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Lush abandons social media in an ironic bid to ‘open up the conversation’ between the brand and its customers. Lush announced in April 2019 that it would shut down all of its entire UK social media channels by the end of the week. The ethical cosmetics retailer said it would close Lush UK, Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla across its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts because it is “tired of fighting with algorithms” and doesn’t want to “pay to appear” in customers’ feeds.
After the grand social media exodus customers will have to contact the retailer through live chat on their website or through email and telephone. “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,” the retailer said.
At the time of announcement Lush had over 569,000 Instagram followers, 423,000 Facebook likes and 202,000 Twitter followers.
The reaction has been mixed, some customers can’t get their head round the sudden move from Lush, worried they will miss out on new products and deals where others are praising the decision as a ‘take back’ of power
Lush reinforces the fact that it is still very much a community, with the move being a push for ‘all voices to be heard’ and so that conversations do not have to only happen on social media. Lush UK engages a highly invested audience with content relating to its products, enthusiastic store employees, and brand activism.
Lush do have a very committed following and if there is a brand who can get away with deleting their social media and remaining relevant, it’s them. At least for now, but how will it affect them in the long run? I image they will be leaning heavily onto influencer marketing, maybe not in the traditional sense but with influence that is drawn from Lush’s most ardent fans which would fall in line with the ‘community’ angle they are taking.
It’s not like Lush will entirely vanish from social media either, the #LushCommunity hashtag on Instagram will continue, which is rather smart as you are getting your loyal customers to run your social media and fight your online battles for you. Staff run individual store accounts will stay active such as Liverpool’s and its US social media channels will remain. Overall it doesn’t seem as a big of a loss as initially thought.
I imagine many other brands are watching Lush’s move closely, social media is now a must have marketing strategy with brands joining every day, both new and old. I wonder now how many will consider following Lush’s decision or will they worry about being ‘out of sight, out of mind?’. This is one case where time will tell and I’ll be keeping a close eye myself.
Head of Digital Marketing
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