A business owner has revealed just how easily controversy can erupt on social media despite the very best of intentions.
Nick Mastro, owner of a group of coffee businesses including Adore Estate Coffee and The Killer Coffee Co, said when launching the latter, he wanted to have fun with it, given it was his first foray into retailing.
However, the move almost backfired spectacularly simply through a choice of photo.
“I remember we had one, our first, where we knew we had the market or we knew we could play with the market, [was] that we did something like we ... I found a picture of, I think it was a guy from Africa holding a gun at a coffee plantation, and we put that photo out there and we said, ‘Our beans are secretly guarded’,” Nick explained.
“We put that out there and we got feedback from that: we actually got some negative ones as well because someone said it wasn’t a coffee plantation, it was a cocaine field or something!
“I still believe it was a coffee plantation, but yeah.”
Nick’s experience serves as a warning for all business owners and their employees to be very particular about the types of messaging and images that are used on social media – not only to avoid unwanted controversy, but even simply to avoid audiences being taken off topic.
The point of social media, says Adam Franklin of Bluewire Media, is to stay “top of mind” without feeling “like you have to go all in”.
“You don’t have to be on social media all the time,” he said.
Hear more insights from Nick about his experience moving from wholesaling into the retail space on the My Business Podcast below:
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.