A Social Outcast: Lush quits Social Media

April 30, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Lush UK is quitting social media, stating that it began inhibiting its ability to engage with customers.

What does this mean?

The UK’s favourite cosmetics company Lush is shutting down its social media accounts. Nowadays, many companies are “sponsoring” their posts to appear more prominently on users’ social media feeds. Lush announced its decision on Twitter, stating that it does not want to pay to appear higher up on social media. With nearly 1.2 million followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it comes as a shock to many. However, the company known for its world-famous bath bombs and scented soaps is not the only one to take such measures online. Last year, the pub chain Wetherspoons also ended its relationship with social media due to increasing personal data misuse and the addictive nature of the platforms.

What's the big picture effect?

Many countries are now considering tightening social media regulation. Recently, the UK released a policy paper suggesting tough new rules for social media companies that would make social media bosses personally responsible for harmful content (like hate speech, extremism, fake news and racism). These measures would be backed up with big fines and the ability to block services that fail to play by the rules. The UK government will run a consultation until July 2019 considering whether to create a legal “duty of care towards users” as social media currently largely relies on self-governance to identify inappropriate content.

With social media making it harder to talk organically to individuals as others pay their way ahead, Lush can argue that it has made the right decision. However, its decision has its critics. While some view this as a PR stunt, others argue that Lush has taken a reckless move, as social media is one of the best customer service tools that brands have. Tony Oakley (Head of Digital at media strategists Medialab) described Lush UK’s decision as a “bold” and “potentially brave” move.

In an increasingly digital world, it is an experiment to see how Lush’s decision will turn out. Will it restore its social media platforms in the future or not? If so, it shows that brands do gain benefits from having a social media presence. On the other hand, Lush’s unorthodox approach may have greater success in creating a community beyond the online world. This may encourage more brands to follow and avoid the challenges that come with a stiffer social media regime.

By deleting social media, Lush has replaced digital connections with human ones. 

But will it pay off?

Report written by Safa-Atiya A

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