We can all go on in volumes about the virtues of trust, but when talking about your online presence, we really haven't delved into how important trust plays in establishing yourself. When’s the last time you bought a gadget, camera, computer, television without reading the reviews? How about a beauty product? A pair of shoes? Personally, I know that I rarely buy something without at least checking out the brand online, if not buying it based on reviews, or a testimonial from a blog post. Oddly enough, I think that says more about the value of trust than it does money… I don't trust companies but I do trust you. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s new book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust say in their new book, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.
With so many things competing for our attention, it has become the scarcest resource, having a positive reputation can make all the difference in the world in getting attention. These days building your blog, your community, your business relies heavily your reputation on how trustworthy you are, go figure, it works the same way in real life.
I bought the book last week, and unlike many other business books, Trust Agents makes a lot of sense, and a lot of it is common sense, though it’s surprising how many people enter the social media sphere not realizing it’s about community. In reality, the book might as well be titled ‘How to be a Nice Person’
Brogan and Smith did a great job of outlining just how to become a trust agent, how to build your community in a transparent and trustworthy way by mapping out the elements: being one making your own game (there’s loads of gaming history in this chapter… for someone non-gaming…yikes!), being useful, the value of making connections for other people, being human, and building an army. It really articulated what so many successful online people do inherently, and yet no one’s really put it all in one place quite like this.
This book isn’t a quick fix, it’s not a technology book, I found it to have timeless advice, like be useful and know good jokes (not imperative, but I like that!). Here are some of the main things I took from the book:
Be human– no one wants to be friends with a robot (unless they’re a ramen making robot)
The importance of being ‘one of us' – well, I've always believed in this, it's important to establish trust among your peers, having validation on this is nice.
Praise your competitors– it speaks volumes about your own confidence
Don’t suck up —bring people up- no one likes a suck up, and everyone is grateful to the ones who gave them a chance early in the game.
Promote other people 12 times as much as you promote yourself – We know people who don’t promote other ever… and we know what we think about them.
Your heroes, they just have more experience, now– It’s just a matter of getting as much of your own experience, to be a hero in your own way.
And there is so much more. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by reading this, like some of the more testosterone pumped marketing books I’ve come across, and I really loved the humility of the approach.
If this is where business is going, if it’s going down the more human route, the world is definitely going to be a better place, and it has my attention.
Well all know how important trust is in real life, but how important is trust to you online?