Social Media Fails — Instagram

In a digital world where influencers, photography enthusiasts and ‘selfie’ lovers reign supreme, getting noticed from a business perspective on Instagram can be hard. That said; it’s entirely possible with the right strategy helping you tap into the 1 billion plus users that use this exciting networking platform.

Indeed, some companies are totally nailing it with the likes of WeWork — an office and service provider for start-ups — engaging over 428K followers. But, with so 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 Instagram and the brands who failed hard last year.

Sunny Co. Clothing and the Free Swimsuit Drama

Running promotions is one way to attract attention on Insta. Giving freebies to those who follow a specific call to action can also increase outreach and spread brand awareness, but all campaigns must be executed with great thought and care.

Sunny Co. Clothing found this out the hard way when they offered a free red Pamela Sunny Suit to anyone who reposted and tagged their promotional picture within a 24-hour period. Unfortunately, the swimwear line was not prepared for just how many people wanted to slip into such a skimpy costume. While the campaign went viral, the brand had to cap the promotion leading to an onslaught of angry comments and often humorous memes on Instagram.

This all happened in 2017, but the drama carried on into 2018 — this time with better results. Sunny Co. Clothing rectified their past errors and came back with vengeance as you can see in the below post.

Essentially, they promised not to cap the promotion in quite an epic recovery. So what can we learn from this saga and what are the key takeaways?

1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Social media marketing is all about gaining the trust of your consumers. This can take a lot of time and effort but can be swiftly compromised by making a promise you can’t keep. So don’t do it!

2. Admit your mistakes

No-one is perfect and brands do make mistakes or misjudge the success of their campaigns. By admitting to your errors you can help to humanise your brand. Rectifying where you went wrong shows that you want to come back bigger and better than before and have acknowledged all feedback.

Flat Tummy Co and Those OTT Insta #ads

A flat tummy would be nice, right? But is there really a miracle cure? Who knows! The Kardashian sisters have taken to Instagram of late to promote Flat Tummy Co shakes which are supposed to assist with weight loss. But since the ads are all paid for, they often seem a little OTT and disingenuous.

When Khloe Kardashian took to Instagram to promote diet drinks including Chocolate Shakes to her 82.7 million Instagram followers, her post was met with its fair share of backlash.

This is the original post:

And here are some of the comments that followed:

And body confidence activist Jameela Jamil had something to say, tweeting:

Lessons and takeaways:

1. Think carefully about campaign content

When it comes to influencer marketing, wording is highly important. In the above example, Khloe is saying she feels “tight, toned and fab” thanks to Chocolate Shakes. True or not, this is kind of an oxymoron — chocolate and toned don’t really go together after all. Sure, the point is you can still have tasty treats and look great but this kind of overly positive marketing about a product you’re being paid to promote is likely to get people cranky. Less is sometimes more.

2. Work with micro-influencers

Influencer marketing is all about getting your product into the social sphere. That said; those with a high number of followers often have low engagement rates. So, if negative comments are left there’s a high chance these will be left without a response. By working with micro-influencers who have a much smaller fan base, the engagement rate improves dramatically. Influencers of this kind often engage with followers and can help to promote niche products to a loyal fan-base.

Revolve and the Fat Shaming Disaster

Fashion e-tailer Revolve got in quite a pickle last year when they unleashed a series of sweaters with controversial slogans such as “Being fat is not beautiful, it’s an excuse.” The jumpers, although seeming to invite backlash, were not meant to be offensive at all. They were supposed to highlight the horrors of online trolling and featured a real-life quote that had been said to a celebrity woman online including Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajkowski, Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse and Paloma Elsesser. The words “as said to” were printed in small underneath each quote.

Unfortunately, the sweaters were released without enough context and as the models involved in the campaign were thin and white, diversity was not celebrated at all. Revolve’s marketing errors were swiftly circulated around Instagram and met with fury.

Artist Florence Given expressed her utter disbelief with the post below:

Her sentiment was echoed across the web:

The brand’s execution of the campaign was both so bad that influencer marketing actually worked against them and they received all kinds of negative press.

Lena Dunham swiftly pulled out of the project releasing a statement to Instagram, which read:

Lessons and takeaways:

1. Be consistent

The marketing idea behind the Revolve project was actually extremely relevant highlighting the dangers of trolling but the approach was not consistent. To not provide enough explanation about the campaign showed a weakness in their content marketing plan. Secondly, the models used were not diverse enough to be inclusive which can again get you ‘punished’ on the web as Lena mentioned above.

2. Understand the power of online marketing

Whether you share snaps to Instagram or not — your marketing will be seen and circulated regardless. Anything you put on your website can be shared across multiple social media channels within an instant, so when it comes to content you must think carefully before going live.

Avoid making social media faux pas with Socially Sorted from Contentworks Agency.

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