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A Discussion on Using Social Media: How to (or Should one?) Create Advocates

A tweet summary of the #SSUAdvocate panel at the Social Shake Up 2013. The most tweeted sentence came from Emily Yelling: “An advocate is somebody who tells the truth about your product”.

Obviously, for SCN members, this is a very pertinent topics. Thanks to Kai Petzelt and Malcolm Kimberlin for making the discussion possible.

You can read this blog on Storify here. (SCN, please install the plugin!)

Little did I know how heated the discussion would get, as Malcolm obviously has a gift for pairing together the right people: all individuals with strong opinions; none of them afraid to share them. The panelists were  Emily Yellin, Brian Vellmure, Anneke Seley and yours truly, Natascha Thomson. Our talented panel host was Kai Petzelt from SAP, supported by audience moderator Ric Dragon. A video will be available soon.

In good social media fashion, Kai had crowd-sourced the topic for our panel, a process he describes in this blog: How I found the Answer to the Million $$ Social Media Question.

Us panelists certainly did not agree on many issues, including the definition of an advocate, or even the role of marketing (let’s face it, the goal of marketing is to make people take action, which means you want to manipulate them).

The tweets below summarize highlights from the panel:

Here a picture of our panel (sans Kai). From left to right: Anneke, Natascha, Emily, & Brian.

I like that the panel is representative of business #ssuadvocate 

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:37:11


Sensei Marketing@SenseiMarketing

“@samfiorella: Q: if an advocate advocates, but no one is listening to them, are they an advocate? #ssuadvocate#socialshakeup

Tue, Sep 17 2013 13:47:55


Sam Fiorella@samfiorella

An advocate is really someone that is telling you the truth about your product ~ #ssuadvocate#socialshakeup

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:44:42




I like that @EYellin expanded the advocate definition to include negative “advocates”, they too provide value #ssuadvocate #socialshakeup

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:49:23


Victor Gaxiola@VictorGaxiola

@samfiorella Yup! Customers will buy from you, advocates will fight for you. #ssuadvocate #socialshakeup

Tue, Sep 17 2013 09:03:31



Great insight coming from #ssuadvocate We think advocacy is extremely important – we even did a global study about it

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:57:03


Bryan Kramer

@bryankramer People are more credible when you are not paying them #socialshakeup #ssuadvocate

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:59:39



#ssuadvocate panel agrees that listening before engaging is key for building brand advocates #SocialShakeUp

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:19:43



@sapcrm 85% of responders say they’d pay up to 25% more to ensure superior customer experience #remarkable #ssuadvocate -@kevinttully


Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:22:50


Natascha Thomson


·Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:40:33


Fairlight Gutierrez

@fairlight Hiring people who are naturally kind/interested others’ needs speaks (authentic) volumes about your biz. #ssuadvocate


Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:46:06


Jason Eng@JasonEng_

RT @bacraw:@JasonEng_@RicDragon@jmoss224 u thank ur advocates. Brand recognition, opportunities, product. Branded value. #ssuadvocate

Tue, Sep 17 2013 09:20:50



We’re loving the discussion coming out of #SocialShakeUp‘s #ssuadvocate panel. Might be of interest to attendees:

Tue, Sep 17 2013 09:22:24


North Highland


RT @sparksgrove : It’s not about the product experience, it’s about the customer experience. #ssuadvocate


Tue, Sep 17 2013 09:27:23


Suzi McC@suzimcc


fantastic panel!!! #ssuadvocate #SocialShakeUp

Tue, Sep 17 2013 09:05:27



Love this RT

@jasondominy: “It’s not just about being remarkable, you have to market the remarkable.” @nathomson#ssuadvocate #SocialShakeUp

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:21:03


Jason Dominy@jasondominy

“The people who are willing to share the truth about a product, people tend the trust more.” @NaThomson#ssuadvocate #SocialShakeUp

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:50:28


Amy Vernon@AmyVernon

If you send a sales prospect to a happy customer who says only good things, has less credibility @annekeseley#ssuadvocate

Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:50:42



@nancyrubin Amazing day of learning on Twitter – if you aren’t listening, you aren’t learning! #ssuadvocate


Tue, Sep 17 2013 07:50:49



#ssuadvocate panel agrees that listening before engaging is key for building brand advocates #SocialShakeUp

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:19:43


Dan Gingiss


“You have to pay attention to influencers, but don’t do that to the exclusion of everyone else.” @EYellin


Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:22:34


Naully Nicolas


RT @jasondominy : I think advocacy is really about humanizing a business relationship. #ssuadvocate #SocialShakeUp#ronr

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:36:23


Sam Fiorella


Yes. RT @kasperrisbjerg: @samfiorella damn. Sounds like I am in the wrong session! #ssuadvocate

Tue, Sep 17 2013 08:25:09

Our panel, very happy after the great audience participation during our panel. Left to right: Brian, Emily, Kai, Natascha, Anneke.

Thx to the audience, @kaipetzelt & fellow panelists! #ssuadvocate:




·Tue, Sep 17 2013 16:58:12




Build a better advocate ROCKED!! Great interactive throw down! #ssuadvocate


Tue, Sep 17 2013 13:37:26

I believe I can speak for all of us when I say that some lasting connections were created at the event. Anneke already agreed to speak at an upcoming social media practitioner event in Silicon Valley. Contact me if you are in SV, do social media for a living, and would like to join.

See you at the Social Shake up 2014!

For more social media tips and news, visit

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Thank you for sharing.

      Now a technical question for you 🙂

      Why didn't you use the Embed feature (something I learned from you) for the tweets you've shown above?

      It's amazing you find time to attend all these social media events.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author


      good point about the embedding.

      I used Storify to create the original blog and on my own WordPress site, I can simply embed the Storify page with a URL, as if posting a YouTube video.

      Not sure why SCN does not support this plugin or the Slideshare one. Is it because of SEO and because they want to "own" all the content? Many times I blog on SCN I have to come up with a work around. I suggest making it simple for users vs. trying to have all the content on your site.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      FYI: I am not sure how I find the time either. I guess it's part of my marketing strategy. I don't do ads or anything like that.