Is the golden age of social media over? Are you tired of fighting for organic reach and throwing money at paid advertising? Is the answer to ditch social all together?
Many retailers and brands, both old and new, large and small, with a huge marketing budget or a shoestring one, find social media hard. Staying on top of algorithms, the number of hours and investment required to respond to queries, fire-fight, produce content….it’s never ending, And just when you’ve got the perfect strategy, something changes and you’re back where you started. But is it worth it? For some, social media is a fantastic opportunity to leverage. For others, it’s a necessary evil. But is it actually necessary? Lush UK has decided that the answer to that is: No.
“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,” it (ironically?) posted on Instagram last week.
A spokesperson for Lush Australia and New Zealand confirmed it will maintaining its social channels as a way to engage with customers and won’t be following in Lush UK’s footsteps.
“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,” Lush UK continued.
For Lush, much of the decision was because chasing likes seemed to be counterproductive to its goals. “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.”
While it would be nice to think this decision was truly about a ‘revolution’, many were quick to point out that there could be more to it than this. “What you have said here doesn’t even make sense,” wrote one commenter. “Doesn’t even say what you’re doing though. Just that you’re ‘switching it up.’ Stuff like this really bothers me. It’s not about fighting with algorithms, it’s about content and yes, engaging with customers on a personal level. It feels like this is just no news, it’s not even attention grabbing or controversial like your previous attempts at getting ‘likes’. In one breath you say, ‘it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels,’ followed by, ‘we don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place.’… Am I missing something?!” the commenter continued. Followed up by, “Your bath bombs are banging though!” The cynical folk looking at the announcement on social would be forgiven for thinking the same thing. Is dropping the social media (bath) bomb on a social channel actually just another means to create hype?
Over the next week, Lush UK’s customer care team will be actively responding to messages and comments, but after this point customers can speak to the company via live chat, email and by telephone. “This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new,” Lush finished. Followed by the (seemingly counterintuitive, given the context) final goodbye: “#LushCommunity – see you there.”
So in an era where companies are constantly trying to create content that engages, to be switched on 24/7, to be able to respond and connect via every channel, to go viral, or at the very least, just to be seen, is there a place to simply throw in the towel?