Skip to main content


Advocates and Agitators: The Art of Social Influence at OOW15

Here is an interesting stat: 5% to 10% of social users are responsible for 60% to 80% of influence.  Reaching those 5%-10% of people on social networks is paramount.  In this session, we heard from a panel of social media practitioners about this topic.

How should companies respond to agitators?  You have to pay attention to all agitators and depending on the situation, you can turn an agitator into an advocate. As the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone all the time. So in same cases you can ignore an agitator and they will go away.  But in most cases, dealing directly with the agitator in a human to human way will resolve most problems.



When you connect to a brand, what do you expect the response to be?   First, there are too many brands that simply don’t respond and that’s can be bad if you want to turn people into advocates.  A simple reply that at least you acknowledge the customer goes a long way.  However replying in the wrong way is worse than not replying at all.  The response needs to be helpful and as realtime as possible.

How are you dealing with customer service through social networks?  For GM, they have 17 agents working to monitor forums.  These agents help customers with issues, problems, etc. When responding, it is bad to have a small number of canned answers.  However this can add in layers of overhead to get legal involved in what you can and cannot say.

At the scale of General Motors, they several teams across brand, marketing, customer service, and the social team.  Sometimes they get leads from the social channel and those leads get funneled to the other teams to assist in helping the customer.

How do you identify an agitator or advocate?  At GM they look at volume of engagement, how often they help other people in the community, etc.

At what point is customer engagement too much? GM has developed a process to deal with persistent or difficult customer service scenarios.  The flow chart provides some decision points and offers suggestions when to stay engaged, when to ignore, and when to disengage.  In social, there comes a point when the brand just can win the “fight” against a problem agitator and at that point you have to let it go.

What is the power of advocates and how do you support them?  There are many ways to measure influencers and its important to qualify what you consider to be advocates.  If you take a human approach to the people that are advocates, it can go a long way.  GM talked about how one of the people who tweeted about his car on a weekly basis.  When he didn’t tweet one week, GM reached out to that person on Twitter to make sure they were ok and to say they missed his post.  This obviously was a great way to support an advocate.

Oracle keeps track of their top followers and highly engaged social users.  They make sure they connect with them often to ask questions and keep them up-to-date on happenings at Oracle.

What about B2B influencers?  On Twitter you have 140 characters.  You have to get your brand in there, but when you partner with others, you have to include them in your tweets.  This becomes very challenging to get the message in that very small space. This can involve getting many different groups involved from within your company and your partner companies to craft messages that get sent on social networks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

More from this Author

Follow Us