Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust
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Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,725 ratings  ·  117 reviews
How to tap the power of social software and networks to build your businessIn "Trust Agents, " two social media veterans show you how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand's influence, reputation, and, of course, profits. Today's online influencers are web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships, using social media to accrue the inf...more
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by John Wiley & Sons (first published April 3rd 2009)
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Content Rules by Ann HandleyGroundswell by Charlene LiSocial Media for the Executive by Brian E. Boyd Sr.Trust Agents by Chris BroganTribes by Seth Godin
Top Social Media Marketing Books
4th out of 67 books — 58 voters
The Art of Influencing Anyone by Niall CassidyInfluence by Robert B. CialdiniSecrets of Closing the Sale by Zig ZiglarThe New Power Base Selling by Jim HoldenTargeting Success, Develop the Right Business Attitude to be ... by Lorii Myers
Best Sales & Marketing Books
21st out of 86 books — 76 voters

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Hiten Samtani
Social media superstar Chris Brogan and digital media maven Julien Smith take a stab at the very complex issue of 'Trust' in this widely-lauded book. Unfortunately, it failed to resonate with me.

Usually if a book doesn't impress me, I don't write about it. You'll notice that most books I bother to review, I rate them at 4 and above.They've made a difference to me, and I want to share them with others. Scathing reviews are best left to professionals, my time is better spent writing about books th...more
Chris Brogan
Jun 04, 2009 Chris Brogan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: businesspeople and marketers
I'm the author. I can't really review this, can I? I think it's pretty darned awesome. It's coming out at the end of August. I'd love to talk with you about it if you read it and/or like it. Heck, if you hate it, let's talk about that, too.
This book is a how-to/handbook for getting traction online. I'm not sure I want to be so popular, but I guess the thinking behind why I should read this book is to get ideas for how to make my employer popular online.

Of course the "real" reason I bought (!) and read the book is because I like Chris Brogan, his blog and his attitude, which is the point of the book (be nice and people will like you and spread your message).

Page 190 "Words comprise only 7% of what is being communicated. Thus, thos...more
Trust Agents fascinated me from the beginning, not just for the subject matter but the community that the authors were busy building around it months before it came out.

I was so charmed by the book's Facebook fan page -- in which Chris and Julien asked questions, sparked off conversations and made the dialogue about other people as much if not more than their product -- that I ended up buying a second copy just because I liked and trusted them.

So the marketing for the book became a demonstrat...more
Wow. The weird thing is that "The Matrix" (the first one) was on today. Then when I picked up the book later, I was thinking: Weird, it's almost like The Matrix. And, wouldn't you know it (foreshadowing) Brogan refers to the Matrix. I think our world's about to change. Again.

Got to hear Chris in person last week and was awed by a guy some may think of as a mere blogger. Mere bloggers don't generate the kind of following that Chris does - well maybe the "kind of following" but definitely not the...more
A great book for a narrow audience. It is not basic enough for those just starting to get their head around the net and too basic for those who have been living in it, but is PERFECT for those who have been sitting around in the shallow end. This book may not show you step by step what do on the social web, but it really helps you refine who you want to be.

My only real "complaint" about the book is that I happen to be a regular reader of Chris' blog and am familiar with his voice, so it was occ...more
Doug Vanderweide
May 13, 2010 Doug Vanderweide rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in how to act in social media
This book, in a nutshell: Don't "sell" online; be helpful. Don't expect to see directly measurable monetary results from social media efforts. Don't expect to be able to track one specific act to one specific sale.

In other words, social media marketing is not like traditional media marketing. The worst thing you can do in social media is make a specific sales pitch.

It's a difficult lesson for many traditional marketers to hear and a tough nut for many business owners to crack.

It would have been...more
Allison Parker
I had the good fortune of seeing the authors, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, at the "Trust Agents" presentation at BookExpo America 2009, and I was immediately taken with that most valuable asset, which they both possess: "real-ness," by which I mean that they are approachable, human, down-to-earth. They seem to be the perfect duo to write a book called "Trust Agents"--I'd trust them in a heartbeat, in part because of this exhortation to the group assembled: "Be helpful. Be humble. Share." It mi...more
Eric Ungs
Excellent read for those wanting to jump into this space but are a little hesitant. Chris and Julien do a nice job relating examples to the points they want to make. TRUST: This space is about creating trust whether it's between friends, new friends, potential clients, etc. Trust is the underlying factor that lets realtionships flourish. It's not about soliciting your service 24/7, it's about engagement and sharing value in which your audience can utilize. The sales will then follow because of t...more
Belal Khan
Excellent book to help you get in the mindset of becoming a "trust agent" << someone who is a trailblazer, game changer, pioneer, navigator into new waters.

Great book on getting started on personal branding, or at least starting on your journey to define what makes you stand out.
Trust Agents is one of the 3 best books on the new social media, the other 2 being "Groundswell" and "The New Rules of Marketing and PR." If you're wondering whether or not to dip your toes into social media, this book will give you the orientation you need to proceed with aplomb.
Julie Baylor
Interesting and worthwhile. I confess I was hoping for more,but maybe that's all there is to blogs and Social media. Well done!
Trust had to be earned.
This book is too long. Some of the points are repeatedly emphasized.
Rob Warner
My generation hasn't embraced social media as fully as younger generations have. Some of my best friends refuse to sign up for Facebook, or only tepidly dip their toes in. Most don't tweet. Many of my developer coworkers don't Facebook, tweet, blog, or use github. We're still the anti-social tech generation, which I find curious.

The subtitle of this book describes its contents fairly; it's the "how to win friends and influence people" of the rising web-social generation. What happens on the Web...more
Marko Teräs
Just finished this book today in a train and have to say that it was worth reading.

This is a book where Chris and Julien describe the things that get you forward with the whole social media or the [oh so forgotten term:] Web 2.0.

I like how they do it by introducing the thoughts behind the whole thing, but in the same time give hands-on advices how to behave and act in the digital world without getting beaten by the natives, or the potential customers.

There are good tips and pointers which vary f...more
Dennis Fischman
Benjamin Franklin famously said that you will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In Trust Agents , Chris Brogan and Julien Smith update Franklin for the digital age.

You can't force anyone to pay attention to your message. These days, there are just too many other things they could be doing. Even on broadcast TV, people changed channels to get away from ads. Now, there are more "channels" than ever, and many of them are online. People won't listen to you unless you give them a reason...more
This is a great book about the nature of trust networks and how they work on the modern internet. Brogan & Smith leverage their years as Web superstars to bring some extremely valuable insights actionable ideas to anybody looking to understand the currency of trust amongst online communities. Those most likely to benefit from this book include marketers, CEOs, business leaders, community organizers, fundraisers, and creative entrepreneurs.

Brogan has long been a proponent of brining humanity...more
Chris Brogan is, in my mind, one of the great thinkers in the world of online marketing. He has teamed up with a technical and systems maestro, Julien Smith, to get readers thinking way beyond the software or the hype or the sale...these authors want us thinking about ways that people and companies and brands become known and trusted using modern Web tools. It's not just image anymore; it's transparency and authenticity. It's not just thinking about how to sell yourself, but how to solve problem...more
Gene Babon
Web 2.0 is about "joining the conversation" and Trust Agents provides a useful blueprint on the process. "Trust agents" are business professionals who understand this blueprint and use the Web to build business.

Trust agents are power users of the new tools of the Web and have established themselves as being non-sales-oriented, non-high-pressure marketers. One core concept to becoming a trust agent is to write everything online, where it is eternally visible to everyone. If the content has value,...more
In Trust Agents, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan reveal effective and practical ways to employ social networking sites to make your brand irresistible and to enhance your reputation. Trust is a big issue on the web and especially on social media but how do you get to influence your audience and to win their trust? Brogan and Smith show that by finding social network influencers (the trust agents) you can engage them, win their trust and in turn win over those who they influence.

I agree with the ke...more
Loy Machedo
Loy Machedo’s Book Review - Trust Agents by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

Those involved into the Social Media & Internet Market Circles – either for Educational Purposes or for Business would know Chris Brogan. I came to know about him from Tony Robbins’s Money Masters and from that point on, it was all about googling and discovering more about him.

Trust Agents is a book about being Internet Aware, Internet Savvy & Internet Smart especially given the unprecedented boom of Social Media...more
Casey Wheeler
I read this book (the updated version) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith about 9 months ago and the themes in the book have stayed with me. It is written in an engaging and informative style that makes it difficult to put the book down. It is one of the first books to address how social media can be successfully used by businesses to interact with their customers.

The authors reveal over a series of chapters that to be a successful Trust Agent needs:
• Standing Out
• Belonging
• Leverage
• Networking
Doug Cornelius
Are You Trying to be a Trust Agent?

Yes? Then you have probably already read at least part of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, the new book from Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

Most likely, you are wondering what a “Trust Agent” is supposed to be.

“Trust agents have established themselves as being non-sales-oriented, non-high pressure marketers. Instead, they are digital natives using the web to be genuine and to humanize their business.”

The main pr...more
This book feels like it's directed towards older workers who have no idea how this who social media thing works and what the kids are doing on Facebook. For that audience it is great. I found the book used the right stories to explain how individuals can use this new medium to connect with others. Is there anything ground-breaking here? No. Thought-provoking? Maybe, depending on who you are. This became one of those airplane books that I read on flights to and from Toronto. And yes it was light...more
Sep 07, 2009 Jeffrey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interesting in social media and influence marketing
Recommended to Jeffrey by: I believe Amazon did
The book opens with the story of Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco. Authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith describe how Pistone spent years infiltrating the mob by establishing a reputation and earning trust. The level of influence his was able to exert on the organization eventual helped the FBI put over 100 mobsters in jail with him as its star witness. But they ask the question, would the Donnie Brasco�s cover be possible with the access to information the web provides everyone today? Their boo...more
Ian Nadeau
Wonderful read! If you want to use the social web to improve your brand (yours or your company's...or, ideally, both) and make more money, this has got to be on your "short list." They get in to both the high-level, philosophical approach you should take to earning the trust of your audience, as well as the very specific tasks that can help you reach your goals (many of which are insanely easy so beginners need not be intimidated).

While those of you who've read a few social media-themed books m...more
"Trust Agents" is one of the seminal books in the Social Media genre. So many other authors have copied Chris Brogan's approach to discussing Social Media that he has been elevated to one of the chief "Gurus" along with a few others that include Interactive Media "thought-leaders" Brian Solis and Seth Godin.

In this book, Brogan sets the ground rules for Social Media engagement. At the root of all relationships - on line and off - are trust, authenticity and respect for audience wants and wishes....more
A great perspective on how to approach becoming a trusted part of an online community, namely to act just like it is any other community. Start by figuring out the customs and norms, then bring your genuine self and what you have to offer to that community, without being spammy or disgenuine. Then grow and test the borders of that community to change the game and create something new and revolutionary.

Read this as an audiobook. Julian's reading voice was a little harder to understand and I some...more
Bill Bean
Jun 27, 2010 Bill Bean rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People new to social media
Most useful for those new to the social media world. Not especially remarkable. Reading Brogan's blog is just as good. I do applaud the authors' effort to draw in a different crowd.

My rough notes.

Authors talking about social media strategy and personal ethics. How to get ahead online. What kind of person to be online? (I think they would not draw online/offline distinction)


Emphasis on the importance of relationships.

It's ok to think strategically (i.e. leve...more
buying this book as the urge to highlight and jot notes in the margin of the library book was a battle to resist.

It is that good, that inspiring, and a book to just open and reread parts for instant brainstorming and inspiration when "stuck."
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Chris Brogan consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, and more, on the future of business communications, and social software technologies. He is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents , and a featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine. Chris’s blog ( is in the Top 5 of the Adv...more
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