Generally, everyone is united in the love-hate relationship that we hold with social media. We rely on it, we consume it daily, we use it for news, events and keeping in touch with the ones we love. Yet why are we seeing the big dogs deciding social media is no longer for them? Lush came out this week that they’re “tired of fighting algorithms” and decided to lose social media. Last year, Wetherspoons closed their doors on the world of likes, comments and shares. But why? And is this a good business choice?
Lush had a combined audience of over 1 million fans, a number most businesses would cling on to for dear life. That’s a whole lotta people that want to hear what you’ve got to say and Lush are the type of brand with fierce messages that they aren’t afraid to shout about… So presumably they were having lots of engaging conversations with their community? Well, apparently not. They stated that positioning themselves away from social media was an attempt to “cut out the middleman” as it is becoming “too difficult to talk directly” to their shoppers. It seems that moving to online chat on their website or using their stores is their preferred route for the meantime. It’s fantastic that yet again, Lush are bold their choices and are willing to make decisions that other businesses are maybe too afraid to do, but that doesn’t always mean it’s right.
How often have you seen a post from Lush on social media? I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I can’t even remember the last time I saw something on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; despite their significant following. This raises the question about whether Lush were doing enough on their platforms for the average Lush shopper to engage with them and support their organic efforts, alongside the exploration of paid avenues. Blaming algorithms is tiring and businesses that are really hot on their social media efforts would adapt to these changes as they arise to make the most of them, not walk away and decide to take a risk by losing social media.
If you want to engage with millions of people, spread a message you truly care about and disrupt conversations, social media is, undoubtedly, the place to do it. With some clever thinking, you can make headline news. Let’s take a look at Burger King last year, for example. They made it to the number one liked brand tweet of all time with the simplest of comments and, hey, we’re still talking about it now. In just three words and a dash of reactive thinking, Burger King’s engagement went through the roof.
Everyone knows that social media isn’t perfect, Wetherspoons commented on trolling and its addictive nature which led to them taking the risk to lose social media in 2018. However, in this instance, waving goodbye to social media seems like a hugely missed opportunity for a brand like Lush. A brand that fights for change chooses to walk away from a digital world that had over 3 billion users in 2018, according to Smart Insights. Huh. That doesn’t sound like a wise decision from a company that is as pioneering and commendable as Lush, it sounds like a risk.