In the second half of chapter 7 of Trust Agents, Brogan and Smith further develop the importance of building an army through the unique abilities afforded us by the Web.
Because of the information access and the ease of further distribution, a group of people on the Web is more powerful than a group of equal size anywhere else. The significant difference being that we now all have access as well as distribution which was, in the past, a more significant hurdle.
This ease of spreading information must be leveraged, but is not without flaws…
Misinformation can spread just as efficiently creating very real consequences as in the incorrect report in ’08 of Steve Jobs’ heart attack which knocked Apple stock by almost $10 a share.
Quite naturally, this power of online groups and ease of information distribution makes the Web, social media, and social recommendation a force to be reckoned with in building influence.
After decades of industry and marketers creating “bigger and better” we find that cultural tastes are shifting to appreciating products that can be more personalized, more “me.” With this trend is the shift to seeking more personalized interactions for marketing and influence which can include social media. Brogan and Smith make a very good point when they challenge us to realize that mechanizing your online presence can in fact cause your message to take on the very tone you are trying to avoid by using social media. You will present your message with a very different voice in a truly personal note versus a newsletter or larger scale email.
The key to building an army is in capturing the attention and influence of people passionate about your cause.
If you do choose to scale things to keep in mind:
- simple gestures matter
- participate in others’ sites and make it about them
- give to your community and help the people involved feel part of the core experience.
Building an army on the Web is not as much a give and take process. If your emphasis is on giving you will go farther in building your army. Cast your vision but in a way that is personal, compelling and gives value:
- write blog posts that equip others with the concepts you are trying to spread
- share liberally in online spaces
- contribute to shared collaborative environments
- discuss and extend ideas on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- write and distribute free e-books that equip others with your idea
While this emphasis on giving may seem counter-intuitive to good business sense, the value is not found in the idea only, but in how each individual and/or circumstance makes use of the idea.
With this in mind, what can you do to increase the level of what you “give” in the online groups in which you participate? How can you create spaces that share your passion, challenge and goal but that do this in a way that consistently adds value to others in the group?[image by MarcelGermain]