Should companies use a tragic event to try and increase followers?


High Tide and JNF Creatives had a discussion on self-promotion in the wake of a tragedy. Both companies came to the same conclusion, don’t do it.


Whether you were a basketball fan, a parent or a child, there is no doubt that Kobe and his daughter Gianna’s death affected you in some way. There have been outpours from the community, murals painted, donations made, mournings, discussions, arguments, and…


Companies trying to self-promote in the wake of it all….?


Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about making the most out of every opportunity, especially when it comes to growing our client’s bottom line. However, there are some things that we believe should not be touched. 


A tragedy is one of them. 


One notable instance was a company that posted on Instagram that they would donate $1 to the Mambacita Foundation for every new follower and every repost they got on their Instagram. There were also similar posts with the same content that circulated for the Australian wildfires. All of the posts tended to start with something along the lines of ‘Out of respect for the recent tragedy, we will be donating _____ for every like, repost or follow on our page’


“If you want to do something good in the wake of a tragedy, do it to impact people positively. Asking for likes or follows in return is bad and distasteful practice.” 


Imagine being a victim of a tragedy. Imagine seeing an unrelated company exploiting that tragedy and letting people know that they will only support that tragedy if they receive more attention on their social media page. Although they increase their follower count, what are they saying about their business practice?


“We help you, only if you help us first.”


When it comes to growing your business, you shouldn’t attempt to sell your products or services to everyone. Marketing shouldn’t be a competition to get the highest amount of followers, it should be a matchmaking process. You should be identifying your target customers (those who will truly benefit from using your product) and work to help them understand how your product or service can make their life better. 


Gaining followers is great if you’re making money off likes, but realistically you’re not. You’re making money off people who see your brand and align with what you have to offer. Yes, gaining more followers gives you the chance to get in front of more eyes, but are they interested in your product or are they emotionally involved in a tragedy and willing to do anything to lessen the burden of guilt upon themselves?


If you want to get involved, do it for the good of the world. What is your goal with your business? Figure out your why and build up from there. How can your company better the world? 


Don’t wait for a tragedy to try and increase your bottom line, focus on bettering the lives of your customers through your products, services, and contributions to society. When you start with your why and work out, you attract customers that stand by your product. When you better their lives, they become your brand evangelists. Although this is a longer strategy than ‘follow our page and we’ll donate’, it provides a cornerstone to who you are as a business.


Let your actions speak for themselves. Focus on doing good and creating fantastic products. The world needs you now more than ever. 

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