Trust Agents has been on my "to-read" list because I feel that trust has become an even more important success factor for businesses with the globalization of the economy and the advent of social media. We are in an era where people are more often doing business without ever meeting in person. To me, trust is key for this leap of faith. Or in Chris's words, "Trust is the new currency in social media."
Chris said some things that resonated with me. For example, he asked us to "bring humanity back into what we are doing." To illustrate how we've gotten away from this, he brought up an example of someone being grateful to get an @reply* directly from Chris on Twitter. "Really?" Chris lamented. Expressing disappointment that an @reply is a surprise rather than commonplace. He suggested @replying more often to connect with people and comment on what they are saying. I used to shy away from @replies for fear I was muddying things up for my followers but now realize its importance as a way to connect my followers to other great people.
Here's my top 10 list of more great tidbits I learned from @chrisbrogan for businesses trying to build trust and use social media more effectively:
- 30/60/30 rule: Spend 30 minutes of listening, 60 minutes of connecting, 30 minutes of publishing per day.
- Ask provocative questions: Ask your customers questions that will provoke honest and useful feedback such as, "How much do you think we suck?"
- Grow bigger ears: Meaning, really LISTEN and use tools that can help you do so (examples, Radian6, SAS, Crimson Hexagon).
- Use LinkedIn: Spiff up that LinkedIn profile because, surprisingly, more people are using it than you think! Update your status but filter your twitter feed with #in so you don't muddy up the LinkedIn status with your foursquare check-ins to Walgreens!
- Connect globally: Make connections with those you are making repeat contact with outside of your industry and geography.
- Really serve your customer: Instead of shamelessly promoting your product or service, talk about the things that enhance your product for your customer.
- Do things other people are afraid to do: For example, talk about the competitor's product when its better than yours. What a way to build trust and perhaps partnerships down the road!
- Email still rules: Use email marketing tools (Blue Sky Factory, Constant Contact, My Emma) but don't just use it to sell your products. Provide useful content and stun readers with a personal style letter now and again.
- Go where your customer hangs out: Find your customers favorite social media "hangouts" to maximize your use of SM using tools like Rapleaf or create a special space and build the community.
- Let people "Like" you: Add the Facebook "Like" button to your blog and website to increase traffic.
What are you doing to build trust with your customers and followers?
* For non-twitter users, an @reply is when you tweet directly to someone's Twitter username. It's like a sending a short, public email message. However, your followers will only see it if they also follow that other person's tweets and vice versa. However, if you go to any given person's twitter page, you can see all the @reply messages they've sent.