April 12, 2019
This week, Lush announced it is deleting some of its social media channels due to it being increasingly hard to speak to its customers online. Has their marketing team just got lazy? Are they isolating a huge percentage of their audience by not engaging online? Do customers even care about brands being on social media?
When the announcement was made, there was a lot of backlash on Twitter. Many suggested Lush would be abandoning their 200k followers, alienating a huge part of their audience, and that this would severely impact their customer service. After years of being showered with stats emphasising the importance of social media for pushing your products to buyers (such as 58% of respondents said that social media directly influences their purchasing decisions), initial reactions were that this is a HUGE mistake. The director of product ecosystem at social management app Falcon, Mikael Lemberg, was quite brutal in his criticism of the decision and blamed Lush having boring content for the reason they do not feel they can reach their customers.
However, there may be some logic behind this decision. Marketer Mat Morrison commented that Lush had more than 80 distinct Facebook and 170 Twitter presences. This meant there was a lack of consistency across the store accounts and the main UK pages, resulting in lots and lots of mismatched content. Described as ‘social confetti’, this concept is increasingly prevalent across platforms where there is so much content that it all gets a bit much for users.
While attempting to lighten the amount of confetti it has to break through to be heard, Lush is deleting their main UK handles along with associated Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla. The individual store accounts are remaining active and all content about Lush from these accounts, Lush ‘inventors’ and influencers will now be posted using the tag #LushCommunity.
Despite the shock and horror from many media and marketing professionals, there didn’t seem to be much comment from the most important people impacted by this decision – Lush customers. This raises the question of if your customers really care about your social media presence, or if they’d rather send an email or phone customer service when they have a query or complaint.
While some brands depend on sites like Twitter and Instagram to create a brand persona and market using social media trends to contribute to its sales, such as fashion retailer ‘In The Style’, Lush’s products usually do the talking on social with the popular trend to post videos of yourself using their bath bombs due to their attractive look. Therefore, this could make it understandable that Lush wishes to stop wasting time and money on inconsistent, unnoticeable social content and instead encourage customers to use the platform to create a ‘Lush community’ focussing on allowing interactions between Lush customers rather than between customer and brand. In all its statements, it is emphasised that the ‘customer service’ element will not be negatively impacted by the decision.
Once again, the irony of a situation like this is that the move to delete social media has made Lush one of the most talked about topics on social media this week. It is undeniable that social media can play a huge role in connecting brands and customers, contributing to a positive impact on brand share of voice and sales, but it is a narrow view to think that every brand achieves this by posting the most content. Since social is becoming more crowded, it is now much more valuable to have a strategic approach to posting, including good content that responds well to social media trends and ignites conversation, in order to have a voice that is able to be heard amongst the ‘social confetti’.
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