WHEN BAD SOCIAL MEDIA HAPPENS TO GOOD COMPANIES.
My name is Hope. I am a partner here at Sherpa Consulting. I'm not a senior executive. In fact, I'm hardly senior. Im 28 years old, and fairly new to the "corporate" world. I left my career in music to pursue digital marketing strategy after I somehow impressed some business folk with a campaign of mine that went viral. Specifically, I focus now on social media, branding, and management. We like to tackle marketing for companies, personalities, and brands large and small. From artists, to e-commerce, Non-Profits, to apps. I'm giving you my background not because you care personally, but to illustrate that while I'm getting good at what I do- I'm basically an infant in the world of marketing and yet I even know that...
WEST ELM, YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HAS SOME MAJOR WACK-NESS HAPPENING. WACK AF. V V WACK. MAJOR WTF WACK.
This was surprising for me to discover because generally, I think West Elm is awesome. You're a reputable high-end brand. Your print and in store style and marketing is usually on point, so when I was targeted with your Facebook sponsored ads and realized how poorly your social media was handled, I was... shocked. I am not saying this to sh*t on West Elm, because I say again, I love you West Elm. I say this as a lesson to be learned for West Elm ( who may never see this post) and to anyone else. We're a big fan of acknowledging mistakes (within reason) because you take note, you move on, and you do better next time. But most importantly... you LEARN, and you don't make that same mistake again. ( because it is awkward and on the internet forever)
Most of you know by now Social Media marketing can be awesome. You can focus in on a target audience, change your campaign on the drop of a dime, and generally do it on the cheap. But what I am saying next is important.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING, MANAGE IT.
Here is what I saw. West Elm has a sponsored post that went out to their followers and non. ( to be clear, they have nearly .6 million followers on Facebook so this is a large audience). Based on my experience with boost results they put a bit of money behind this seeing as though it got some traction. They used a recent-popular strategy of using a lower-quality photo that is made to look like a customer likely shared it on Instagram with a hip filter. They do this so it blends in organically in a news feed as opposed to standing out like an obvious ad. You scroll over the photo thinking someone you know posted it, it catches your attention " Oh cute mid-century table, and that fiddle fig is loving the light. Birkenstocks in the bottom of the image, and this cute couch, who's couch is this? Whose... oh wait, this is an Ad? West Elm posted this couch, it can be my cute couch? yay. Click. purchase"- That is the hope. Ok, I see you West Elm. I know this strategy, good start.
But here is where you butchered it.
The caption states " Handwoven rugs + warm wood finishes = Style with substance". Ok cool, nice simple, to the point.
Problem: There isn't a handwoven rug in this photo, in fact there is no rug at all.
Ok, maybe no one noticed. Wrong, everyone did, and the comments are super awkward. And what's worse, the comments have been rolling in ( and responded to) for over 6 weeks and no one from their social media team has handled it correctly, responded organically, or edited the post. Yeesh. Then what's worse, is some awkward auto-response as if people are asking about a rug they already ordered... and then the same auto-responses over and over again. Cringe. And followers even mocking that this is happening amongst themselves. Nearly every post is awkward and or negative/confused. And yet this has stayed up for 6 weeks...
This isn't the only issue I see in social media, but it is an example of the largest problem: poor management. I see companies over-posting non relevant material that is consistently lacking engagement driving them lower and lower in the news feed algorithm. I see auto posts that seem inauthentic and out of touch. I see inconsistent branding, inconstant voices across different platforms, and a general lack of real human interaction. I've seen brands with over 20,000 real committed followers but a Facebook reach of 5 people a week. FIVE PEOPLE A WEEK. Aren't you embarrassed? If you are using social media for marketing -don't blow it off. Make sure it is managed well.
Maybe that means hiring a company like us. Maybe it doesn't. But don't be the awk robot page. It's bad for business, and we all want good business.