Lush Leaves Social Media, Should You Follow do the same?

The decision to be on social media is a question for both individuals and businesses. There are issues around the security of personal information and how the platforms use the data it collects. Social media can be addictive and a good excuse to while away the time. For businesses, the ROI of any activity needs to be tracked so wasting time is not an option.

Back in April 2019, Lush announced that it was leaving social media. Lush is a cosmetics and known for its handmade products and ethical stance. It’s products include lotions, shampoos, scrubs and masks and is probably best known for it’s bath bombs.  

Lush Statement, April 2019

Lush: The Decision to leave Social Media

So why did Lush make this announcement on social media? The company is “tired of fighting with algorithms” and did not want to “pay to appear” in newsfeeds. At the time, Lush UK had 202,000 Twitter followers and 569,000 on Instagram and 423,000 page likes on Facebook. Lush America continues to use its social media accounts.

 This news from Lush UK comes as a surprise as the brand has been known for using social media to champion ethical campaigns around banning plastics and women’s rights. This has helped to bring causes to the public eye.

 

Lush has reiterated its commitment to connecting with customers and intends to focus on using more traditional means – phone, email or its website.

So it’s Goodbye Social Media….but not quite

Does this mean that Lush is giving up social altogether? It appears not as this statement suggests that the firm is looking at other ways to engage with its customers. 

"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,” and "cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush community".

Lush, April 2019

In the statement, Lush invited people to follow the #Lushcommunity hashtag. But how can customers follow this if not on social media? A brief search on this hashtag has recent posts from customers.

More to the point, looking at the social pages on Instagram and Facebook, the Lush UK pages are still there, just with no recent updates. (We are looking at this in August 2019, three months after the announcement).

In its April 2019 statement, the brand ends with the words

"This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new. "

Lush, 2019

So it is a sort off ‘Goodbye’. We think it is more like “We are still on social media but will not be posting but you can still see our olds posts and customers can add content for us.” This marks a shift. Rather than the brand telling the story, customers share their experience of the brand on social media.

This is one to watch…. Let’s see how this pans out!

Should Your Business Leave Social Media?

Well that depends….on lots of variables. E.g. On your business model, objectives and vison, customer base, other marketing activities and the list goes on. To shorten this, we would say that for most businesses, a social media presence is needed.

Lush Lessons

There is a lot we can learn from Lush’s decision and use of social media.

Lesson 1

It is important to understand that your success with social media very much depends on algorithms of the platform. At the same time, each social media platform wants to serve up the best and most appropriate content to its users.

For businesses, this means ensuring content meets the needs of their audience (not that Lush’s content didn’t!). From the outset, each business needs to be clear on its objectives for social media.

Lesson 2

To perform well on social media, a key measure is engagement and this can be comments, a post reaction (a like, a thumbs down) or shares. It’s not enough have thousands of likes and a low proportion of engagement. Funny enough, Lush had this, lots of engagement from its followers and still decided to leave!

Lesson 3

Have a strategy for encouraging customers to share their experience of you brand. Use this on the business social media profile. Off course, make sure you have permission. Think of this as another way of getting testimonials, case studies and feedback.

Lesson 4

The announcement from Lush makes a key point. Increasingly, for maximum visibility on social media, this is likely to be mean paying for adverting space. So it may not be enough to just create content but to pay for that content to be shown to users. For businesses, this needs to be factored into the marketing spend if you are planning on using social media.

Lesson 5

Lush has made an announcement that it wants to communicate with its customers using more traditional means and businesses need to continue to have this as an option. Whilst we are all about digital, it is important not to forget about conventional means of engaging with customers and where possible innovate your use of these methods.

Lesson 6

Social media is used to share content about your businesses, but you can also use it to spread awareness about the values and causes aligned to your business. Lush effectively used its social media to support campaigns close to its heart. In turn, this helped to emphasise its’s commitment to its values and helped the brand to stand out.

 

Lesson 7

As another hashtag (#lushcommunity) has been created and there is speculation that the brand will moves to work with influencers, Lush has not entirely given up on social media. This just goes to highlight that social media is important for today’s businesses and there are different ways of using social platforms. As a business, social media needs to serve you.

 

Different Strokes for different Businesses

  • Time in Business

Lush is very much an established business, it was founded in 1995 and has a strong customer base. The rules that apply to an established company is different from a new company that is just starting out.

  • Customer Base

It also depends on the make up of the customer base, e.g. younger audiences (under 35) are more likely to use social media platforms more frequently than other age groups.  Having a social media presence carries more weight with this group.

  • Sector

The decision may also depend on the sector. Lush is in the cosmetics/beauty industry and a key component of the purchase decision is the experience. What we mean by this is the smell, the look and feel of products and when in store, the general environment.  

  • Bricks and Mortar or Online Only?

Lush also has a network of brick and mortar stores where customer can visit. This is not say social media can’t help to showcase these experiences.  So the decision to be on social media or not varies but we would generally say that it advisable to be on the platform that suits your business and ideal customers.  

What is clear is that even if social media has it’s draw backs and some even detest it, as a business owner, it is not something that can be ignored.  You need to have a strategy in place. Whether you have a personal social media account, the choice is very much in your hands!

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