Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thinking about Trust Agents

Trust Agents is a book by noted bloggers and web denizens Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  It's a fascinating look at how the web and social media sites are changing how we do business not only in this country but all over the world.  The biggest change has come in the way we communicate on both business levels and impersonally.   I'm such a dinosaur that I can remember the days of mailing news releases and then having high quality prints made for sending out photo releases via USPS!

This means that today's communicators need to have a good grasp of the web and social media.  In the book they give some very good reminders about not sending what could be perceived as spam to friends.  They also talk about the differences between trust agents, consumer advocates and brand evangelists using a variety of examples from Big Business.  In their view, trust agents care more about people and work to grow relationships.  They talk about how trust agents planting seeds that might create a positive image of what ever brand they are out to promote.

They suggest finding communities of people with shared interests on  the web and on social media sites, since geography isn't a consideration anymore for networking etc.  Something that really touched me in the book is their sense of humans being more important than a bottom line.  They advocate doing nice things for people, just because, with no sense of quid pro quo.  It's almost as if these guys are trying to bring the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) into the business arena, something that is sorely needed in this day and age.

While Brogan and Smith are right on about using the web to expose more people to your products, they don't touch the subject of how to target your market on the web, especially for such "personal" products as art or theatre.  I say personal because art, like beauty or theatre, is a very subjective thing.

Providing a free service is seen by them to be a leveraging maneuver.  They also suggest using recommendation engines like Digg or Stumble Upon, so that your audience will help you spread the message.  Offering needed resources on your blog is another way to  leverage according to them.  Crowd-sourcing is seen as a way to find our audience and leverage their power.  Other suggestions include getting a personal assistant (which I'd love but it's hard to find smart, saavy people who will work for free) and by delegating work.

They suggest that a product that is both "sticky" and "spreadable" is the product that trust agents can more effectively promote on the web.  Reaching out to those who are coming up the ladder is seen as another way to marshall resources as is helping folks get the word out on their projects.

Brogan and Smith have a word of warning to PR people - they don't want a traditional press release with the who, what, why, where and when in it!  They are looking for information to interest their audiences from the PR community.

In summation, they contend that the web is just a bunch of people - like you and me - who have specific interests.  In their eyes, the web differs from other media in that the advertisers weren't "in" on it from the get go like they were in print, radio or TV.  They are right on the money there!  The internet was "created" as a way for scientists to share information. 

My only disappointment with the book is that they don't give any examples of how to locate one's audience in cyberspace for niche-type products.  But I highly suggest it for anyone who has not considered the power of the web in promotion.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Making a Splash

Sorry I haven't been as up to date on this blog as I have been on my other one, but after getting back from the hubby's family reunion, had much to do and then last week, a hideous cold struck.  It's been five days already and I'm still recovering.  But that doesn't mean that social media has not been on my mind!

I'm going back through the book Trust Agents to pull some interesting tidbits to put here, although you really should go out and get a copy - perhaps your library has a copy.  But thanks to my Linked In group and Tony Gates, here's another take on social media:

But do you believe in the wisdom of crowds?  If something is popular, does that make it good?  I did go to Reddit and searched for art topics and guess what?  Nothing was there.  So because nothing is there, does that mean it's not good?  Let me know... and Merriest of Holidays and the best of the New Year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FaceBook Nation

Do you have friends or colleagues who do not answer email, but do respond to you via FaceBook?  Don't feel like the Lone Ranger then.  It's not just you and me, it's everyone else.  Especially if these Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends play out in 2010. 

Special thanks to Chad Sorg for posting on - where else - FaceBook and to SmartBrandBlog-er

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Love Your Twitter-ers

My friend Chard Sorg - social media marketing maven that he is - posted a very interesting link on Twitter today.  Here it IS

The post above reminds me of many of the things that Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make in their book Trust Agents, which I will comment on in another post in the next few days.  It's about the love, people!  And being helpful and commenting.  We're moving into a different paradigm shift in communications.  For more about paradigm shifts look HERE.

Change is good!

PR for Playwrights on the other side of the Pond

I suppose you can tell I'm from the East Coast originally, the way I reference Europe as "across the pond".  But a theatre in London is doing a very smart thing right now, using technology to help themselves and playwrights!  So being the old reporter that I am, as well as also being a playwright,  I had to check it out.  The theatre is also promoting the site as a social network for playwrights. You can read about it HERE.

I got the tip on this from one of my contacts on the Linked-In Technology in the Arts groups.  PR for the arts is one of the most difficult of all PR jobs.  It seems that here in the US, the arts are the poor stepsister to film, TV and tech-related entertainment.  Like many of the performing arts, theatre is thought of as elitist and beyond the ken of the regular person.  This is just so much crap because theatre is generally always about people and there is nothing like feeling the energy created by actors on stage. 

Unfortunately most of the media "gatekeepers" forgot that while we need to support many groups that are trying to help solve the problems of  homelessness, hunger and job creation, we also need to support the arts because they feed the soul.