Lush announced this week that it would be moving away from social channels in the UK. Instead it says it’s going to focus on “one-to-one conversations with customers through email, phone or the live chat function on its website.”
Is it strategy?
Lush isn’t the first company to make this sort of announcement—pub chain Wetherspoon made headlines when it did the same last year. But in a world where social media is a vital part of a brand’s identity and marketing strategy why would a company ditch these platforms?
The official statement from Lush was:
“Increasingly social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.”
True, social media can get in the way of real interactions—but there are many brands that are excelling when it comes to customer services on social media. Lush have a history of performing relatively well on social media, so it seems unlikely that they’re really moving away due to poor interaction stats.
On the other hand, social platforms are getting a pretty bad press recently—often with good cause. Lack of transparency around algorithms and what stories, and ads, user are presented with has become headline news. It’s possible that Lush sees this as a way to take an ethical stance—something it’s been known for.
Is it an excuse?
The part of the news story that really caught my eye is that despite moving away from posting its own social content, Lush has said it still wants to work with influencers. This shows it still believes in the power of social media—just not enough to make its own content any more.
The influencer industry has mushroomed in the last few years, with everyone wanting to jump on the bandwagon. Brands can’t get enough of these “regular” people promoting their products, and every teenager now wants to be one.
But influencers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, for many it can be unclear when an influencer has been paid to promote a product or is just genuinely a fan. This deception can have a negative effect on both the brand and the influencer.
For Lush, a brand image founded on activism and pushing boundaries, this could be a great opportunity to show how to do influencer marketing differently. Instead of paying Kylie Jenner a million bucks for an Instagram post—yes, that really happens—it could choose to feature “real” people and encourage them to share their real opinions, not talking points they’ve been spoonfed. When it comes to social media influencers, authenticity is everything. Or at least it should be.
Posted by John on 11 April 2019