Fitness, Fat Burn, and Content Fail in Tonight’s Instagram Feed

An interesting example of social media content fail flared up on the Shape magazine Instagram account (@shape_magazine).

In the past 48 hours two separate posts have mentioned an over the counter weight loss supplement by Zantrex3 (@zantrex3). Each post featured the hashtag #SkinnyStix.

Here is a screenshot of one post:


For some time, the print edition of Shape Magazine has included paid advertising for a variety of over the counter shakes, pills, powders and supplements promising weight loss and fat burn. Even an irregular reader could clearly see the division between articles and advertisements, but these Instagram posts seem to have blurred the dividing line.

Though the Instagram posts did not feature a call to action to purchase the product, the sentiment of a perceived endorsement generated outraged engagement. Followers used this post’s comment section to say “goodbye” or “shame on you” or to declare “unfollowing”.

Shape has amassed 119K followers on Instagram, and I wonder how or even if that strong number will drop significantly due to two poor posts. The company will not necessarily lose money over a small amount of lost followers, though losing reputation can certainly be costly in its own way. The followers’ upset was in direct relation to the product mentioned. The awkward cross promotion / embedded advertisement landed poorly. I doubt if any followers would have said “goodbye” if the post had been about yoga pants or a new fitness craze. I was pleased that a content manager was obviously listening to the discontent as the second of the two posts, up for only a few hours today, has been removed.

Despite the outrage, 1100 @Shape_Magazine followers liked the post above – an average if not slightly better than average number of likes for a post on the account. In contrast, @Zantrex3 has 1.3K followers on Instagram and reposted the above @Shape_Magazine’s post . The results were quite different – a mere 75 likes and not one comment, positive or negative, in the exact same amount of time.

Knowing your audience is important especially in the real time world of social media interactions. Keeping content fresh, helpful, and useful your followers is key.

– Jenn