Logging off: working without social media in a virtual world

Many (or indeed most) in the world of PR would argue that social media is a crucial part of a communications strategy. There is no question that social media is great tool from which to target audiences, convey key messages, raise brand awareness and increase engagement.

Yet… with an impressive social following of over 200k Twitter followers, almost 300k Instagram followers, and 420k Facebook likes, the brand Lush has decided to call it a day on the social media stakes. They put out some final posts on 15th April this year, which read:

‘We’re switching up social.

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.

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’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.’

They added that the hashtag #LushCommunity would be left behind on Instagram, to push content, and that the only way to contact the brand now would be via a live chat on it’s website, by email, or by telephone.

In a world where we are so heavily reliant on social media, to many it seemed like a bizarre move – if anything, one that would cut off communication between the brand and its large and loyal following.

Some even criticised the cosmetics company, claiming that it was a move to avoid the stream of negative reviews the company was generating from their ad campaigns about the misconduct of undercover police officers.

But for others, the decision was seen as a sign of hope that we don’t have to live in a virtual world, being slaves to our phone screens and obsessing over ‘likes’.

Lush as a brand is well-known for standing up for a variety of social, political and environmental issues – so, in a way, this move was very on brand, perhaps a nod to the increasing pressures of social media.

Whilst Lush achieved strong, national coverage for its decision, as well as a buzz on social media (ironically!), to turn its back on a main stream of interaction with consumers was indeed risky.

So we watch with interest to see if they are leading the way, or will indeed make a return. But for now at least, they are logged off.