Marketing Mistakes to Avoid & How to Bounce Back from Blunders on Instagram

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Oopsies, Slip Ups, Goofs, Faux Pas! Everyone makes them. However, the most important aspects about making mistakes are the fact that you address them, amend them, and learn from them. If you don’t learn from the mistake, then how do you avoid making more? Many brands, large and small, have made unforgettable blunders on Instagram. Here, we’ll discuss some famous flubs, what businesses should avoid and how to persevere with rectification and reputation recovery.


Content is Fire, Social Media is Gasoline. – Jay Baer

Just like you, a number of companies are still trying to gain their footing around Instagram, especially newer companies. Due to this, there will occasionally be major mishaps that occur that can be learned from. One major mistake that took place was with the large fashion company Dolce & Gabbana.

In 2017, one of the owners posted a picture, promoting one of their new shoes. While this in and of itself wasn’t an issue, the fact that “I’M THIN AND GORGEOUS” in large, blue letters on the side of the shoe was. Consumers and followers were outraged! In addition to all of the already bad publicity, it was made worse by Stefano Gabbana who replied to users calling them out and being extremely rude.

Another company, Benetton attempted to use playful humor in one of its posts, but only led to backfire. With the caption, “Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed!” many people were quick to hit the comments. Disappointment and anger were among the many words to describe how Benetton’s followers felt about “forcing gender roles” onto clothes.

While there are many, many more Instagram mistakes companies make, the point seems to be very clear. Marketing is all fun and games until you offend a group of people, regardless if it was supposed to be taken lightly. You never know who could be offended, so be sure to be careful how you present your post to your users so they understand how you want it to be taken. Plus, once it’s on the internet, no amount of eradicating it will actually make it disappear. 

Source: Unsplash

What companies should AVOID doing on Instagram!

There’s plenty of things that you can do to increase your following and make your business’s Instagram page successful. However, there are 3 things you should definitely stay away from!

1. Not posting at all
This is 100% counterintuitive to what you are trying to do. Posting is essential to gaining more brand awareness and becoming more successful. You have to post. Although it’s not just enough to post, you have to be posting often. Having a schedule to stick to when referring to posting is a huge advantage because then you can use various social media helpers, like Hootsuite, to set up all of your content and they will automatically post! Then you don’t have to go through the hassle of doing it yourself.

2. Overposting
It also eliminates the issue of overposting, which is another no-no. No one likes seeing their Instagram feed flooded with posts from one person. Therefore, post often, but don’t abuse it. This is your business Instagram, but that doesn’t mean that your only goal is sales. While it may be the ultimate end goal, it is important to attract users to the brand itself. Therefore, if you post only about sales and promotions, many users won’t be inclined to check out your website or even follow you. Therefore, post some entertaining things as well. Show off your team behind the scenes, let users know what employee did what this week. Let your users feel like a part of the brand itself. Make sure your posts and your business profile are open and inviting.

3. Not Engaging with Followers

Engagement begets loyal consumers. If you want people to keep coming back to your profile, engage with them. People who feel treated well and taken care of are more likely to support and purchase products from the business compared to those who never receive replies.


Turn Offs & Taboos

So, you think your Instagram page is good? Well, it could be considered better as long as you’re not doing these:

1. Posting Low Quality Content
Your business page represents your brand. Therefore, it is important that you aren’t doing anything that would drive users away. Having low quality photos and videos can definitely turn users off of your page. Instagram is made to be aesthetically pleasing, so if you wanted to post and it’s not the greatest quality, you may want to hold on to it.

2. Getting Too Personal for the ‘Gram
Also, remember that this is your business Instagram page. Therefore, you want to limit the amount of personal content you add. Now, this isn’t inclusive of business culture content (ie: group employee selfies), but it shouldn’t be of you taking a bubble bath after a long day of work, unless that’s your brand. The idea is not to saturate your business profile with overtly personal content. Keep it professional.

3. Too Much Curated Content
Reposting images can be another turn off for your Instagram users. Why? Because you aren’t providing them with anything original. There is no new substance for them to be attracted to. Continuously reposting posts essentially lessens the value in which your consumers can see your brand and that may lead to large numbers of unfollows.


Promises, Promises

Promotions and contests on Instagram are great ways to encourage engagement on your business Instagram page. However, it is important to be aware of all of the risks when you decide to do this. Taking all of the necessary precautions can help prevent issues that some companies have had with giveaways.

One of the biggest ones revolved around Sunny Co and their promotion of their swimsuit. The promotion offered everyone who reposted and tagged their photo a $65 dollar swimsuit for FREE! This sounds like a good idea until they got overwhelmed. Over 3,000 users completed this requirement within hours. The company later put out another post, letting users know that they had the right to cap the number of products that could be delivered because of the high number of participants. This caused massive outrage from the consumers who did not receive their free swimsuit. Ouch.

Another company who did the same thing was Timothy’s Coffee. They wanted to promote their brand, so they offered free samples of their K-cup coffee. What ended up happening was that they ran out of stock in 3 days! However, it was 2 weeks later that they announced that their giveaway was on a first come, first serve basis.

In both cases, these companies underestimated their promotion and quickly ran out of stock of their promoted product, which led to consumer outrage. Doing this severely impacts your brand’s reputation. Conversion potential is completely lost if you cannot follow through. Being able to follow through on promises and contests can help establish loyalty in your followers and audience.


Reputation Rehab and Recovery

Major Mistakes, like those previously mentioned, have the potential to really have a negative impact on your brand. If content posted is even slightly perceived as insensitive, negative, or misleading, it can greatly impact the loyalty or engagement on your brand’s page. Losing the trust of your consumers is not the end of the world; there are ways to gain this trust back. The first step in regaining trust to make sure the problem is crystal clear to both sides. Communication is important because if you have a different understanding of the situation than the consumer, then the problem has the ability to escalate. Treating the problem with sense of urgency is an important part of showing any audience that your business cares about the issue at hand and that it is working its hardest to resolve the issue. Consumers usually have positive responses to quick solutions that work. Above all, it is important to own up to a mistake that was made. Acknowledging fault is important because it lets the consumer know that you are, indeed, taking blame for what happened. This fits into the whole “the customer is always right” concept. We don’t want another repeat of Dolce & Gabbana! (As of November 2018, D&G have yet another PR nightmare on their hands!)

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of what is happening in terms of news on other businesses. While I’m not saying to watch every business ever and monitor what they do, but it is important to acknowledge mistakes competitors and other companies, in general, have made. Learning from these mistakes can help propel your business over the competition. Just be sure to do your research to ensure your business doesn’t become the next ‘Gram Gaffe!

About the Author

Kwan Carter

Kwan Carter

Currently finishing his last year of schooling abroad at HEC Montreal in Canada, he is studying International Business at San Diego State University in California! His end career goal is to become and entrepreneur and open his own restaurant café. Cooking, being one of his passions, combines everything he enjoys into one: problem solving, creativity, and food!

He also enjoys singing (although he believes he’s no superstar), telling jokes, and video games, just to name a few others. He’s personable and loves to have a good time, regardless of who he’s with!

Thanks for reading this Volume of SocialSpark Pro! Be sure to continue to follow us for more good information!


  1. Alder, Burke. “3 Keys to Restoring Customer Confidence.” ClientSuccess, 19 Apr. 2016,
  2. Danao, Monique. “Instagram Fails: 17 WTF Insta Moments from Brands.” Sked Social, 4 Feb. 2019,
  3. Frandsen, Spencer. “4 No-Nos for Using Instagram as a Business.” Business 2 Community, Business 2 Community, 2014,
  4. Gollin, Maxwell. “15 Brands’ Most Embarrassing Instagram Marketing Mistakes.”, 15 Jan. 2019,
  5. Greeves, Mike. “4 Ways to Regain a Customer’s Trust After Losing It.” Layer, Layer, 11 July 2018,
  6. Maxin, Jini. “18 Reasons Why Your Instagram Posts Fail (& What to Do About It).” Single Grain, Single Grain, 31 Jan. 2019,
  7. Schiff, Jennifer Lonoff. “9 Big Small Business Social Media No-Nos.” CIO, CIO, 8 Dec. 2016,
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