UK cosmetics retailer Lush has closed its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat accounts following concerns about the safety of the platforms for users.
Companies headquartered in Poole will not use these networks as of Friday (November 26) in any of the 48 countries in which they operate.
The move is expected to result in a potential £10 million loss in sales, according to Jack Constantine, the company’s chief digital officer.
He told BBC Today program that the company was “very positive” about the decision, however.
“We have a year to try to get that back, and we’re very positive about that,” he said.
Constantine said the company wouldn’t rule out a comeback — if the platforms change the way they treat their users and “begin to listen to reality” of how social networks affect people’s mental health, he said.
He added that Instagram will need to change its algorithm to chronological content as well.
When asked why Lush stayed on Twitter and Youtube, Constantine said that although both “could be harmful” they were easier platforms to “get away from”.
“We’re looking at these algorithms where they’re pumping content right to you and they’re feeding this mindless scrolling into your news feed,” he explained.
“Generally [Twitter and Youtube] They can be echo chambers or you can get away without becoming easily addicted to them.”
Moving from a cosmetic company is not entirely surprising. Lush has a history of supporting political campaigns, from working with the digital rights organization Access Now to keep the internet free and open, to raising money for technology for good initiatives after the Facebook data leak.
However, the move is likely to be closely scrutinized by those inside and outside the industry – by marketers, social media experts, and branding professionals.
But is it a trend that can spread? We spoke to a number of social media experts from across the UK to find out what they think of Lush’s strategy.
Will more companies follow suit, or is it a one-off move from a global company with an established reach?
“Lash says it works for them, not that other brands should.”
It’s a “massive bold move” from the cosmetics retailer, says Karina Scott, founder of social media and marketing, Girl About Social.
“They need to be confident in their brand and the loyalty of their customers. Social media management platform Hootsuite conducted research and found that Twitter and Youtube were more effective for engagement.”
Scott said the move sounded “shocking,” but noted that Lush doesn’t just need platforms.
“Nine out of 10 companies only use social media because everyone else is using it. Events will take over in 2022 with influencers and popups for retail brands anyway. It’s stealth marketing.
“Are you going to follow other brands? It depends on the spirit of the brands. I think that’s great. Lash is not just about giving people what they think they want.
“There are no rules and I think that’s the most important thing when it comes to marketing and social media. Companies just need to do what’s right for them. Lush says it’s right for them, not that other brands should.
“To be down somewhere, you have to be different from everyone else. They just come out of these platforms, not completely social media. They have Twitter for customer service and are more likely to use social listening tools to see what people are saying about them on Instagram. They They just won’t publish. I think it’s really impressive.”
“It’s about working with platforms to improve them”
Ed Fraser, managing director of social media agency The Tree, said his philosophy is that “it’s better to be part of the conversation than to cancel it.”
He said, “Social media platforms are here to stay and probably will become more ubiquitous. I think it’s about working with the platforms to improve them.
“We need our brands to have a strong sense of themselves and it’s really refreshing to see brands putting ethics above the bare minimum.”
But Mr Fraser said he believed goal-oriented companies could still “push a positive message” on social media and use their voice for good.
“I think that’s the way brands should go. I don’t endorse Mark Zuckerberg, but we all find it much easier to blame negativity on these platforms…but there are also people who feel empowered through social media and on social media. social.
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“There is a balance between positivity and negativity, although we need to be very conscious of negativity. I think it will take some time for the regulator to get up to speed and configure these networks.”
Mr Fraser said it was difficult, however, for platforms to regulate themselves, or for third parties to regulate, when they were opening up new horizons so quickly.
He said, “There is a concern that these platforms cannot keep pace with their growth. Everyone has a right to use social media. Setting an example can be effective and I think one of the things that we have within our power is to change the way we use it or move away from using it.”
But he said it would “take courage” for Loach to crack down on what many consider to be key marketing channels.
“It is likely that their own website and channels will become a real resource,” he added.
Eliminates individual responsibility
Kenja Stabrilla, founder and CEO of Brandspire, said people need to remember that social media platforms are also businesses.
“I think a lot of companies have forgotten that. The algorithm will advance that platform’s business goals.”
“Another facet of it, it kind of removes individual responsibility. We have to create content that engages and helps people, and if that strategy doesn’t accommodate the end user, then that’s on you.
“Be aware of what you’re posting and be real. Lush reminds us that we have to be more thoughtful, more aware of the people on the other side of the screen, and that’s what we have to take away from this.”
Ms Stabrella said she would not advise a company to pull the social media plug in the same way unless they had a “very important brand”.
She added, “They raise an important issue. No brand can do this, you have to have enough exposure and brand awareness to pull the plug on social media.
“A lot of brands use it for growth. Lush has tapped into it and now they are in a position to say they’re going. It’s bold and it forces us to engage in conversation. In a way I’m grateful that they’re forcing us to think.”
“Using influencers instead may be more harmful.”
Rick Courtney, CEO of Be More Social, doesn’t think other companies will follow suit.
Wetherspoons did, Tesla did, but they still have an Instagram account open and Elon Musk has a strong brand. They still use influencers and I think the problem is influencers; Lush went about it the wrong way.
“I don’t think people just follow values, they like products but they also own influencers [that Lush use] With great respect.
“Having an impactful solution to getting the word out can be even more harmful. I am a big believer in social media marketing, and it is very important to use it in a logical way.”
Kourtney said he believes Lush should remove her influencer marketing strategy if she is doing so for the sake of values. He also warned against small companies making the same decision.
“Definitely don’t if you are a small business. As a small brand, the opportunity for you to have a platform today and bring in a customer tomorrow is a very real opportunity. Social media marketing is about building a community, and for me, that would have been Lush I might have gotten a little bit wrong. Imagine if they built a community, what they could do.”
He also called on social media users to take individual responsibility.
He added, “If we want to dwell on and comment on negative content, the algorithm will hand that over to us. I think if we were responsible for ourselves in the first place, rather than relying on companies to do it for us, I think everyone would have a better and more positive experience.”
What do you think of Lush’s decision to quit some social media platforms? Share your thoughts in the comments below.