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Tracey Bray

Aegon UK

Head of Training And Development

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Book Review: Mastering story, community and influence – How to use social media to become a social leader


A recent IBM study of 1,709 chief executives around the world found that, although only 16% participate in social media today, some 57% are expected to do so within the next five years.

This jump is the result of CEOs starting to recognise that, in order to get their message out there, they are going to have to network in a social sense.
And if they are looking for support and guidance on how to do just that, they could do worse than pick up a copy of ‘Mastering Story, Community and Influence’ by Jay Oatway. The book provides guidance on how to create and manage your online presence through social media storytelling.
The author initially introduces the concept of a ‘socialeader’, which he defines as “someone who treats social media as a professional thought leadership tool, both for their own careers and the benefit of the company they work for”.
The argument is that, at some point, we are all going to be googled by a future employer, employee, client or investor who is looking for more information on who they are going to be dealing with. 
Whether you like it or not, people will and do write about you online so it is critical that you take charge of your online persona and presence. But this book aims to provide everything you need to know in order to do just that.
For example, reference is made to how social media can be employed to gather online information about your organisation and market. There are also hints and tips on how to generate customer loyalty and advocacy.
But the main focus is on how to build value in your online relationships and networks and how to recognise if what you are doing is working.
The author makes it clear that becoming a ‘socialeader’ takes sustained effort and real commitment, but if you are prepared to put the time in, you will reap the benefits.
Reviewer’s rating
This is an excellent introduction to social media for anyone who is interested or even just curious. Oatway has a conversational writing style, which makes it an easy read. 
This is a ‘how to book’ and, due to the wealth of information, I’d say that you’d be unlikely to read it from cover-to-cover. As a result, I think it could have been presented and structured better – for instance, the chapter headings fail to direct you adequately to the very practical suggestions that the book offers.
Having said that, I was still inspired to follow some of the advice provided.
I am in no way a technophile and don’t speak ‘computer’, but I have now added details about my blog to my CV and installed news-filtering apps on my smartphone in order to help me tweet more effectively. Therefore, I now almost sound as if I know what I am talking about and my twitter followers have doubled.
Because your online presence is only likely to grow in importance, if you want to know how to exploit it to the full, buy this book and give some of the ideas a go. It will help to make a positive difference.
  • This book was reviewed for us by Tracey Bray, head of training and development at life insurance and pension provider, Aegon UK.
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Tracey Bray

Head of Training And Development

Read more from Tracey Bray