Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's social media exit is a 'death trap' for their brand, according to an expert

Mikhaila Friel
·4 min read
Meghan Markle Harry 2
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2018. Getty/Chris Jackson
  • Prince Harry and Meghan stopped using social media when they resigned from royal duties last year.

  • They may not use social media to promote forthcoming projects, such as their Netflix documentaries.

  • Brand expert Eric Schiffer believes this will negatively affect the couple's entertainment brand.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stopped using Instagram when they resigned from royal duties in March last year.

Prince Harry recently responded to reports that he and Meghan Markle have no intention of returning to the social media platform or any other forms of social media, including Twitter and Facebook.

"That was 'news' to us, bearing in mind we have no social media to quit, nor have we for the past 10 months," Harry said during an interview with Fast Company.

Read more: Prince Harry blamed social media for the Capitol siege and opened up about the online harassment Meghan Markle faced

Harry didn't specify when they planned to return to social media, instead saying they will revisit it "when it feels right for us - perhaps when we see more meaningful commitments to change or reform" from the organizations behind the social platforms.

It's therefore possible that the couple intend to promote their Archewell Audio podcast, as well as their forthcoming projects - their Netflix documentaries and the Archewell foundation - without social media.

The decision will be a 'death trap' for the Sussexes, according to a brand expert

Eric Schiffer, a brand expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Insider that the couple will make a mistake if they opt out of using social media to promote their projects.

"If they believe in their choices, why aren't they comfortable putting themselves out there? Are they sending a message that they can't bear to hear what we have to say? Both of which is a death trap for a brand that is trying to be an entertainment brand, because entertainment at its core today requires interactivity," Schiffer said. "If you're trying to stay alive with the 11-40-year-olds, you've got to be front and center on social."

Schiffer added that the couple have likely made the decision because of the "significant mixed reaction" among royal fans.

"Many people look at them as having disrespected the monarchy by cashing out on the halo of their forebearers, and that's not acceptable to millions of people around the world," he said.

Read more: One year since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's step back, they haven't escaped the monarchy - and probably never will

It's worth noting that the couple haven't completely rejected social media since leaving the royal family. They have allowed various charitable organizations to post photos and videos on their behalf.

For instance, the duke took a video of Markle reading to their son Archie for his first birthday for Save the Children UK back in May.

"Thank you #DuchessMeghan for helping us to raise urgent funds for our coronavirus appeal by reading "Duck! Rabbit" by @akrfoundation, illustrated by @tlichtenheld (published by @chroniclekidsbooks)," a representative for Save the Children UK captioned the video, which has more than a million views at the time of writing.

Markle likely won't return to social media to protect her mental health

Last year Markle said she doesn't use social media for her own "self-preservation" and compared it to drug addiction.

"There are very few things in this world where you call the person engaging with it 'a user,'" the duchess said during a virtual summit in October. "People who are addicted to drugs are called users and people who are on social media are called users."

The royal also said she was the most trolled person in the entire world in 2019 - an experience which she described on the Teenager Therapy podcast as "almost unsurvivable."

Read more: Meghan Markle says she was 'the most trolled person in the entire world' in 2019

Dr. Pamela Rutledge, an expert in media psychology, told Insider that either filtering out social media comments or leaving social media entirely would likely be the best option for Markle to protect her mental health.

"If the Sussexes are using social media to keep their celebrity in the public eye, which has the potential to raise donations for their foundation, increase their speaking fees, and generate other opportunities where being in the public eye matters, then they need to figure out how to filter the comments to suit their goals," Rutledge told Insider.

"The same with mass media. It's exciting to see yourself in the paper because we all want to be recognized and validated - in our culture public is now media. But it loses its allure when you're being attacked," she said.

Routledge added that if the couple "lie low, the audiences are likely to look for someone more emotionally engaging for their entertainment."

Read the original article on Insider