Lush UK announced yesterday (on all their socials) that they are ‘switching up social’ and closing some of their social media channels which, quite frankly, is a very bold statement.
There are THOUSANDS of replies to their Instagram post and Twitter post, some people are suggesting that it’s a terrible idea and those saying their post is extremely vague. People are questioning if their deleting they’re accounts or what? It’s all very confusing.
So what do we know?
- We know that Instagram have made a statement concerning their social media use
- The statement suggests that they are closing some of their social channels, but does not specify which ones
- The statement also suggests that social media needs to change
Our first thought is, why use hashtags (#LushCommunity) and say ‘see you there’ if they want to change the way social is used. This is type of comment and hashtag is like social media 101, get people talking about your brand using your hashtag. So, you can understand my confusion and the irony involved in making this statement…
This leads me to the opinion that this is just one terrible publicity stunt. Now that e v e r y o n e is on social media (except the like of Apple of course but well, they’re Apple), why not be bold and be the only people that aren’t? Except, they’re encouraging a social media conversion with the use of a hashtag and they haven’t specified exactly what they are doing to ‘change social’ or which channels they are closing. So, this leaves people confused and unimpressed, not making as big an impact as they could.
There has only been a small peak in Lush UK searches on Google trends over the last 24 hours but nothing of huge significance. Will this change over the next week? Who knows, but essentially it’s probably just going to end up being a really bad publicity stunt. What happens if they decide to come back to social? Will people just forget that they completely denounced it? Or, will the backlash be another [huge] PR stunt?
The other, very important point, to make is that many lush stores have their OWN Instagram accounts, which apparently aren’t going anywhere. So Lush aren’t leaving social media at all are they? If you can still follow your local store, something that is quite unique to lush, they are just simply causing a big stir over nothing. They are essentially de-centralising their social media no?
On the other hand, some people on Twitter are commenting on the fact that this might be the ‘future of social’ and the ‘start of something new’ as Lush UK have themselves claimed, but is it? Every single day people join social media for the first time. New brands, built entirely through social media, are growing more and more all the time. Social media is not slowing down.
There is an argument to suggest that attitudes towards social media are changing with people being more mindful of the time they spend online and what they do during that time but attitudes do not equate behaviour. I talked about this with regards to language attitudes in one of my linguistics blogs about radio advertising. Just because somebody holds the attitude that social media is ‘negative’ does not necessarily mean they will stop using it. Social media is so ingrained into our lives (whether you like this or not) meaning that brands will continue to prosper and grow quickly on social media.
So, if this works as a publicity stunt then fair play to Lush UK, but long-term, I believe this can only be damaging to their brand awareness. Sure, the local stores will continue to post, but the quality and engagement is so vastly, vastly different that the impact they will have on the social space will diminish. Furthermore, encouraging people to use the hashtag #LushCommunity will only fizzle out once the buzz around them ‘leaving social media’ does. So, what’s the point? Also, as we don’t fully understand what this statement means yet, a little ‘watch this space’ is in order for the future of Lush UK and social media.
I admire Lush UK as a brand, they have important values and morals that a lot of other brands aspire too, with the rise in ethical marketing, this is ever-more important for brands. However, in my opinion, this bold statement and move is not as ‘inspiring’ as it may seem. It could have been executed much more clearly for a start and by encouraging people to get involved in the conversation with a hashtag, they aren’t ‘changing social’ at all. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks with regards to their social media presence and whether or not I’ve been completely wrong and this works hugely in their favour or not.