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Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust [Hardcover]

Chris Brogan , Julien Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Sep 2009
How to tap the power of social software and networks to build your business In Trust Agents, two social media veterans show you how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand′s influence, reputation, and, of course, profits. Today′s online influencers are web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships, using social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online. The book shows how people use online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can use those networks to positively impact your business. Because trust is key to building online reputations, those who traffic in it are "trust agents," the key people your business needs on its side. Delivers actionable steps and case studies that show how social media can positively impact your business Written by authors with over ten years of online media experience Shows you how to build and wield influence online to benefit your brand Combines high–level theory with practical step–by–step guidance If you want your business to succeed, don′t sit on the sidelines. Instead, use the Web to build trust with your consumers using Trust Agents.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (11 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470743085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470743089
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 544,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

There′s no question that the Internet has changed the way we do business—especially 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 will—unless 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 way—honestly, 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, and author of Reality Check

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you a Trust Agent? 13 Oct 2009
I have been following Chris Brogan on Twitter for over a year and I love his style and the information he imparts to the world. When I read his tweet that he was releasing his book Trust Agents (co-authored by Julien Smith) i was straight on to Amazon to order my copy.

Chris Brogan is ahead of the game, really at the forefront of social networking and using social media to grow influence. A Trust Agent is someone who spreads influence far and wide and someone who people look to for advice. You need to become a Trust Agent in your field of business. Chris shows us how to use the web and online tools to build our influence and spread it to a much wider audience. The traditional methods of promotion and advertising are losing their effective in the new world of web 2.0 - Trust Agents gives us the formula to succeed.

If you are reading this review you are probably already a bit of a Trust Agent. You probably "get it". Get what? That you can't go on shoving advertising down people's throats. You have to be more subtle - build trust, and once it's built keep it. That's real influence, that's being a Trust Agent.

Buy the book, have a read. You may already know and be using some of the advice in it but I can guarantee you that there's a lot of thought provoking material in it that you don't know. It's an easy read, it's not heavy and it's a great reminder of what is required to succeed in social networking. One of the problems people have is being consistent and having the patience to succeed. It takes a long time and dedication but it's good fun and opens doors. Reading this book will keep you right on track.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
As Chris Brogan and Julien Smith explain, "The idea for this book came out of our individual successes in achieving goals using the Web to work with people and out of our fascination with non-currency-based economies. We've taken what we've learned from our years as `digital natives' (people who have grown up inhabiting the various online haunts of the moment, combined with our understanding of games, people, and business as a whole, and followed it all up with information and ideas to help you better understand the mindset required to match these actions to your business needs." There seem to be at least two primary objectives that their book is intended to achieve:

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!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 22 April 2010
I've been reading Chris's Blog for a long time now. I was looking forward to read his book. I must say I feel a bit cheated.

Let's be fair, if you lived in cave for the last few years and never used any social media (facebook, twitter etc...) then this book might come handy.

I try to review books one or two months after reading them, just to see there was important things to learn. Unfortunetaley I can't remember anything good about this book. It's been very well marketed, during the launch you couldn't miss it.

The book has no structure whatsoever, it's hard to read and never know where the book is heading. You really see it's been written by two different people, the tone is confusing, there is no style.

It also feels like re-reading the same blog post all over the books but written differently. I've read a few books written by bloggers (Crush it, Escape Cubicle Nation, Power of Less, 4 hours week, Seth Godin, Tom Peters etc...) and have always been impressed by them, you can't write a book like a blog (and vice versa), you have to construct the argument, build it and give more details than just giving some general feelings on how you should use social media.

Overall I would say that social media is just using common sense, don't spam people and create useful content. I think Chris is losing it, I can see he's struggling to renew his topics on the blog, by writing this book he totally lost me.

Remember, social media is a tool, if you haven't got anything interesting to say it's not gonna help you.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself,
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.
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