitalyzer – Twitter analysis
  • Wefollow – Twitter directory
  • Zite – App to support news curating

The contents of Mastering story, community and influence: How to use social media to build your tribe are:

Part One – Story: Tell it well

1.         Why we must share

2.         A better story of you

3.         Social media is like a cocktail party

4.         On with the show

5.         Whose story is it?

6.         How to never run out of interesting things to talk about

7.         Don’t just tell. Perform!

Part Two – Community: Wowing your audience

8.         Finding your community

9.         Make you “story” feel more like a service

10.        Friend Relationship Management

11.        Friends in need

12.        Don’t be a social media snob

13.        Take it outside

Part Three – Influence: Pulling back the curtain

14.        What is influence?

15.        It’s true; Size does matter

16.        Solving the underpants problem

17.        All aboard the social train

It was also interesting to learn – near the end – that he has based much of the material upon the six weapons of influence in Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” which is one of my all-time favourite books. He also uses DISC as a way to recognise different types and respond appropriately.

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