Brands need to evolve with their customers to stay relevant, but in doing so, they may make social media mistakes. A quick internet search reveals several companies that have lost credibility among their customers. For example, in 2017 Dove published a racially insensitive Facebook ad. It showed a black woman morphing into a white woman after using Dove soap. Offended social media users voiced their displeasure and quickly damaged Dove’s reputation and sales. How can brands avoid these social media missteps and take reasonable risks?
Build the Brand from the Outside In
Brand concepts aren’t pushed out; people want the brands they use to reflect their stories and culture. Before creating a social media strategy, brands need to understand and invest in the communities they want to be a part of. Companies take cues from entertainment, fashion, news, and social media to be a relevant part of any conversation and avoid unfeeling posts. Brands with vibrant online communities also have a direct channel to collect customer feedback. Sephora, for example, has an online community of loyal “beauty insiders” who keep the brand messaging on trend and out of trouble.
How Does the Brand Voice Manifest on Social?
All social media managers should know a brand’s unique personality or voice like they know an old friend. To avoid inconsistent social messages, companies need to determine, up front, everything that a brand likes, dislikes, end goals, and aspirations. What type of language will a brand use and what type of content is sharable? How will teams respond to angry customers on Facebook? Without common guidelines shared among groups, social posts go astray.
Brands need systems in place to control and cut off access to social platforms. Ex-employees and distasteful user submissions can quickly damage brand reputations. It also helps if staff with diverse backgrounds review and edit social ad copy for careless errors or a lack of sensitivity. Diverse staff editors may have helped Dove before they posted a poorly thought out ad copy.
Brands who are in touch with their customers and consistent across their edited messaging make fewer social media mistakes. With a tagline “Let’s beauty together,” Sephora is one such brand that continues to invest in brand building two-way conversations.