This week, Lush UK has announced that they’re deleting social media channels to focus on more meaningful interactions with their customers. The news has come as a bit of a shock to fans, customers and digital marketers alike. Lush deleting their social media is leaving plenty of people scratching their heads and wondering why – especially when they’re abandoning a 570k follower count on Instagram alone.
In their statement posted on 9th April, they said:
“We’re switching up social.
Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.
Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.
We’re a community and we always have been. We believe we can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution. We want social to be more about passions and less about likes.
Over the next week, our customer care team will be actively responding to your messages and comments, after this point you can speak us via live chat on the website, on email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone: 01202 930051.
This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.
#LushCommunity – see you there.”
Lush moves in mysterious ways
This sudden change has posed more questions than it has answered. Are Lush ahead of the curve when it comes to focusing their marketing efforts or is this just a poor business decision that they will backtrack on in the near future? Only time will tell.
There’s a lot to pull apart when analysing their statement.
My initial thought from their opening paragraph is a lack of formal understanding of their platforms. It is bizarre that such a big global brand would limit their social media output to a simple ‘pay to appear in newsfeed’ concept. Ask any Social Media Manager – it’s so much more.
As a business that turned over £28.4 million of profit last year, I highly doubt they’re struggling to allocate a marketing budget that will stretch to push their content, so what other factors are at play here?
Fighting with algorithms is something all digital marketers struggle with and, in my opinion, Lush deleting their social media reaffirms the idea that constantly paying to push content instead of having it as part of an overall digital strategy suggests that they’re void of originality or an established connection with their audience.
You’d expect more from a brand that prides themselves on creativity, innovation and leading major change within their industry.
What about its audience?
It is hard to understand why in 2019 Lush believe that live chats, emails and telephone calls are people’s preferred communication methods over social media channels. Social media is where most of their customers find out about new products, new stores opening and company news.
Lush’s biggest target market is millennials and GenX-ers. You know, the ones who rely on social media to create that connection between them and their favourite brands.
This all feeds back into the age-old question; how valuable is social media to a brand anyway? Luckily for Lush, they have a loyal following and strong brand awareness so I think they can afford to take a gamble, but it would be near enough impossible for smaller brands to withdraw from social media completely.
Lush deleting their social media doesn’t mean they’re saying goodbye to social media as a whole. In response to the many confused comments and questions asking if each individual store’s social media accounts will remain active, Lush replied they will. Some could argue that the commotion surrounding Lush deleting their social media is futile if they’re still going to have hundreds of accounts of their individual stores.
Additionally, the statement finished by plugging their hashtag #LushCommunity where they want their customers to continue driving their online message via user-generated content. However, Lush deleting their social media means that the brand won’t have a voice in the conversations surrounding their online community and they will lose their analytic insights on their audience.
Whether this will work out for the best or not, I admire Lush for trying new things and daring to be different. Do I think it is the right thing to do? Not really. But then again, I’m probably biased.
Photo by Fernando Paz on Unsplash