No such thing as bad publicity, right? You might want to rethink that.
Social media marketing is one of the most lucrative and impressionable of marketing strategies today. It is virtually impossible for a brand to be successful without having a good social media pull. Yet, these very platforms can come back to haunt brands.
Apart from missteps and mistakes becoming magnified and meme-content, there are some controversial aspects of social media that can reflect negatively on the brands who advertise on them. In order to steer clear of such issues, it is important to know what these controversies are and how one can avoid them. Let’s discuss.
Facebook’s Own Team Has Trashed Its Advertising System
It is one thing for customers and clients to complain about a system – after all, one can always dismiss these as just people who were not able to reap in the best that the platform had to offer. But in the case of Facebook, things got truly messy.
Way back in 2018, Facebook’s Ads Manager faced a massive outage just three days before Black Friday. This meant that the advertisers were unable to launch and manage campaigns during one of the busiest commercial days.
Since then, Facebook Ads have been plagued by issues. Documents unsealed from a class action lawsuit filed in 2018 stated that the employees of Facebook themselves had nothing good to say about their advertising system. Some even suggested that their ad targeting was ‘’all crap’’.
With the company tackling issues of privacy breaches simultaneously, many advertisers had even begun to question just how worth it was to be on the platform as an advertiser.
Pulling out of such a massive platform may not be possible for many, especially for small businesses. The ideal approach thus is to expand out of Facebook and into other methods of advertising, and to keep an eye out on the more technical and legal aspects of Facebook’s ad management issues.
Influencers Can Break Brands
Sure, they are young, hip, rich and classy. But many of these influencers were also privileged youths with a history of problematic behaviour. Influencer engagement on Instagram seems to be at an all time low.
Collective backlash has also begun to emerge against this influencer culture, which many argue has made Instagram too commercialised and ‘fake.’
Exposing influencers for past or current problematic behaviour has almost become a trend. Unfortunately, while this may mean comeuppance for the problematic influencer, it can spell trouble for the brand that the influencer associates with.
Many expect brands to immediately apologise and cut all ties from the exposed influencers; but an almost equal number of die hard fans of the influencer may expect the brands to stick with their heroes through these ridiculous allegations.
In both cases, the brands can expect backlash and criticism to come to their doorstep due to their association with an influencer.
A thorough background check is thus essential when pairing up with influencers, otherwise the brand risks running foul of its customers. It would also be a good idea to create an independent presence on Instagram, out of the sphere of influencer’s influence, so that any hit on your influencer’s brand doesn’t decimate you as well.
Twitter Can Become A Customer Complaint Central
While disgruntled customers (or savvy competitors hiding behind fake profiles) do not need a time and space to start complaining, many seem to gravitate towards Twitter.
Thanks to its high visibility, ease of use, and the dominant use of hashtags, it doesn’t take a lot for a brand to start trending on twitter with some of their choicest keywords attached.
Things though can also get messier when the brand’s Twitter page does not respond quickly enough, or responds in a manner that the people find inadequate. What’s more, it often takes one person’s complaints to create a chain reaction.
This can make it seem like your brand has a lot of problems, when in reality, the majority of your customers, who are actually satisfied and happy, remain silent while those dissatisfied with your work congregate.
Navigating through online humiliation and complaints can be tricky. It is best to create a standard procedure for dealing with such complaints, and directing such complaints to a private channel as soon as possible.
End of Social Media Marketing?
Certainly not. Giving up on any of the above platforms would be to automatically lose access to millions of potential customers. While cutting away is not an option, there are some strategies that you can adopt so that the negatives of social media do not cost your brand –
- Firstly, diversify. Do not remain dependent on a single platform or just influencers to drive your marketing. Reach out to niche platforms such as Tumblr or Reddit, and focus on in-house promotions and creative campaigns too.
- Take the aid of professionals. It is always better to invest some extra money in the people who know the social media platform inside out than to stumble blindly across platforms. Experts know where your ads and money should be flowing, and what kind of returns you should expect, and how you can stand out in this endless sea of competition.
- Remain up to date on the technical and business aspects of social media. Such timely information can help you prepare in advance for any major challenges and changes. Be sure to read the fine print for any major changes on the particular social media’s advertising policies and schemes.
- Create a website, and make your goal to direct people from social media to your website. A personal domain allows you virtually unlimited options of customisation and interaction, where you can focus on what works best for you instead of struggling within the limits set by social media.
So what controversial aspects of social media do you think negatively impacts (your) business? Are there any workarounds for brands? Let us know in the comments below!