Social Media Brand Fail: Shell Instagram

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Everyone may be on social media, but that doesn’t mean every brand should. Royal Dutch Shell, commonly referred to as Shell, shares Instagram photos that align with the companies mission of “manufacturing and supplying oil products and services that satisfy the needs of our customers.” And somehow the brand thought it was a good idea to create an Instagram. When controversial businesses create social media accounts, they create more venues for consumer outrage. This same issue took place on McDonald’s Instagram. However, while McDonald’s retains their happy (meal) image, Shell prefers a professional, business tone. And so, consumers bring business-related hate.

Social media offers businesses a way to relate to customers. This can be anything from creating funny posts to addressing customer service inquiries. Therefore, apparel and food brands have a plethora of content opportunities. But these initiatives hardly apply to oil companies. Plus, people don’t even want to look at the product considering its association with detrimental environmental hazards. Shell’s branding opts for a customer, employee and environmental emphasis. And consumers have responded in different ways.


Brand Haters

[full_image]Instagram Fail Shell 3[/full_image]

Consumers attack Shell for their preventable oil spill in Nigeria in this photo. Commenters not only talk to the brand, but also eachother. This type of dialogue is prominently displayed on the account, considering the low following and engagement numbers. While some comments on the Shell’s Instagram discuss innovation, there will always be the brand haters reminding Shell that not everything has been cleaned up.


Hashtag Activism


Some Shell haters have responded collectively using #shellno. On Twitter, many #shellno tweets target President Barack Obama to take action against Arctic drilling and Shell. On Instagram, people use the hasthtag to show their distrust and despise for the company. When searching the hashtag on Instagram, there are more than 8K tags. Considering the brand only has 17K followers, this is a lot of #shellno Instagram fail content.




Consumers have also blamed the company for greenwashing. Greenwashing refers to a company’s efforts to appear more environmentally friendly than they are in their business practice. Because Shell is fundamentally an oil company, not to mention one with plenty of spills and protests, it’s hard to overlook its history. While some consumers know the term, other allude to it when stating that Shell can’t let a few programs makeup for its other failings.

Do you have another example of a brand Instagram fail to join the company of McDonald’s and Netflix. Share in the comments section and it may appear in our next post!

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