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Why Lush Quit Social Media

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Pete Davis

CEO, Ampjar

17 Apr, 2019

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Just a week ago, Lush posted this:

The announcement

Lush followed up with the announcement that they are bidding farewell to some of their social channels and focusing on opening up conversations between them and customers instead. Lush has two key reasons here: they’re “tired of fighting with algorithms” and reluctant to “pay to appear” in newsfeeds.

This is a major milestone in the (short) history of social media: a landmark brand is shutting down all social media accounts in their home market, abandoning more than a million cumulative followers in the process. Lush UK has 202,000 Twitter followers, 572,000 on Instagram, and more than 423,000 Facebook fans.

Before announcing this, Lush was posting regularly, sometimes up to three times a day on Instagram. Lush’s Instagram feed is filled with a stunning mix of product photos and images, community-centric tips, announcements, and socially conscious content. If anyone was to win an award for best Instagram brand, it would be Lush.

Lush’s daring decision to quit socials

Despite their social media clout, Lush’s decision to quit social media is understandable. Instagram’s algorithm makes it harder than ever for you to get engagements on your posts, and only 10-20% of your followers actually end up seeing your posts. It’s hard for brands to get noticed–even if they’ve amassed lots of followers–without paying the social media giants.

In a tweet, Lush wrote: “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.” Ironically, social media is one of the new way communities are organizing themselves. While daring, this move could alienate fans who are only on socials and prefer it to other slower means of communications such as in-store conversations or phone calls.

The decision follows in the footsteps of prominent UK pub chain, JD Wetherspoon, whose head office and 900 pubs quit social media a year ago, albeit for different reasons: concerns over misuse of personal data and its addictive nature. While it is too early to consider this a trend, it seems clear that this is only something for brands with a strong offline presence or at a larger scale. Digitally native brands and microbrands do not have this option, neither do influencers and bloggers. Likewise, it is difficult for smaller brands starting off to have a voice and get their first few sales without investing in their social media pages.

To social, or not to social?

We have seen a movement towards many brands being a lot more choosy with how often they share content to certain channels and whether they share content to those channels at all.

Consider your own situation: what channels have you set up for your brand? Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest? What about Twitter or LinkedIn? Do you share the same amount of content to them all equally? Probably not. Do you post a little less to Facebook since the algorithm has reduced organic reach down so much?

Lush’s decision to abandon large social channels feels extreme. Consider the value of those followers though. The value of their 423,000 followers on Facebook has plummeted in recent months. In line with the algorithm changes, organic reach would have gone from at least 100,000 people per post to around 5,000. For big brands, the cost to produce content can be very high–creating specific video content and posts for the channel may not make financial sense anymore.

We believe that you don’t have to go to either extreme of pumping in lots of money into socials or quitting it altogether–despite the obvious challenges that socials present for any brand in 2019. That’s why we have come up with a new model of marketing that builds on top of your social media.

At Ampjar, you can re-use your Instagram content in email campaigns that are built for you in a few easy clicks. On top of this, we make it easy to grow your reach by collaborating with other brands through our Curated Communities. Instead of paying for ads on feeds that people can just scroll past, and dealing with the ever-increasing cost of achieving the reach and conversions you desire, Ampjar prices email ads based on the host’s subscriber size and engagement. Prices are fixed and algorithmically determined.

We love keeping a look out for major social media and marketing trends, so do drop us a FB message if you have any questions you’d like us to address in our blog!

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