Trust Agents

Trust Agents is written by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and is a book designed, by its subtitle about “Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust.” The book talks about how the world of marketing has changed markedly in the digital age we now live in. Trust agents aren’t marketers, but people who participate in the community, gain trust of those who follow them, and share ideas. And while all businesses do exist to sell something and make a profit, it really is about giving back more to the community than taking. They list six principles of trust agents:
1. Make your own game. Don’t follow what others are doing, but find what works for you. Try new ways of doing things. It’s important to think outside the box. It also means first movers have an advantage over those who stand back and wait to see how something will work out.
2. Be one of us. Be a part of the community, participate, and give to it. This one is really about not simply getting into a community with the goal of self-promotion. You can’t take from a community until you have given. I think this speaks a lot to the issue of people who just join the social media networks to spam about their products.
3. Use the Archimedes effect. Archimedes believed if he had a long enough level and a fulcrum on which to place it, he could move the world. It’s about leveraging your message.
4. Try to be Agent Zero. It’s important to grow your networks and recognize the value of those networks. Also in this step is the importance of connecting with good people and with different groups.
5. Become a human artist. Learn to truly connect with people and empower them. Those connections will come by listening to the community and being sure you hear what they are saying.
6. Build an army. None of us can do things alone. Much like Seth Godin’s book “Tribes,” this speaks to the value of collaboration when building a group of people who can focus on a common goal.

I have been following Chris Brogan’s blog for awhile now. I love it because he has good information and he is so down to earth. You get the feeling of sitting in the room with him and just having a chat. That could be because many of his blogs are actually video blogs where he is doing just that. His ability to connect with people is something I admire. I believe he has the points of being a trust agent down to a science.

The book is a reminder that all of the social media tools like Facebook and Twitter really are not about building business, but about building relationships. Without the relationship, you don’t get the business. I have long believed that and this book reinforced many of the things I feel already. It is interesting to note that these ideas do not just apply to business, but to our lives in general.

If you are looking for ways to connect in the new world of social media, I suggest you get “Trust Agents” and read it. There are some great ideas that you can apply to change how you do things.

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Filed under: Book Reviews

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