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Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust Paperback – August 23, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The revised and updated edition of the breakthrough bestseller

Trust Agents has been widely acclaimed for its new approach toonline marketing. Now, in this revised and updated edition, social media veterans Chris Broganand Julien Smith show you how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand'sinfluence, reputation, and profits. Combining high-level theory and practical advice, they deliveractionable strategies and real case studies that show how social media can positively impact your business. Let Trust Agents give you the keys to building customer loyalty online so your business can succeed in new markets and channels today!

Praise for Trust Agents

"Wow! Every once in a while you find a book that is a sit up in your chair, take notes, tell yourfriends, change your life breakthrough. This is that book. No kidding, you can trust me."
Seth Godin, author of Tribes

"Social media may be a phenomenon, but it's not a fad. It has forever changed the waycompanies communicate with their customers. Trust Agents is the blueprint for doing it right."
David B. Thomas, Social Media Manager, SAS

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Help for Your Marketing & PR Strategy
Read excerpts (PDF) from five top social media and marketing books to kick start your marketing and PR strategy: The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Content Rules, Inbound Marketing, UnMarketing, and The End of Business as Usual.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (August 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470635495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470635490
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to reading this book as I work in social media and highly respect the authors. I'm always weary of reviews of social media books because, let's face it, in general the authors know more about reviews/ratings and how to manipulate them more than authors of other books. Anyway, I was very disappointed in Trust Agents. I felt that it was similar to other social media books in that the authors are trying to create catch phrases or buzz words (e.g. "trust agents") being that this is a new industry and creating a buzz phrase is a great marketing tactic. Despite the book's description, this is more of a theoretical book and does not offer practical advice that can be used at the tactical level.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I've met Chris Brogan several times (who is impressive in person despite a penchant for thinking that foul language is cool), and I have a great admiration for Seth Godin, who enthusiastically praises and endorses this book. Trust Agents is well-written, and the authors certainly are leaders (i.e., trust agents) in social media. The problem is that the book reflects a disturbing philosophical shallowness within our society, as well as a mindless pursuit of celebrity. Hey, it's a good book, and worth reading, but there is nothing profound within the covers. Trust Agents glorifies the current trend toward acquiring great quantities of snippets of relationships, and assumes that the value of quantity over quality in our relationships is the appropriate focus. Yes, this acquisition probably is the most effective means for business success now, however it ignores a fundamental destruction of the true fabric of our humanity. I am surprised that Seth Godin praises this book so highly, since it has so little to do with relationship quality, excellence, and the pursuit of remarkability.
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Format: Hardcover
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith say they set out to write a business book. "Perhaps you've been noticing that the older approach to marketing, PR, advertising, business communication, and other activities on the web aren't pulling as well as they used to...Trust Agents is the answer to the question: `What do I do now?'" Eventually, it suggests that its message can be more broadly applied. "You will get the job you want without a resume. This book will teach you how....By the way, this works with talking to attractive members of the opposite sex, too." And finally, at the end, "Though we've written the book to be a business book about using the web, the skills of a trust agent relate to many offline possibilities." Disclosing this so late may have been intentional. Or, seeing how the narrative develops, perhaps it was something the authors realized only after the whole thing had been written. Regardless, they're absolutely correct.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Why Bother with Social Media

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.
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