Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Navigate through the social media landscape

It’s fascinating how knowledge passes by word of mouth. When I joined Twitter in 2008, I was really lucky to have a hand-hold from my new friend Rachel Beer. Because there is no instruction manual, it was great to get an insight from someone who’d been using it for months already. Now one year on, increasingly people are asking me how to use Twitter: I’ve become the accidental expert. Whilst you still can’t be taught Twitter and social media, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s book ‘Trust Agents' is certainly a great navigation guide.

Okay, so I didn’t learn anything truly ‘wow’ from Trust Agents: there was no stage in reading it when my jaw dropped in astonishment. But of course a good book doesn’t need such dramatic impact to have value.

Trust Agents consolidates and articulates everything I’ve learnt in the last twelve months about this new space we inhabit and the new tools we have.

What’s the key takeaway? it’s about building relationships:‘never before has balance of business interaction and communication been so in favour of smaller, more personal interactions’

It’s consolidated everything I’ve learnt about relationship management, about networking online. About the importance of building ‘social capital’: that investment in relationships and collaboration is key, but that a ROI is not always instant or visible until way down the line. And how we use these digital tools to build personal brand equity and profile. But rather than selling to an audience, be their gatekeeper instead: ‘tell don’t sell’. All that resonates with what I’ve learnt at the social media coal face.

Of course, there are no rules. And in an experience where we make things up as we go along, we don’t always get things right. Like the time I rushed to get ‘great to meet you’ emails out after SXSW ’09 that one recipient said ‘thanks for the spam’. And I had to stop and think. (I learnt a lesson on that one).

So there’s no right and wrong but if you’re struggling and feeling your way around this new media space, not sure how best to optimise these tools for yourself and your business read Trust Agents.

And what you’ll learn is that whatever the tools and the opportunities of the digital age – of course – it’s all about real relationships. So make sure you get out in the real world enough!

1 comment:

John Nemo said...

Nice post Ian - I'm excited to read Trust Agents and have it on my stack of books to get to. I appreciate you hitting some high points - tell don't sell in particular is a great one!

John Nemo,