when influencers become extortionists
I'll take "one" please

you might be a social extortionist if

Mug shot Yesterday I wrote a post on extortionist social influencers.  Some of the commenters (including my wife) asked where I draw the line.  Because to be honest, I have pulled rank and mentioned this blog in dealing with poor customer service representatives. 

So where is the line?  At what point does a mention of influence become extortion?  Honestly, I'm not totally sure.  But I would like to propose the following guidelines.  I would LOVE to get your thoughts and feedback.

You might be a social extortionist if:

  • You threaten to use your audience in order to gain unfair or super-standard advantages over all other customers, particularly as it relates to reimbursement.
  • You harass executives with threatening messages.
  • You contact anyone via personal, non-professional channels (ex. home phone).

note: harassing front line service level employees is just not cool


You're well within your rights to use your influence to:

  • Get the customer support everyone deserves.
  • Wake up a lazy call center representative/get better access to the channels everyone else has access to.
  • Raise a red flag to your audience about a policy you believe to be unfair.
  • Invite constructive feedback from your audience, and then pass it along to the brand.

The golden rule: Ask yourself, am I demanding additional concrete gains (cash or product) with the threat of my influence?  What would my audience think?  

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Am I an extortionist?  My cell phone company sold me a phone with the promise that it could do things that it was incapable of doing (like email).  The rep was misinformed.  They cited a policy and claimed I could not return for another model, only another unit of the same model.  I told them that I disagreed with this policy and would write a post to that effect.  They gave me an early upgrade.

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