Social Media Fails — Facebook

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80% of smartphone readers check their phones before brushing their teeth in the morning. That’s a whole lot of early bird browsing. But which platform has the lion’s share of users? Well, that’s easy!

Facebook is the number one networking site in the world. Over 2.2 billion people log in each month which explains why brands constantly want a piece of the Facebook marketing pie. Sure, this platform is a great way to increase engagement and improve brand awareness but with many brands slipping up on social media, it’s time to look at what went wrong and avoid some of the biggest social media fails.

In this episode we’re looking at Facebook and the brands that failed hard.

1. Lush Cosmetics #Spycops Campaign

Lush Cosmetics, renowned for their cruelty-free cosmetics, ruffled social media feathers with their 2018 #Spycops ad campaign. The idea was to protest against the behaviour of undercover cops who formed relationships with activists they were sent to spy on.

Slogans such as ‘paid to lie’ were spread across multiple social media platforms including Facebook alongside an image of a model whose appearance was split between being a police officer in uniform and an activist. The brand even covered their shop windows in police tape with a message reading ‘police have crossed the line,’ images of which rapidly circulated.

Controversial and provocative in nature, the campaign was viewed by many as an unbiased attack on an already-struggling police force and extreme backlash followed. Not only did a #FlushLush hashtag encourage people to boycott the brand, but Lush’s Facebook page was flooded with 1-star negative reviews with over 17,000 people voicing their disgust.

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Even other brands jumped on the anti-Lush bandwagon with Poundland taking the chance to flaunt their own products in light of the cosmetic retailer’s misfortune.

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Lessons and takeaways from the Lush saga:

1. Don’t delete negative comments

Lush was accused of deleting negative comments from Facebook which didn’t help improve their reputation amid a PR nightmare. Social media users left comments such as:

“Is Lush just going to delete every one star review and negative feedback comment on Facebook, then block the person who leaves it, such as myself, my friends and police colleagues have been?”

The brand denied doing this but the message is clear. Never eradicate bad feedback. Instead, take the time to reply to comments where possible and issue a public apology if necessary.

2. Think through all campaigns

Lush are well known for campaigning against worldly issues, but with 92% of people believing Lush overstepped the mark with #Spycops its clear all campaigns need to be though through and reviewed from multiple angles. While you might have a point to make, alienating consumers is not great for business.

3. Stay calm

Despite the saga, there were only three days where negative comments outweighed positive comments for the brand. If something goes wrong on social media channels like Facebook, respond according to sentiment. In this case, Lush dropped the campaign. You can then work on the recovery process.

2. Miele International Women’s Day Mishap

How do you celebrate strong, confident and modern females on International Women’s Day 2018? By reinforcing the 1950s housewife stereotype? Probably not! But that’s exactly what German domestic appliance company Miele did when they posted the below image to Facebook and other social sites — which, just for the record, was swiftly deleted a couple of hours later.

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Somehow, the image of four well-groomed white women getting excited next to a washer and drier does not scream ‘unique’ in any way, shape or form and therefore seems inappropriate for a day that truly embraces female strength and diversity. Other people agreed.

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Lessons and Takeaways from the Misjudged Miele Post:

1. Stop being too salesy

Sure, you have a range of amazing products and services to promote, but you don’t need to flaunt them at any possible occasion. International Women’s Day is one of those times when you can simply wish the females of the world power and success — without that extra dollop of brand awareness. It’s not the time to promote washers, driers or any other ‘Domestic Goddess’ necessity (note the sarcasm), because while they’re useful, women don’t really want to have a party on top of them.

2. Be engaging and relevant

Times move fast, so don’t get stuck in the past. Keep up trends and ensure all the content you post is unique, relevant and engaging. Try not to spark controversy unintentionally because if you do you might not be prepared to deal with the backlash. And of course, don’t stereotype large groups of people into one small category!

3. Dove in Racism Controversy

Dove has celebrated diversity for many years focussing largely on all different shapes and sizes of female beauty. The brand caused outraged with a body wash Facebook video, however, which depicted a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath.

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The campaign was dubbed thoughtless and was met with extreme backlash promoting an official apology from the brand:

“As a part of a campaign for Dove Body Wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to the U.S. Facebook page. This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologize deeply and sincerely for the offense that it has caused and do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience.”

Lessons and Takeaways from the Dove Fiasco

Think about your target audience

A spokesperson for Dove tried to explain what the campaign was all about stating: “The content featured demonstrates the benefits of our Dove Body Wash for every type of skin.” This clearly wasn’t communicated well and therefore caused great upset. So, when thinking of a campaign, keep your target audience in mind and approach your content marketing with great respect and caution so as not to ostracise or offend consumers.

Admit to mistakes

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to admit your mistakes. In this case, Dove is a very well-respected brand with a diverse and loyal following. Their decision to take the video down was in the best interest of everyone.

4. Forget about that Engagement Baiting

We’ve looked at some specific examples of Facebook failures, but engagement baiting is an important topic that many brands are guilty of. Facebook has changed their algorithm so that posts asking for attention get buried. Therefore, it’s essential to take your consumers on a journey that will help them connect with your brand and not simply bombard them with marketing messages.

Check out how it’s done below:

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Want to improve your online reputation and avoid common mistakes? Then get Socially Sorted with Contentworks. As a leading content marketing agency, we offer engaging, unique and compliant content that’s perfectly tailored to your brand.

Contentworks is a content marketing agency that's all about telling your story and achieving your goals. Unless you want to climb Everest.

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