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Trust Agents - Do you or Are you?

Social Media is a strange beast - a nice, intriguing strange beast that is.

Take my "personal Librarian" Drew McLellan. How and when we 'met' I can't remember (90% chance is was through Liz Strauss, who I've 'met' years ago when I just started this Kiss2 blog around the same time the Z-list discussion happened).
When Drew reviews a book on his blog I've come to trust his recommendations and if I think if will suit our business practise there is a 95% chance I purchase the book. So too when I read this:   

Are you a trust agent? Do you need to be?

by Drew McLellan

Chris Brogan (one of social media's Godfathers) and Julien Smith, a trend analyst and expert on building communities have released a new book, Trust Agents

The subtitle pretty much tells you what to expect....using the web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust.  And that's exactly what the book focuses on. Sort of.

The book defines 6 characteristics of trust agents:

via www.drewsmarketingminute.com

And I wasn't disappointed.

Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust is a novelty IMHO, the way it is written is 'peculiar' - not your standard list or steps to take to become the object of the title. It's that gut-feeling so hard to describe Chris and Julien manage to explain with great examples and which reveals own experiences:

"Givers Gain" - or as they put it:

"That is what evolves naturally. If you act like a good citizen, and you feel like One of Us, the benefits arise without much thoughts - good things happen to good people."

Always my own first and foremost important tip on who to become a trust agent too:

Be passionate about giving!

My experience is this comes indeed natural to most popular trust agents. No hidden objectives.
Forums - mostly a forgotten subject in Social Media reports, discussions, books - are a great place to become known as a trust agent. It's done and doing wonders for our business, including multiple incoming links to our main website and FAQ blog (and even webshop). The links we place ourselves and because the forum owners trust us not to abuse the forum we are allowed this, although they have a strict non-advertising rule.


No hidden objectives: the forum members know we run a business; my twitter, blog and facebook, LinkedIn contacts/friends know I have a 'second career' in webmarketing.

Give unrelenting - don't expect gain. Now that's a strange mindset but the only one that works!
Give value and you will always gain.

In Chris and Julien's Trust Agents there is also a perfect question (page 200) that illustrates one of my pet-hates on no replies to emails or comments:

"You don't give blank stares to people who ask you questions, so why its digital equivalent?"

Thanks for another great recommendation Drew, you were - as always - spot on: Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith is a novel must read for anyone using Social Media to enhance his/her business - the right way.


Jen | UPrinting

I agree about the giving freely. It's too much to think about if you're counting favors anyway, and constantly checking if you're only giving enough to break even will just preoccupy you too much from giving even more. Plus, giving just genuinely feels nice! At least for me. Doesn't it feel wonderful to be genuinely good to other people?

Great post! I should check that book out.

Karin H.

Hi Jen

"Keeping score" is very tiring indeed - and absolutely not very effective. Can recommend the book full heartily, it is written with a givers gain attitude in mind ;-)

Karin H

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