Lush is the latest brand to move away from social media as a method of direct communication with customers and fans.
First, picture this:
Just over 10 years ago I was at the height of my teenage years and Saturday was the day we'd aimlessly wander the high street, looking for bargains in Internacionale, Select Fashion, MK One and New Look, without the worry of sharing regular updates on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (ahh, a simpler time)!
One weekend, I followed one of my friends into an odd shop filled with funny, sweet smells that honestly didn’t interest me. But as we wandered around this small, aromatic shop with bubbly cashiers and bath bombs in every possible colour and shape, teen girls and women were visibly in love. Me? I’d rather spend my £20 pocket money on a long white 'gypsy' skirt, with a bizarre, circular brown belt, or almost see-through, low-rise white linen trousers (some of the best years for fashion, I'd say).
Funnily enough, whilst HMV and New Look battle money woes today, and MK One and Internacionale have been consigned to 00s history (along with my poor fashion choices), the ‘funny-smelling shop’, Lush, is riding high on success.
Largely, I’d say thanks to social media. My social feeds have recently filled up with women in their 20s and 30s showcasing the mesmerising swirls and patterns created by dropping bath bombs into their recently “hinched” bathtubs.
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Honey I Washed The Kids Scent Fam Babes! 🍯 Shimmeringly sensual, this Brazilian orange, caramel-honey scented jewel is the sweetest, sweet fix. Indulge in a super-softening, skin-loving soak that’s rich with luxurious moisturising fair trade organic cocoa butter, uplifting bergamot and almond oils and plastic-free glittering golden lustre. ✨🐣 Golden Egg Bath Bomb Melt 📷: @_kiera_rose_ ✨ #LushEaster #PlasticFreeGlitter #AllThatGlittersIsPlasticFree #BathBomb
A post shared by Lush South Africa (@lushsouthafrica) on
Yet, this week, Lush confirmed it is moving away from social media as a communications channel, opting instead to go very 00s and shifting towards using email and phone as primary contact methods. They’re also encouraging customers to use a Live Chat feature on their website, as a new version of the familiar two-way conversation they once would have had on social media.
The bath bomb giants follow in the footsteps of pub chain, Wetherspoon, which made the decision to delete their entire social media presence in 2018.
Lush released the following statement revealing their reasons for the decision:
"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 brand social channels - Lush UK, Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - and open up the conversation between the Lush Community 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 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.
"This is the first, exploratory step in Lush UK cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush Community. However, we understand that this isn’t an action that can be supported just yet in all markets.
"This isn't the end, it's just the start of something new."
We're switching up social.— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019
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. pic.twitter.com/nJUzG0lham
The Drum reported a Lush spokesperson this week suggesting influencer marketing is the organisation’s new core channel for brand awareness:
"You’ll start to see the rise of Lush personalities online. This isn’t a replacement for the brand channels but an opportunity for our customers to connect one-on-one with people within Lush based on the various categories."
It will be interesting to see how this plays out without the core social presence, Lush has built up - with over 424k Facebook fans, 569k Instagram followers and 202k followers on Twitter too.
And, Lush's bold statement is one that might be repeated in the months and years to follow, as brands struggle to find a cost-effective way around Facebook and co’s algorithms.
But is it the right decision?
Time will tell whether this is the start of a social media revolt or whether it'll fizzle out as quickly as a bath bomb!