5 things Emily in Paris gets wrong about social media marketing

Laura in Amsterdam
5 min readOct 19, 2020

Firstly: this isn’t another hate article about Emily in Paris. I watched the entire show in two days and enjoyed it for the setting, attractive characters, and relatability (I’m a North American who moved to Europe to work, after all). However, as a social media strategist, I couldn’t get past the portrayal of social media marketing.

While Emily is never described as a social media marketer (she’s a “marketing executive” for a “luxury marketing agency”), every single campaign idea she comes up with involves social media. Although her ideas always seem to save the day in the show, that’s just not how it works in the real world. With the show’s current popularity, I wanted to explain how social media marketing actually works and a few lessons that we can learn from the show.

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Meme titled ”Social Media Marketing according to Emily in Paris”. Shows several scenes from the show.
All images courtesy of Netflix

1) Engagement isn’t everything

I died at approximately 12 minutes into the first episode when Emily says, “To build a brand, you must create meaningful social media engagement.” Emily repeatedly emphasizes the importance of “social media engagement”, but I don’t think once in 10 episodes does she mention other metrics. Engagement is nice, but a good social media marketer should be connecting meaningful business results back to social media such as purchases, clicks, or email signups. Many of these results can be measured and attributed to social media using tracking pixels (if running paid social ads) or tracked links (organic social posts) like bit.ly.

2) Hashtags can’t have spaces or apostrophes

I think most people, even if they don’t work in social media, know that hashtags can’t contain spaces or apostrophes — they will break any characters that come after it. Yet, in the first episode Emily captions a photo with “#Battle Royale”. Then in episode 3, at 2:09, Emily posts a (borderline creepy) photo of women outside a spin studio with the hashtag #Smokin’bodies. I guess #Smokin would have also fit the photo, but I’m sure that’s not what social media expert Emily Cooper intended.

Laura in Amsterdam

Canadian social media strategist based in Amsterdam. I write a weekly newsletter for social media marketers at SchoolofSocial.io.