Over the years, social platforms have become widely used by businesses as a way of closing the gap between clients and businesses, allowing mass communication to act as a personal message. This provides the perfect opportunity for brands to communicate with their target audience on a more personal level, but what if they slip up? It could have huge repercussions, as some of these brands know all too well…

Tinder’s Twitter Meltdown

Tinder is a brand synonymous with mixed opinion and as such you would think they would know how to deal with online controversy right? Wrong. So the odds may not be too high if using this app to seek out your life partner or soul mate, but one guaranteed take-away from Tinder is an understanding of how not to engage with your audience online!

Following an ‘unfair’ article published in Vanity Fair claiming that Tinder was ultimately just a hook-up app, a disgruntled genius at Tinder took to Twitter to oppose these claims. The cringe-worthy Tweets attracted the wrong type of attention to the brand which could have been avoided, but instead they engaged in an online rant, which only increased the brand’s negative connotation.

Moral of the story - do not add fuel to the fire!

Shea Moisture’s Facebook Nightmare

The importance of knowing your audience is not something brands usually take lightly but as seen in the news this week, US brand Shea Moisture drastically failed to demonstrate this.

Shea Moisture is a hair care product specifically formulated for women of African/Caribbean heritage and up until now, they are done a very good job at tailoring their ad campaigns (since 1991 in fact). It would be an understatement to say their customers were shocked to see a redhead and a blonde feature in their most recent Facebook video campaign.  What’s wrong with that? It left their customers confused as to why after so many years, a brand that has been so carefully tailored to their needs, was now serving a different demographic – without any explanation. It’s fair to say many black women who once admired this brand felt under-represented in the new Facebook ad and were left confused as to whether the product’s formula had now changed to accommodate the needs of a new target customer.

Fortunately, Shea Moisturiser fessed up to their mistake very quickly and posted public apologies on their social media. However, for many this is too little too late.

Lesson? Try not alienate your existing loyal customer base when trying to expand your reach!

A few more considerations to be made:

1. Define your objective

It’s essential to think about what you are trying to accomplish from your social media posts. If looking to promote an event then maybe considering channels such as email may work better, as it requires little maintenance. On the other hand, if your looking to engage with your audience and share frequent updates then social media will work great!

2. Select the most appropriate channels

Understanding your audience will also help determine whether a particular platform is worth exploring. You need to decide whether or not your current customers are going to be appropriate for your chosen platform, for example Facebook. Will they use the site? Will they engage in its activity?

It’s important to consider what device your audience is using. For example, Twitter has 310 million active users, with 83% being on mobile. Some tools are limited on mobile compared with them being easier to access via desktop so it’s worth also considering this when sharing content via social.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different channel benefits:


Facebook use increased by 15% in 2016 with around 1.65 billion users worldwide. It has now become the largest social media platform, allowing you to post frequent pictures, share statuses and since 2016 you can now react to posts.

With Facebook acting as the main platform for sharing posts, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily.


Twitter is more of a brand loyalty platform. 85% of Twitter users “feel more connected” to a business if they follow them via Twitter. This is where it becomes important to interact with Twitter if this is your chosen platform. Reply to tweets, Re-tweet followers, you need to be on top form with interaction.


LinkedIn is the more formal version of social media. LinkedIn has hundreds of millions of users although some marketers tend to leave it out. It’s usually used for business purposes such as finding new employees, and is great for showcasing your creditability and recommendations.


Instagram allows you to promote your business through posting photos and short videos. It’s a great way for promoting special offers, such as posting an image suggesting a future sale. It also works well for showing off your products being used, such as posting short tutorial clips or sharing posts of your customers using your product themselves!

I think it’s fair to say that social media does take a lot of time and effort, but when carefully considered the rewards definitely pay off! These brand bloopers show that it isn’t easy and some of the most influential corporate brands can still get it wrong sometimes.  Persevere and eventually you will learn what really works for your audience.

If you feel like you need to brush up on your social media skills? We offer tailored training courses designed to build up your knowledge and confidence. Or if you simply need a hand with incorporating your social media strategy as part of a wider campaign of activity, we would be happy to help. 


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