President of New Marketing Labs, Chris Brogan, delivered the keynote speech at Affiliate Summit East 2009, focusing on his new book, Trust Agents. As Brogan put it very well, the importance of social media is not about how to Tweet, or how to use Facebook. The real question is, "How do you connect with people online where you don't have personal interaction?"
More and more Fortune 500 companies are having trouble connecting to their target audience. What it comes down to, as Brogan said, is an attention war against "everything in the world" - spam emails, real world events, and their friends. Companies are in constant competition against other attention grabbers. The way to reach them is ultimately by building trust.
To begin a social media campaign, the key is to stand out. Brogan outlined the following steps:
- - Find your value differentiation. What makes you special?
- - Create a new word for yourself. If all of your competitors are using the same words to describe their services, come up with something new and different.
- - Learn the system. How can you dominate the field?
The next step is to get on the inside. It is key to make your target audience feel like you are part of their "clique".
- - Find the agent zero. Who are the influencers in your target audience?
- - Seek frictionless distribution. What is the shortest path to your target audience?
- - Be everywhere - create & maintain bonds. It is important that once you are a member of a community, that you upkeep the bonds that you've created and continue to build new ones.
- - All knowledge is vocabulary. Having insider vocabulary is key to being accepted by a community.
It is important to use each success to build off of like poker chips and move to a bigger table.
- - Build off of your previous success.
- - Never start from nothing.
- - Its all chips: wining the game is table stakes for the next game (always go to bigger table). See success as a currency - Twitter followers, group members, etc. - instead of just looking at money as a currency, look at social currency that can also be used to leverage future successes.
Becoming agent zero is the key to success in the long run.
- - Be the priest - build the church. Become the go-to place for your target audience.
- - Be the relationship before the sale. Don't always mention your company, instead just focus on building relationships.
- - You live or die by your database. If you are following someone on Twitter, make sure you also connect with them on LinkedIn, etc so that you have more influence in more places.
- - Be part of everyone's 150. You need to be within those 150 people who matter to someone.At this point - around 10:50, Brogan started running out of time since the speech began a few minutes late.
Another key to becoming a trust agent, is the human aspect of social media.
- - Connect people constantly.
- - Share instead of hoard.
- - Practice simple touch points of loyalty.
- - Self aware vs self involved. When meeting someone considered to be a "celebrity" it is key to treat them as normal people, just like yourself.
The ultimate outcome of social media work should be to developing a mass following.
- - Give your ideas handles. Make yourself understood easily by giving them the tools to be part of your following.
- - Teach them to fish. Help your audience do what you are doing by providing insight.
- - Bring your own dial tone. Do not trust Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network. It is about where the people are, not what the medium is.
Brogan also presented his trust equation. It builds off of social capital and the web, which has the potential for exponential growth:
- trust = social capital
- social capital + web = links
- social capital + web = social proof
- social capital + web = a big f'n network