Next time you hear people talking about history repeating itself, I’m hoping you will think about this.  None of us remember the era when all commerce was localized — meaning, anyone you did business with lived in your immediate community.  There was no such thing as advertising, marketing channels and brands.  You did business with people you knew.  It was not an “information economy” and nothing was mass produced.  It was a Trust Economy.  So what am I talking about when I say that history repeats itself?   …welcome back to the Trust Economy.

When it comes to using social platforms to create awareness for your service, product or brand – you have to remember that this is not your typical marketing channel.  As consumers, we are weary of “marketing speak,” suspicious of “buzz” (it can be bought) and we don’t trust strangers.  We are back to square one.  In a Trust Economy, your market is your community or network, trust is mandatory and influence is king.

Return On Influence – The Basics

If you want to understand how to create trust and affect individuals authentically, imagine yourself moving into a new neighborhood.  You’ve just entered a new community.  So how do you meet people?  This is the exact construct social media platforms emulate.  Would you immediately start going door-to-door peddling your product or service to your neighbors?  I would hope the answer to that question is NO.  But over time, as your community gets to know you, the trust and reputation you have built will no doubt lead to talk about what you do.  So keep these things in mind:

  • You can’t fake a relationship
  • Relationships come before sales
  • Business is not the first order of business
  • Your personal brand comes first

Leveraging your relationships is a great way to increase awareness of your product, service or brand — but you actually have to become a respected and trusted member of your community and nurture your own network before you can tap into it’s potential.

Work Life Integration

So I just mentioned that your personal brand comes first.  For organizations, this logic will seem counter-intuitive and will require understanding of the social construct.  However, no matter how you look at it, the lines between our work and our social life are blurring.  For example – childhood friends are now being reconnected thru facebook and becoming business associates.  Business are invading facebook like a pack of 4 yr. olds will invade a Chuck-E-Cheese.  Corporate recruiters are sourcing talent from LinkedIn, Twitter and even MySpace.  In the end, interactions are interpersonal – people do business with people (not brands) and the economic environment we once knew is systematically being turned on it’s head (Judy Martin got me thinking about this).

Personal Interactions = Network ROI

So here we are back in a Trust Economy except our localized market is now global.  Thru the ubiquity of technology, we are able to have rich, personal interactions and find meaningful connections with others.  As always, when it comes to relationships, you get back more than you give.  First and foremost, we are creatures here to serve one another.  It’s a tried and true principle that is undeniable.  We just have more tools to serve each other more effectively and more efficiently.


Attention = Currency

One of the most rare things on earth is a person’s attention.  Between email, 30,000 ad messages a day and life in general, our time is our most precious commodity.  We have become masters at filtering out anything that is not meaningful to us NOW.  So go out and join the conversation.  Listen to people.  Answer their questions.  Be of service without regard and be meaningful to people NOW.

Authentic Influence

Let people get to know you, trust you and befriend you.  You will create meaningful relationships that get integrated socially and professionally.  The more you give, the more you get.  Relationships are back.  We are built to affect and influence one another.  Your interests will become social objects and awareness of them will radiate thru your network.  These authentic alliances are what all relationships are built on.  This is not something you can fake.  It’s something you must embrace.