Chris Brogan is a new friend I met earlier this year. I’ve read his highly informative blog for years, of course, but I had the opportunity to speak with him on the phone recently, and found that he was a generous, down to earth soul in addition to being smart as a whip.
Chris and Julien Smith, who have both taken to the social media space as a native habitat, decided to write a book, Trust Agents, about how you can use social networks to build your brand’s equity and reputation and ultimately sell more product. This has been done before, but Chris and Julien zero in on the concept of influence and trust, advising us readers to develop an active network of “trust agents.”
Today’s consumers are a cynical and ultra-informed bunch. Trust agents have figured out how to communicate with and engage them using authentic online interactions. They bring the inhuman concept of a corporation down to the level of a one-on-one relationship. They give freely of their time and expertise and are always looking to deliver value. People listen to them and afford them miles more credibility than your PR and marketing folk. You want them to be your friends because they can make or break your organizations’ reputation in an Internet minute.
Chris and Julien, who are Trust Agents themselves, combine theory and case studies with practical guidance and action steps to show readers how to become a Trust Agent and build profitable relationships with other Trust Agents. While I found Trust Agents compelling, its most powerful recommendation probably comes from the success of last week’s launch. Using the concepts they extol in the book, Chris and Julien marshaled their online community to promote and purchase Trust Agents and achieved New York Times bestseller status in a matter of hours. “You did this,” they praised their community. “All we did was write.”