Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust Hardcover – Aug 24 2009
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From the Inside Flap
There's no question that the Internet has changed the way we do businessespecially when it comes to marketing. Consumer environments are short on trust and populated by consumers who are cynical, savvy, and informed. Though it's easier than ever to reach your customers, it's less likely that they'll listen. Today, the most valuable online currency isn't the dollar, but trust itself.
At the same time, social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than your marketing messages ever willunless your business knows how to harness them. In Trust Agents, two social media veterans show you how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand's influence, reputation, and profits.
Trust agents aren't necessarily marketers or salespeople; they're the digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships. As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business's reputation. This book will show you how to build profitable relationships with trust agents, or become one yourself.
In an online world defined by its transparency, becoming a trust agent is no easy task, but once you've established your reputation, you can build influence, share it, and reap the benefits of it for your business. When you've learned a trust agent's secrets, your words can carry more power and more weight than any PR firm or big corporate marketing department.
Learn to use the power of the Web and social networks for your business now. Trust Agents gives you all the tools and strategies you need to do it the right wayhonestly, effectively, and profitably.
From the Back Cover
"Wow! Every once in a while you find a book that is asit up in your chair, take notes, tell your friends, change your lifebreakthrough. This is that book. No kidding, you can trust me."
—Seth Godin, author of Tribes
"Business success today is as much about therelationships you cultivate with consumers as it is about yourproducts or services; for us at GM, the power is in combining the relationship with customers with truly exciting, brilliantly designed, and superblyexecuted vehicles. Chris and Julien have written an excellent primer on how to navigate this new environment, and how to earn the trust of thecommunities upon whom we increasingly depend."
—Fritz Henderson, CEO, General Motors
"This book gives marketers permission to be human. In fact,it goes as far as suggesting it might be a benefit. Get it, read it, share it!"
—John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing
"The foundation of all great marketing—online or offline—is trust.This book explains how to gain people's trust and turn it into apowerful force. Brogan and Smith are hardworking guys whoknow how to use the Web's tools to build business."
—Guy Kawasaki, cofounder, Alltop.com and author of Reality Check
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
For futility will be his reward." -- Job 15:31
The online world spins out ever-increasing amounts of videos, images, words, and Web sites. There may be needles in the middle of all those haystacks, they are getting harder to find.
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith look at this circumstance from the perspective of someone trying to create or improve a business and pose the useful question: How can you become and remain the person who is trusted most in your area of expertise? From there, you follow an exciting journey through lots of good stories and little tips that clarify how you can operate more effectively in the online world.
Here are my paraphrases of some of the key principles:
1. Use continuing business model innovation to create ways to develop and share useful information in ways that delight people with their novelty, freshness, and value.
2. Be viewed as someone who is just like the audience, not someone with a hidden agenda, a lot of arrogance, or a phony.
3. Energize online communities by providing them with choices they like from a point of authenticity.
4. Build genuine, positive relationships by seeking to provide value for everyone you interact with.
5. Be considerate.
6. Assemble large numbers of people to work toward a common purpose while meeting their needs.
I was impressed that the authors appreciate that the way to do these things will continually change, but the principles will probably remain the same. It's a useful book from that perspective. Most people who write about the online world assume it will always be like it is today . . . and optimize on things that don't last.Read more ›
1. To help their readers become "trust agents." That is, "power users of the new tools of the Web, educated more by way of their own experiences and experiments than from the core of their professional experiences, [and who] speak online technology fluently."
2. To help their readers think more strategically, to understand certain principles much better, and to master the aforementioned "new tools" to build influence, share influence, "and benefit from the other currencies that such exchanges of trust" deliver to them.
I appreciate Brogan and Smith's skillful use of reader-friendly devices such as "ACTION" sections throughout the narrative that serve two separate but related purposes: they emphasize key points and suggest how to apply them. For example:
"Build a Listening Station" (Pages 11-12)
"Start Figuring Out the Rules...Everywhere!Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It might not be a bad book if you're new to social media, but if you're experienced you're basically going to hear the same old stuff with different jargon. Then again, if you're new to social media you're much better off reading Groundswell. You'll get plenty of interesting supporting data there rather than anecdotal evidence of why certain strategies work.
People will believe what tends to conform to their own social circles and the people that they trust. Generally, we trust our friends. And on the web, those friends can be everywhere. The ones who set out to gain our trust are called "Trust Agents." "Trust agents use today's web tools to spread their influence, faster, wider, and deeper than a typical company's PR or marketing department might be capable of achieving, and with more interest in people, too. We need to become them and harness them...A Trust Agent builds networks almost reflexively by being helpful, by promoting the good work that others do, by sharing even their best stuff without hesitation, and by finding ways to deliver even more value on top of all that without asking for anything in return."
Business needs to cultivate its Trust Agents, some of which will be under company control, most of which will not. Personally, so do we all. I recommend this book for everyone, both business and personal.
I've had a Facebook account for almost 2 years now. I thought that it was a great way to reunite with old friends and find out what they have been doing over the years, but I didn't care too much to know that they were going to the mall, watching a movie with friends, or changing their children's diapers; Nor, did I care to let my friends know what I was doing at every second of every day. The constant barrage of status updates and invitations were of no value to me, and quite honestly annoying. Time is what I value most in life, and I was not about to waste it.
I purchased Trust Agents on the recommendation of bloggers that I admire, and upon reading the first few pages I was met dose of reality: I have been wasting time for 2 years. Whether you like it or not, social media is the new revolution in communicating and getting things done. Relationships that you build through major social networking sites are not empty; Rather, they are an amazingly effective way of gaining knowledge, building your professional reputation, and creating an army of like-minded individuals that can help you to syngergistacally achieve your goals.
cover to trust agents for the book review
Relationships Are the New Market
Before the social media, entrepreneurs and big businesses marketed themselves like battering rams at the gates of your potential patronage. They would hammer away via commercials and advertisements that told you of their greatness and how you needed their product like a fish needs water. Now, these same people - through the advent of social media - are no longer high and mighty intelligentsia looking for a buck, but are like-minded individuals in the same boat as the rest of us. Producer and consumer now have a new relationship of sorts - one of pseudo-friendship (and sometimes real friendship).
By taking social media seriously, within a matter of 2 weeks I have connected with several successful entrepreneurs and business professionals that I would have never communicated with before such as Guy Kawasaki (who folows me on Twitter. How sweet is that?), Jun Loayza, Jenny Blake from Google, and others. Under old media marketing, these folks would view me as a potential sale. But under the new social media there is a relationship of mutual purpose, respect, and a sense that we need each other to achieve our goals. Would I buy products from these people, almost without hesitation. However, it is not because they convinced me of how great their gadget was, but because I trust them.
Getting Things Done Via Social Media
The beauty of social media lies in its efficient means of simultaneous action by multiple individuals. Since reading Trust Agents, I have had a variety of instances in which I have been able to leverage the knowledge and actions of others to do things that would otherwise take hours or even days. Whether it is requesting book recommendation or asking friends to take action on a particular project of mine, the results have been astounding. For example, just this week I sent an email to my pastor asking if I could redesign his parish's shabby website. After I sent off the email, I let my friends know what I had done. I now have a multitude of very persuasive God-fearing ladies poised to mention to pastor the that the Church's website needs a facelift, and that they know just the guy that can do it.
Overall, the book is a great introduction to the power and the possibilities of social networking. I highly recommend it to anyone, who like me at one point, finds the whole concept confusing or not worth using. Like those who witnessed the birth of radio and television and refused to take advantage of their respective potential, those who ignore the new social media will find themselves one day chasing after a wagon that long left them behind.
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