I get a world where you don’t want to participate on social media. It’s exhausting, a time suck, and quickly becomes a black hole where your attention and worth can disappear. But it’s also a place to get to know a world and causes bigger than yourself, to form real relationships, and share what ~ what brings you joy ~.
Which is why Lush’s sudden rage quit of social media like a pouty influencer “who just can’t even” is puzzling big brand behavior. Let me catch you up. The Lush UK social media accounts are shutting down. The post reads:
“We're switching up social.
Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.
Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. 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.
We’re a community and we always have been. We believe we can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution. We want social to be more about passions and less about likes.
Over the next week, our customer care team will be actively responding to your messages and comments, after this point you can speak us via live chat on the website, on email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone: 01202 930051.
This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.
#LushCommunity - see you there.”
Which, okay. Fine. But the logic falls apart very quickly. The world runs on algorithms. Everything in marketing is built on them. Will they #cancel all marketing? Do they plan to pull out from SEO, PPC, all digital marketing and acquisition? All digital advertising? Because that runs on algorithms too. A moral high ground stance on algorithms is a peculiar choice because the base stance is “we quit because this is hard and confusing and we don’t control the variables”.
Moreover. With all of this in mind, they are blocking out the one channel where consumers’ participation in the algorithm fundamentally matters.
The brand’s stance is effectively: we hate algorithms and what they do to community, so we’ll continue to have a website [where an algorithm determines if a user will ever find us through Google], continue to advertise [where an algorithm chooses who is in our data marketing set], but say no to social where consumers can learn and share in the conversation? I don’t buy it.
It’s a bold move, but one I think we will invariably see reverted.