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Lush UK ‘quits’ social media, and we just have one question: WTF?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now we’re all aware that beloved high street shop and bath bomb enthusiasts Lush have recently decided to close all of their corporate UK social media accounts in order to promote a more direct line of communication with their customers via email and telephone, claiming to be ‘fed up of trying to beat the algorithms’.

Lush announced their smexit across their accounts to be effective in April 2019, ensuring customers that this wouldn’t be the last of what they’d hear from the brand, quoting that their community should continue to use ‘#LushCommunity’.

Are we the only ones over here wondering how can they realistically monitor their branded hashtag and reply to customers without any social media accounts? And when users do get a reply, how will they know it’s actually the brand replying? Say what, Lush?!

Once the accounts have been closed, Lush will be saying goodbye to over 585,000 Instagram followers, 432,000 Facebook followers and 202,000 followers on Twitter. Marketeers across the country, including the team here at Ecrubox, are gobsmacked at the company’s move in strategy, especially with social media now being one of the key elements of not only a successful marketing strategy, but also a key touchpoint in the overall customer journey and experience with a brand.

We get it, with social media algorithms changing all the time, it can be hard to keep the growth of your business accounts consistent. With some of the most recent updates we’ve seen both Facebook and Instagram adapt their algorithms in order to encourage more meaningful conversations between individual users, and decreasing the organic reach of company profiles, whilst Twitter adapted their algorithm to showcase ‘what you’ve missed’ tweets first in order to keep users in the loop with their favourite accounts (those they interact with the most).

Over the years we’ve seen many companies chop and change, adapting their social media strategies in order to gain higher levels of engagement, increase brand loyalty from their followers and battle these new changes in order to regain their old social standing. And this is exactly what we do at Ecrubox for our clients. So we’re just sat here drinking our tea and nodding our heads in agreement with this guy…

Social Media, like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become a game that us digital marketers play, figuring out how to get our clients in front of the right audiences by doing the things that the algorithms like. News Feed Optimisation is just as important as SEO, and just like Google, news feed algorithms are equally picky bastards – and for mostly good reasons, too. Luckily, the things that these algorithms like are also things that the USER likes, so really by adapting your strategy with these changes, you’re actually improving your content and overall digital strategy in a way that is better for the user – so how could this be a BAD thing? Most of the changes are about improving the quality of content, using content types users engage with and enjoy most, and most importantly, ensuring the content that’s featuring most on users’ news feeds is still relevant to them – mainly gauged by that user’s past interaction with the brand’s posts. So if you’re posting great content and your audience is engaging with that content, you should still be seeing just as much – if not more – visibility and reach to your audience.

Although Lush has already had plenty of attention from their announcement of ‘quitting’ social media, they’re actually a year late in being the first to stomp their feet and exit the social media scene. I’m sure we can all remember when hospitality brand JD Wetherspoon decided to close down all of their social media accounts in April 2018 after they’d lost overall control of personal data, and felt as if the value of ensuring customers were having a good experience within their establishments, was depleted.

The company used their corporate Twitter account in order to alert 44,000 of their Twitter followers of this decision, and were met with a plethora of potential problems including the rise of a number of hoax accounts claiming to be the brand, and a number of reports into the company calling the move ‘a marketing ploy’ in order to make the headline news. The company was also accused of taking the brand offline because they’d lost brand control, with individual pubs and restaurants starting up their own accounts, as well as an issue with trolls coming after the company online because of the directors’ connection to the Brexit movement.

We understand how hard it is to keep track of the constant changes in algorithm in order to keep your accounts growing organically, however, companies such as these, are now watching all of their hard work over the years go to waste. I mean, how much would you like to take over the Lush Community of hundreds of thousand users?! Yes please.

We’re interested in what other digital marketers and business leaders think about this decision and the overall idea of just up and leaving social. Please comment on the blog or tag us on FacebookInstagramTwitter or LinkedIn. Or, if you’d prefer, like Lush you can also use our Live Chat option or send us a good old fashioned email. 🙂 Thanks #EcruboxCommunity. Stay awesome.

Creator and co-founder of Ecrubox Digital, MBA student at Warwick University and mum of three.