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“The human mind is not a terribly logical or consistent place.”

— Jim Butcher, Turn Coat

People just love to be “in the know”. But you already knew that, right? We all do. But how does it work, “to be in the know”? In essence, for you to be on the “inside”, there also has to be an “outside”. This makes in-the-know marketing techniques somewhat tricky; most companies really don’t want to shut […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 16.20.47People just love to be “in the know”. But you already knew that, right?

We all do.

But how does it work, “to be in the know”?

In essence, for you to be on the “inside”, there also has to be an “outside”.

This makes in-the-know marketing techniques somewhat tricky; most companies really don’t want to shut any potential customers out.

But truth is — sometimes you really should create an “outside” by design:

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So, there you are, preparing to pitch some A-list journalists and online influencers for your company. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. In other words: You. As you’re compiling your media list, you can hear your colleagues’ voices echoing in the back of your head: “Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome if we […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

So, there you are, preparing to pitch some A-list journalists and online influencers for your company. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

In other words: You.

As you’re compiling your media list, you can hear your colleagues’ voices echoing in the back of your head:

“Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could get [your choice of tier-1 media here] to cover our new line of products?”

“Yeah, totally,” everyone agrees.

And your boss says, “Yeah, we should definitely make that happen!”

As in we still meaning … you. And now you’re trying to come up with a way for your company to get featured. But maybe there’s a better way? If so, it could save you from the humiliation of pitching even when you know it won’t work.

But how?

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The other day I was thinking about leadership and thought it would be fun to jot these thoughts down for safe keeping, maybe to remind myself or to inspire a fun discussion somewhere.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

This is a blog about digital PR and not a blog about leadership. Still, I’ve picked up a few things here and there on the subject.

My leadership insights, such as they are, tend to be of  different kind than the typical strategies you might read about elsewhere. For some reasons unknown to me, my insights seems to lean towards … the darker side of things.

Here goes:

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Social media experts can be blamed for a lot of things, for sure. But we can't take the heat for everything anyone with an online following is doing — or saying.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

One. People come up with cracks on self-proclaimed social media experts.

Two. Some influentials get emotional when people dismiss their talents.

Three. Then people laugh and bully and then they laugh some more.

Four. Soon, someone comes along explaining the word “expert”… duh.

Five. People loose themselves in whimsy meta discussions.

As the ball gets rolling, which it does at at least once every year, it follows a strict narrative that’s both easy to follow and to predict. But each and every time I wonder; aren’t people worried that someone out there with half a brain will think that they’re just plain stupid?

Probably not.

Everyone thinks they’re smart, everyone thinks that they’re opinions are not only important, but that they have merit and substance, too. If someone calls them out, well… then they have to be stupid, right?

Standard reptile brain conclusion.

It’s human nature.

I don’t mind all that much really, if nothing else it makes for valuable data that can be harvested and analysed for companies who wish to have their products and services landing well in this highly irrational landscape.

But it concerns me that so many people doesn’t seem to be the slightest bothered that they out themselves as complete buffoons.

No, I’m not taking sides in the “social media expert” debate. Both sides does on rare occasions present one or two substantial arguments. But mostly, they don’t.

Here’s a good analytical filter that you can use.

Distinguish between these three groups:

Social Media Pundits

Social Media Naturals

Social Media Experts 

All three groups can have a massive following online. All three can be so-called A-listers. And all three have truckloads of advice for you.

But the social media pundits have earned their following by talking. They are often very witty, opinionated and rhetorical and they do often bring a serious entertainment value to the scene. They’re drawn to current topics where there’s a lot of heated discussion going on.

The social media naturals are just great at online networking. The same way some people are great at public speaking or convincing on the phone, some has just discovered their preferred medium in social. They’re simply talented in using social media for themselves and it comes very easy for them.

The trait of social media experts is that they bring you value, and they listen to you. You follow them not because you feel that you should be best friends, nor because they’re funny as hell.

Experts are followed because they help people, expertly.

And here’s the problem:

People mistake social media pundits and social media naturals for social media experts. And both of these two groups love the attention, so instead of bringing any clarity to the discussion, they tend to add more wood to the fire just for the sake of it.

In short: Social media experts can be blamed for a lot of things, for sure. But we can’t take the heat for everything anyone with an online following is doing — or saying.

So, if you’re in the mood for throwing some stones, how about practicing some aim first?

Trying to scale social media marketing won't work, but tapping into several different and pre-existing interest group systems does.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Most of you know Dunbar’s Number. It’s the idea that each and everyone of us has a limited social bandwidth:

“Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. […] No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150. Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.”

As we entered the industrial society, family- and tribe sizes decreased. Paired with the acceleration of mass media, celebrities started to play an even more significant role in our lives. The theory holds up for average persons, but how does it works for the celebrities and/or influencers themselves? The strange mass media phenomenon is that certain individuals tends to be a part of many people’s tribes, but without reciprocity. The relationship simply doesn’t have to be mutual, a pretty cynical new world order indeed.

However, in a social media world where you can walk into an old classmate in the streets, an individual who you haven’t physically met or spoken to in decades, but you can still know that that person actually went on a spectacular vacation last week. Because you’ve seen the pictures on Facebook.

Moreover, I would say I do know 150 people that I’ve spent time with over the years. But I also know 150 colleagues that I’ve had. I would say I know 150 people from the PR industry. And 150 people who are social media naturals. How does this work? I love this simple model by Viil Lid, PhD candidate in Communication & Information Sciences at University of Hawaii:

When I’m asked what makes the “social media revolution” so special, I always say that never before in human history have we seen human groups forming at such speeds, almost totally independent of demographic factors. It’s the multiplication of Dunbar’s Number at the interest group level.

Now, Victor Hugo famously said that there’s no army in the world who can measure up to an idea which time has arrived. As social connections are reciprocal in a multitude of low-friction interest groups, ideas are simply traveling faster from individual to individual. However, this effect is so massive, that many are fooled into describing rapids spreads as “viral”. However, viral spreads implies social scaling, but the only actual scaling that takes place is the forming of intricate layers of interest group relationships, like a central nervous system in which signals can travel.

What makes the effects of digital spread show likeness to viral infections are the fact that there are boundary spanners, individual nodes who has existing relationships in several different types of interest networks.

For each of these networks, Vil Liid once again shows us a powerful infographic that I’ve been using on several of the seminars I’ve given:

So one question is, how many “Dunbar Number Interest Tribes” can a single individual sustain? If we dig deeper into this question, we soon must determine the strength of the bindings between individuals. Interestingly enough, we see Dunbar’s Number once again functioning as a divider of the two largest groups in terms of social penetration.

For social media marketing, this explains:

  • Social doesn’t scale, but tapping into several different and pre-existing interest group systems does
  • Spread is dependent not primarily on volume exposure, but on niche social incentives
  • What you expect from an individual depends on their layer of engagement, not their demographics

But a word to the wise: Keep a holistic approach to scaling in social media. If you’re creating a campaign, it’s important to cater to the inner circles for sure, but don’t forget the outer circles. Because your brand needs to be relevant to them as well.

I use Seth Godin’s model to explain why:

The funnel can be seen as a way of describing Lid’s models above, but what I like about this model is that it makes it clear that there’s a journey from the periphery to the center. You start any relationship, whether to an individual or a brand, by being a stranger. Not every stranger becomes a friend and the deeper the relationship, the bigger the gravitational effort is required.

So your social media strategy really needs to not only cater to the fans, but also converting strangers into the funnel. But not any strangers, because if you attract the wrong interest groups, then you will be on a path to turning your brand into something that won’t be good for business.

This also explains why true passion and authenticity serves as shortcuts to success, why sharing is caring and good for business. But the über-smart digital strategists are also making their way in this new climate; not by scaling social or going for viral, but by understanding the dynamics of social psychology in leveraging data-driven marketing strategies.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, 10 Myths About Introverts, where I highlighted another interesting blog post that I had come across. Today, Erik Lindenius pointed me towards this great TedTalk from the author Susan Cain. I think her video is worth a watch, not just because I’m an introvert myself, but […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, 10 Myths About Introverts, where I highlighted another interesting blog post that I had come across. Today, Erik Lindenius pointed me towards this great TedTalk from the author Susan Cain. I think her video is worth a watch, not just because I’m an introvert myself, but because this is important also on a societal scale.


(If you can’t see the video, try this link.)

I can very much relate to this. In group meetings, especially in school, I often did something else inside my head while the others talked and talked. If I knew the people in the session, and if I knew their agenda, then I had already played out the entire conversation in my head before even going into it. And afterwards, it always landed on me to do something with all the madness… sorry, information. (I even developed a method for surviving brainstorming sessions.)

What amazes me about my industry in particular, consulting on communications, is that so few expensive consultants take their time to think. Ask yourself, how many times a day do you stop what you’re doing to think real hard for at least five minutes? Or when presented with a problem, how many minutes do you take for deep thinking before making your decision?

If you’re too quick, chances are that you’ll think that there are no solution. When most people say that they can’t think of a solution, they really just forgot the ‘thinking’ part.

Have you ever spent one whole hour consumed by a single line of thought? It’s pretty damn hard and most people can’t even do it. But some of us have no problem with this. I have no problem focusing on my breathing and nothing else a whole class of yoga. My problem is that it is too easy and I end up adding challenges, like counting the seconds.

On that note, I think there’s something to be said about challenges, about outer stimuli. Introverts too love outer stimuli very much, because it gives us a wealth of information to process. But if you take away the processing, you take away the fun. And if nothing else, at least that should be respected.

Back in 2008, I described the social web as the Hippie Web. Some people thought that was funny, especially those who also thought that some of the evangelist reactions was a little bit too… enthusiastic. To give you an idea, here’s a list of some not too uncommon mindsets we’ve gotten used to: 1. “Wow, […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Back in 2008, I described the social web as the Hippie Web.

Some people thought that was funny, especially those who also thought that some of the evangelist reactions was a little bit too… enthusiastic.

To give you an idea, here’s a list of some not too uncommon mindsets we’ve gotten used to:

1. “Wow, we can connect with each other on a digital level, that’s radical, man!”

2. “Everything is open to everyone at anytime—welcome to Nirvana, dude!”

3. “You must open up your power chakras… sorry, I meant activate your social graphs, people!”

4. “I accept all friend requests and I firmly believe that we all should. All you need is love!”

5. “Yay bro, nice going. You just posted a tweet, and look—it got retweeted. It’s the universe paying it forward!”

6. “Don’t say ‘IRL’ because what is reality, really? Neo bro, it’s the question that drives us!”

7. “I have thousands of followers. I wouldn’t call myself Jesus or anything, but I guess I don’t really have to, right?”

8. “Yes, we have gatherings and everyone is welcome. Word to wise—don’t ever use your real name!”

9. “Oh no, why did you shave and cut your hair? And where’s your scarf? No disrespect, but you look corporate, dude!”

10. “I met a real company yesterday. They have nooo idea what’s going on. They asked for help and I said ‘Join the revolution, baby’ and walked away. Far out, right?”

You see my point?

I think it’s time to declare the Hippie Web… D-E-A-D.

No-one will miss this psychedelic wonderland — except for the hippies of course. And frankly, I strongly suggest we let them get cyber stoned on their own dime from now on.

The original pioneers, the glossy online fashionistas with their daily outfits and their parties and VIP invitations, they are already negotiating with their agents regarding their latest corporate collaborations.

And the successful ones are probably making more money than ever. What they can’t get from ad revenues, giveaways and freebies, they get from starting their own online businesses.

And while the hippies where sitting in camp fire circles singing Kumbaya, the corporations packed their gear and went out on the field of battle. Bruised and scarred, they returned with tons of real experience which they’re now deploying in a massive scale.

As we move on to more serious activities and plunge into business ventures, professionalism, sophisticated strategies and even more advanced technologies, just let me say this in honor of this bygone era:

Let’s never forget that the bottom line is all about one thing and one thing only — human beings. So let’s hang on to that.

Peace out!

I'm an introvert and I'd like to see all myths about introverts debunked. Because most people simply have the wrong idea about us.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

What if social media naturals aren’t all that social?

In my experience, most online influencers are somewhat introverted by nature. Being an introverted personality myself, I can relate.

However, there are lots of misconceptions about what it means to be an introvert.

Therefore, I was glad to find the book The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D.

And from there I found Carl Kingdom, who based on Laney’s book has compiled a list of ten widely spread myths about introverts:

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Instead of shaking our heads at time wasted playing games, we should embrace the ramification trends and better understand the games we play.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

I got my hands on my first gaming computer around the age of 9, a C64.

Since then, I’ve been fascinated by digital communication. I probably fit in somewhere in between the digital natives and the digital immigrants.

Speaking of — I recommend this educational survey on understanding digital natives.

And, f you read Swedish, read this post by me about why digital social networks are creating meaning and a framework for interpreting the world, and then read what psychography expert Mattias Östmar has to say about my article and his theory of different levels.

Life As A Game Of Flow

Life is a game, and the game could be about beating the system for a greater good.

Or maybe a worthy cause just because it’s challenging and barely possible. Remember the cult flick War Games, anyone?

Anyone familiar with the concept of flow will se what I mean.

Games create perfect artificial environments for real flow; challenges not too big too overcome, not too small to be too easily overcomed.

Take this into account when watching Jane McGonigal discussing how game stimuli acctually can be turned into making this world into a better place:

And this goes beyond multiplayer online platform games as World of warcraft and social in-Facebook games like Farmville.

Enterprises all over need to take these new realities into account:

The era of the passive consumer is coming to an end, and it does so very quickly.

If you read Swedish, you can read Dagens Media recently on digital natives passing on traditional media, for one of many examples on how the digital shift are affecting business and marketing.

Because games have some distinct advantages over our analogue lives.

They challenges us.

Social is great and all, but social isn’t just hugging and conversations. Social is tribal hierarchy.

And we are very consciuos about social status — we’re rather heroes and adventurers in fake world than being bored in some real one.

Games Breaking Into Reality

But how close are the games to break into our reality?

Listen to Jesse Schell discussing this:

Every generation has shaken their heads at the ideas of the younger generation.

“Will everything turn into one big game now? Will we gather points at the breakfast table, really? How silly!”

Please don’t do that. Please – don’t turn into our parents’ generation.

If a gamer spend just as much time mastering games as he or she spends in school (watch the Jesse Schell talk at 19.30 min), then why not take the best from each world and combine it?

Because the gamers are bulls-eye on one crucial point:

Fun is just better than boring.

Updated: Wisdom from Ogilvy – Why I’m frustrated with mainstream coverage of social games

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Will there be superbrands also in the future? Will we see the Coca Cola’s, the McDonald’s, the Apple’s, or the Google’s in a future where the total brand experience will be more personal and digital than ever before? It’s a reasonable question, I think. The scope of the horizontal conversations and the speed of group […]

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

Will there be superbrands also in the future? Will we see the Coca Cola’s, the McDonald’s, the Apple’s, or the Google’s in a future where the total brand experience will be more personal and digital than ever before?

It’s a reasonable question, I think. The scope of the horizontal conversations and the speed of group formation doesn’t even begin to compare with anything we have ever seen in human history in that respect. Everything becomes individualized, personalized, diversified, distributed, and disrupted.

Scattered.

At the same time we look upon the giants. Honestly, do we really see Apple or Google employees participating in the so hyped online conversation in the future? One might argue that conversational marketing is nothing but binary cosmetics, and when push comes to shove, that it is all about the products and the services. Others might argue that these supernova brands don’t have to state their case – their ambassadors is doing it for them.

I would argue, that it comes natural for us as a species to state our independence and uniqueness as individuals, but when it comes to our everyday lives, our day-to-day existence, then we’re just creatures of habit.

Google are an amazing company and an amazing superbrand, but what would they be without the millions of people using their search engine? Every single innovation and long-tail line extension of the Google brand is part of an on-going forward motion, but mainly so because it reinforces the user’s habits.

Tell me, how often do you google something? How often do you listen to your Ipod?

You and I and everyone – we are creatures of habit, mainly so since not everything can be a rational decision.That’s why it’s so easy for me to grab lunch at a McDonald’s restaurant I’ve never visited before, even though there might be local fast food around the corner which would mean a new experience.

And that’s also why we will have superbrands in the future. And that’s how online brand conversations also in the future will add indirectly to the habitual behaviour or emotional triggers that connotes to the brand’s core business. Or put in another way: Our mental bandwidth has limitations, and more channels won’t change the number of brands that we actually relate to in any given moment.

First published on the Superbrands Nordic blog.