On November 26, bath bomb behemoth Lush will take down its Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok accounts in the 48 territories it operates.
It will be its second attempt at weaning itself off of social media, having tried the same in 2019, and instead it plans to focus its energy on its own channels to drive customer engagement.
In a company statement, the cosmetics brand said: “Like so many teenagers have experienced before us, Lush has tried to come off social media, but our FOMO is vast and our compulsion to use the various platforms means we find ourselves back on there, despite our best intentions.
“So here we are again, trying to go cold (plant-based) turkey.”
Lush chief digital officer Jack Constantine tells The Drum that it was Frances Haugen’s Facebook whistle-blower testimony that “strengthened“ its resolve to give the policy a second shot.
As a brand dedicated to helping people relax, Constantine says: “Social media platforms have become the antithesis of this aim, with algorithms designed to keep people scrolling and stop them from switching off.”
In place of social, Constantine will build up Lush’s website and app, create a long-form video strategy for YouTube based on daily updates and news, as well as experiment on other digital platforms such as Reddit. “There are lots of other places where the community is thriving away from the key domineering channels,” he says.
Lush should have a bigger community through its own channels, but “with social media it’s easy to get stuck in a honey trap and get lazy, and now we are going to have to think outside the box,” admits Constantine.
“Yes, we will lose customers, engagement and visibility, but it’s exciting – when you take away the reliance on those platforms, you have to get creative.”
When Lush first stepped back from social it drew mixed reviews within the marketing industry and the policy didn’t last long after being “diverted off course” by the pandemic. When shops shut, Constantine had to refigure how to engage customers and says: “In those unpredictable times, we had to go back and use the tools that are already available to us”.
Despite a brief test period, Constantine maintains Lush didn’t see a drop in sales nor a noticeable drop in site traffic.
Lush will continue to work with influencers and not dictate what platforms they can use, meaning it will still have a presence on the social apps. And the policy will be reviewed “when the people at the top of these companies make drastic changes on those platforms and those harmful impacts have gone”. Only then, he says, will Lush return.
“Lush has always been about bringing your moral compass to work. We are starting to draw firmer lines about what we are comfortable with and what we are not, and this is one of those.
“There is no doubt social has had a big impact on where we are, but equally we started questioning if social media had evolved. It transformed into the drivers and metrics for the businesses themselves to make a profit and drive ad revenue.”