Elle magazine: Brands on social | 404 redirects and blind interaction

Brands have to schedule automated Tweets. It's a truth universally acknowledged that readers will have to consume pre-scheduled, recycled content for most of our newsfeed. We accept it, understanding that social media is probably scheduled between coffee breaks, print runs and at 5pm on a Friday afternoon.Whether social accounts are run by a Community Manager, marketing team or office support, shortened URLS (or worse, full length ones) will be recycled, Whether social accounts are run by a Community Manager, marketing team or office support, shortened URLS (or worse, full length ones) will be recycled, reposted and reshared. We are used to seeing the same content; after all, how many 'Keep calm' memes have we seen over the past five years? Too many, but that's possibly beyond the point.  I stumbled across a link to Elle magazine's 'The sensible girl's guide to building your online influence' whilst perusing Twitter this morning. I wanted to read this for a number of reasons:

  1. Lena De Casparis did some great stuff for Elle's feminist movement last year, I like her and thought she might have something entertaining to contribute.
  2. But at the same time I was somewhat put off by the use of 'sensible girl's guide'. Most 'sensible girls' I know have no influence and in fact, few people know they exist.
  3. I love a bit of a brand exploration, they were talking marketing and Elle's demographic is usually pretty in tune with social amplification.

However, when I went to read the post I was let down by just the one reason, it didn't exist. 404 errors happen, it's a part of hosting content online and not something to shame a brand over. As social media errors go, a 'this page doesn't exist' alert is a pretty mild one and certainly nothing for the marketing team to worry over. Thinking the brains behind one the largest fashion magazines in history may want to correct their link, I sent them a tweet. Said tweet received radio silence. I checked the link some twelve hours after posting and the content remained unchanged, the tweet was still live and containing a broken link. Honestly, I found this sheer display of an automated account quite concerning. Elle US (@ellemagazine) have a following of 4.9 million people, they're quite a big deal. If this account was an SME in Scunthorpe with 2,000 followers I would assume the team responsible were small and possibly overstretched, I would overlook an automated account with no human input. However, this is Elle magazine. With dedicated social media teams to generate such a huge (and prolific) following, I would expect there to be someone to redirect a link. Instead, I'm still in the dark as to what that sensible girl actually does do to build her online influence. Jokes aside, marketers are busy and there's every chance Elle are as constrained by budget and understaffed as that SME in Scunthorpe. I get it, my reading just didn't make the cut in the daily distribution of priorities.

With dedicated social media teams to generate such a huge (and prolific) following, I would expect there to be someone to redirect a link. Instead, I'm still in the dark as to what that sensible girl actually does do to build her online influence. Jokes aside, marketers are busy and there's every chance Elle are as constrained by budget and understaffed as that SME in Scunthorpe. I get it, my reading just didn't make the cut in the daily distribution of priorities.

Whilst we can forgive Elle for keeping a broken link on their Twitter, I don't feel as forgiving to the 19 retweets and 39 favourites the tweet received. Two figures to summarise the issue of shared spam on social media. Those awarding this post a favourite could have used a keyword bot to 'heart the post' (most track hashtags and this post didn't include any), but the likely outcome is that they endorsed the post without even reading it. Overlooking the 39 blind/bot favourites and we are left with the 19 retweets, 19 people (so far) have retweeted a broken link. These followers are further distributing the content's title but disappointing the reader (ok, perhaps a tad strong) when they click through to find a 'there is nothing here' message. A simple broken link has now managed to be introduced to 19 networks (and counting), the adverse effect of social media.

Perhaps Elle will reply and I will finally find out what the 'sensible girl does' (as we all know she doesn't redirect links). I've been a fan of Elle since I was a child and would love to see their social interaction to be a little more than just scheduled tweets. Sharing the messages of young brands and writers would be a good start from the magazine who encourages its readers to 'dream big.'