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'Trust Agents'

April 24, 2012
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Today's online influencers are Web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships —using social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online. In "Trust Agents," published by Wiley, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith describe how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand's influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan is a leading authority on blogs, highly ranked by With more than 10 years of blogging and media-making under his belt, he's one of the most widely read and respected bloggers on social software and methods.

Smith has been involved in Web communitites for the past 10 years. He was among the first adopters of podcasting, and now actively works with start-ups to help build a trusted audience on the Web.

"The way people use the Web is constantly changing," note the authors. "People have become more wary of where the information they receive comes from, and with good reason. 

"It's difficult to reach out and do business with people using the Web," they add. "This is especially true in an environment where trust isn't previously established and where the prospective customer has access to far more information about your organization, products, and services than ever before."

In "Trust Agents," learn how businesses are using the latest online social tools to build networks of influence, and how your credit union can use those networks to positively impact its business.

Also included are specific first moves for entering social media for small businesses, educators, travel and hospitality enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and corporations.

If you want your business to succeed, say the authors, don't sit on the sidelines while new markets and channels grow. Instead, use the Web to build trust with consumers.

Brogan will be a keynote speaker at CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference, June 17-20, in San Diego.


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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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