Been There, Done That: Risky Social Media Strategies

Been There, Done That: Risky Social Media Strategies

Sep 20, 2012







To reach your target audience by today’s measures, you got to branch out into the digital world, and social media has become a popular platform to do this, but now the problem isn’t getting your brand on the pages of social media, it’s that everyone is already there.

Some brands resorted to controversial ways for their Facebook pages to stand out from the crowd of brands offering predictable content.

Sharing competitor’s content

Sounds like a suicide plan, right? Why would a company feature their competitor in a story or a post and increase their traffic while one of the page’s important goals is finding a way to acquire that audience?

Luckily, this move worked for HubSpot, they featured their rival website Eloqua in an article. Elouqa shared the article and added a nice comment as well.

“And that isn’t the first time he’s shared HubSpot’s content. And it pays off for both brands.” HubSpot expressed on their website “Give credit where credit’s due. Your prospects aren’t stupid. They won’t get distracted with one social media update from a competitor and then abandon you. They’ll choose their solution based on the research they’ve conducted — with the help of all your valuable content, regardless of source.”


Allowing fans to post content

It all depends on the image of your brand; for some this might turn into a disaster. However, looking at Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page as an example, the brand’s image which is supposed to be all about sharing and fun, allowed fans to post as many pictures as they want on the page, never deleting photos that criticize—even calling for boycotting— the brand.

Picture calling for boycotting the soft drink on Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page.


Taking a defined stand on a controversial topic

It is marketing 101 for brands not to get themselves into political and moral fights, to stay a generic unbiased brand, out the borders of all the fighting. For most, if not all, companies, this seems a safe strategy.

Oreo however, surprised the market on June 25th with its stand on its Facebook supporting the gay community by a pro-pride product twist.

“Disgusted with Oreo,” Read one comment, “I’ll never buy Oreo again” another did. Angry comments rained on Oreo’s page like fire. Did they quickly take it down, apologize and launch a plan B campaign? No.

“We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values” said Kraft Foods, Oreo’s mother company, spokesmen to the news.

It did create a lot of angry reactions in Oreo’s community, but taking this controversial stand also created a kind of hype around the brand, though a negative one, it still counts as propaganda.


These ways did grant these brands a lot of extra attention, but that’s partially because they were already famous, widely known, highly interactive pages. Would small business Facebook pages survive if they went down the same route?

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