I've often said that the best book on social media marketing is Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Although Carnegie never updated his Facebook status, tweeted or even commented on someone else's blog, the lessons one can learn from that book can be used to win Facebook friends and Influence people on the social webs.
Well, now that book has some real competition. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith is a must read for anyone looking to understand how businesses and non-profits can use the Web and social media.
This book is not about how to get more followers on Twitter, or to get the most connections on LinkedIn. Rather, it's about understanding how the Web--and specifically social media--is changing the rules of engagement and networking.
The book takes a step-by-step, chapter-by-chapter approach of how to become a trusted member of this new society, and how to leverage that power. (But always for good; the book does address the possibly slippery slope of questionable activity, or taking advantage of one's community. However, no doubt that some people will put the lessons learned towards hacking the trust equation.)
There's a lot of great examples in the book, both from Chris & Julien's lives, as well as Gary Vaynerchuk and dozens of others who have learned the lessons in this book firsthand. I found myself folding down a lot of the page corners, and recommending the book to several friends and clients.
The book was also good at reinforcing what I already believed to be true, just with more concrete examples. Chris and Julien say a lot of the same things I say--except when they say it, it comes across as much more intelligent and insightful--I'll have to work on that.
You won't find get rich quick ideas here, and there's no promises of untold riches. If you're looking for how to set up a Facebook fan page or create a custom background for YouTube, better to Google it than read this book. But when you're ready to think about strategy and how this fits in with the bigger picture of your business, your career, your causes, this book will help you get there.